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4 Tips for Parenting Your Adulting Child

Gone are the days of changing diapers, selecting someone else’s outfit for their day at school, and chauffeuring children to soccer practices. But even if your son or daughter has moved out, your job as a parent isn’t done. You still have a responsibility to your child as they move into adulthood and start to experience independence.

Navigating the relationship with your grown-up child can be tricky. Here, we’ve provided you with 4 tips for interacting and bonding with your older child.

1.      Get to Know Them as an Adult

Your child has always been their own person. Moving to a new city, entering college, meeting new people, or starting a new career are experiences that teach them more about themselves.
You won’t be there for every step of this self-exploration, so take the time to catch up. Ask about their interests, relationships, and accomplishments. In your interactions with them, don’t cling so closely to who you perceived them to be during their teenage years.

2.      Keep Lines of Communication Open

If your child lives in a different area:

·         Take the initiative and call them at least every week. Show interest in their life and inform them of what’s going on back home, even if they don’t.

·         Understand that it’s okay to not speak every day. Don’t force daily phone calls. You each have your own lives to live. When you do make the call to catch up, it should be because you are both genuinely in the mood to hear from one another.

·         See each other in person but respect their space. Get together for family vacations and holidays, but don’t rely on surprise visits. Pick at least one week out of the year to visit your child and make visiting them your primary motive for the trip.

If you live close to your child:

·         Encourage them to drop by your house. Be enthusiastic about visiting them.  

·         While they will appreciate your visits, don’t drop by unannounced. Respect their privacy and give notice before coming over.

3.      Don’t Pass Judgment
All great parents dream of the perfect life for their child. They want their child to be happy and successful. But this definition of the perfect life varies from person to person. Your child may be questioning their choice of college major or career path. Don’t offer unsolicited advice. Give them all the time they need to figure out their educational and career goals.

This tip also applies to their personal lives. They may wait to get married or choose to not have kids of their own. While these life paths may not be what you envisioned for them, they offer your child a chance to live their life how they want to. Even if you have nothing but good intentions, withhold judgmental comments and pushy advice. Eventually, you will come to fully accept their life choices- it will be important for them to have your approval.

4.      Offer Unconditional Support

Entering the world as a new adult can take a lot of adjusting. Empathize with your child by offering your support:

·         If you’re able to, offer financial assistance. Offer a loan to pay for their education or living space. Offer some tough love by being firm on a repayment schedule. This allows you to help your child while establishing respect.

·         Step in when necessary. Adjusting to adult life can be difficult. If your child goes down a destructive life path, seek professional help. Don’t watch from the sidelines in fear of overstepping. For instance, if you think your child has a problem with substance abuse, learn about the benefits of sober living and get them the help they need. Click here for more tips on good parenting.

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