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July 01, 2013

How Mature Adults Can Become Good Friends To Their Adult Children

Your children will always be your children, no matter how old they get. But as your son or daughter matures into adulthood, your relationship needs to evolve, too. You’'ve spent years teaching your children life skills and values. You’'ve helped guide their important decisions. And you know their strengths and weaknesses. So, as they become independent adults, it can be tough to take a step back and find a new role in their lives.

This transition may not come naturally, and it could have some bumps along the way. Here are some tips that may help mature adults become good friends to their adult children.

  1. Don’t Feel Hurt By Your Child’s Independence: Your adult children may decide to include you in important moments and decisions in their lives – or they may not. Try to respect their decision to do things independently and understand that leaving you out likely isn’t personal. An important step in any adult’'s life is learning how to confidently and independently make choices. Sometimes those decisions work out, and even when they don’t, they'’re an opportunity to learn. Even if your child doesn’t ask for your advice when they make a big decision, you can be a good friend to them by being there and not saying, “I told you so,” if things go south.
  2. Learn To Listen: Being a parent means you’re often the one with the final say. When your child grows up into adulthood, though, you have to learn to listen, even if you have strong feelings about what direction he or she should take. If you listen thoughtfully and only offer advice when asked, you can build a quality relationship as a trusted confidant to your child. But, if you start telling your children what to do before you hear them out, they may be deterred from opening up to you again in the future.
  3. Know When to Speak Up: Just like you can be a good friend to your child by knowing when to keep quiet, you also need to know when to speak up. If your child is in a negative situation that’s jeopardizing his or her health or safety, a good friend wouldn’t stay silent – and neither should you. Such situations might involve addiction, domestic abuse, mental health problems, or extraordinary financial struggles. Bringing up these issues could be tough, but talking about the problem is the first step to recovery. You might want to enlist the help of a family counselor or therapist to assist you in creating a plan to approach your child about your concerns.

Want more information about retirement living? Check out the Kendal Northern Ohio blog at www.kendalnorthernohio.org.

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