Your children are now adults and have left home – you are officially an empty nester. Are you wondering how you will maintain a healthy happy relationship with them?
It can be challenging to transition from parenting your children; thinking of them as children, to establishing a healthy relationship with them as adults.
Let Them Go.
You must let them go and live their own lives. You have done your job as a parent well and now they can look after themselves and no longer need you 24/7.
You need to respect their boundaries as you would with any adult. Don’t show up unannounced or call them multiple times a day. Remember when you moved out (yep way back when) you weren’t thinking of your parents all the time and your children will not be thinking about you either.
Stay in Touch.
This does not mean you can never talk to them, in fact keeping in touch is essential but don’t be needy and overdo it.
Think of things that you can have in common and talk about.
What common interests did you have before they left?
- Footy Tipping / Sports
- Virtual Walking – walking and talking on the phone
- Texting Funny Mems
Text can be a great way to stay in touch. Remember to be patient and let them respond in their own time.
Have Your Own Life!
Now you probably have more time than you did when your children were at home and you were forever playing “Mum’s Taxi”, what are you doing for you now?
One of the best ways to honour your children is to have your own life, have hobbies and do things that you enjoy. That way you will have interesting things to talk about when you meet up with your children.
Don’t Use Guilt Trips
Your children are now independent with their own lives, responsibilities, and interests, trying to get them to include you via a guilt trip will only end badly. If seeing you, contacting you or being with you is a chore and you are always harping on about something, you will find that your relationship will deteriorate very quickly.
Think about your relationship with your parents, no doubt there have been some guilt trips along the way.
Be realistic about the time that your children will have to fit you into their lives.
Plan major events like
- Mother’s Day
- Father’s Day etc
in advance so that your children have time to organise themselves.
Decide which are really important and which are just nice to see. If your child has a partner remember to be fair to their parents and allow them to have some of the important events too.
Don’t expect them to always come to you, especially if they now live away from your town. Offer to go to them or meet in the middle, if that is practical.
Don’t offer advice unless you are asked.
Respect their choices. Try to see things from their point of view and support them whenever possible.
Give positive feedback and try not to always see the “bad stuff”.
They have spent hours doing the housework and getting their place looking nice for your visit and all you see is that the washing has not been put away. Remember how you feel in the reverse situation.
The Secret to Having a Great Relationship with Your Adult Children
Maintaining a happy and healthy relationship with your children will take time and effort on your part but it is essential that you do. They will always be your children however now that they are adults, please don’t treat them as children or worse still act as the child yourself and throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way.
The secret to having a great relationship with your adult children is to work on it just like your work on your relationships with other adults. Open and honest communication is the key and remember that you are now part of their life, not their whole life.
It is your turn to have some fun and do the things that you want to do.
Do you know what you want to do?