Home Parenting & Advice General Parenting & Advice How to get along better with your adult children
How to get along better with your adult children
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Written by Sandra Douglas   

I wrote this article as a guide to parents who need to get along better with their adult children, instead of growing farther apart.

Some parents think they are helping their children when they start taking over, and giving unsolicited advice. YOU'RE NOT!...and continuing to DO so, may only alienate your child. Of course, any of us who care about our children, are going to try to steer them in the right direction, so, no shame there. 

That being said, you need to keep your feelings, and "helpful" advice to yourself, when visiting an adult child. ESPECIALLY in their OWN home. I am speaking more of 50+, year old parents, who act as if their 30-40+ age children are still "toddlers" who need to be 'reminded' of how to say "please" and "thank you". (even though they may have toddlers of their OWN)  

.....And no....this is NOT about ANY MOM or DAD in particular. It is a combination of the many DIFFERENT versions of, many different parents, people I know, or that others know, or have talked about. It has even taught me to be careful NOT to become that kind of parent---I hope!

Below are some familiar scenarios, with tips and guidelines, that I hope will help us all see ourselves, whether you are the parent, OR the child:

Parents feel that they need to "remind" adult children (on a frequent basis) that they need to: "wear a scarf", "put on gloves", "make sure the lights are off", etc... Maybe I WANT my head to be cold, my fingers to FREEZE off, and WANT to have a high electric bill!! Those things are MY choice!

Then there are the comments from parents. "You sleep too late", "You stay up too late", "You went to sleep with the tv on", "Don't you hear your phone?" "Your heat is too high", and they are absolutely right!!!

I SLEPT late, because I stayed UP late.                                                                                                                   I went to sleep with the tv ON, because I LIKE to sleep with the tv ON.                                                                I didn't answer the phone because I didn't want to talk to the person on the other END!

And while we're at it, I like my jelly WARM, my potato salad WARM, and maybe I stay UP late, because it's the only time I have some PEACE!
Maybe I work all the time, because I enjoy my JOB.
Maybe I WANT to be a couch potato.
Maybe I don't WANT a meat, a potato, and vegetable for dinner--maybe I WANT CEREAL for dinner instead!!
Maybe I am on my computer all the time, because I have stuff to DO, and maybe I don't call often, because I don't want to hear you COMPLAINING about anything and everything, ALL THE TIME!!

Parents, are we getting the picture??

Some parents also don't know how to be a GUEST in their adult child's home. They need to learn how NOT to "help" with everything.

Here are a few quick tips to help with that: 

1) Stay away from the laundry, the dishes, knocking on their bedroom door to see if they "heard their alarm" (they're in the room with it. I'm sure they would know if it went off).

2) Don't put things away if you don't know where they go, especially if your child hasn't asked you to do it.

3) Don't ask everyday of your visit if your grown daughter/son "remembered" to take out something for dinner. It is annoying! Maybe they are taking THEMSELVES out for dinner!!! Just leave them alone!! Sometimes, your "help" causes more WORK for them, than anything.

Adults with adult children, PLEASE let your children run their homes the way they want to, NOT the way you think they SHOULD.

If you don't like the job they have, that's not your business. they are entitled to have ANY job they want, because, unless they enjoy it, they will not stay anyway, and then you will have an UNEMPLOYED child, who MAY need to live with YOU!

Here's another one that parents get wrong. If you don't like your offspring's significant other, well, get ready to either not see your child/grandchildren, or to see the S/O right along WITH them. Those are your only 2 choices! (unless of course there is a danger--then step into action!!)

1) If the relationship is not right, it will burn ITSELF out in time...WITHOUT your help.

2) You also don't need to make things "uncomfortable" by mumbling "under your breath" for the entire duration of a family function, or whispering to other family and friends every time they as a couple, step into the room.

If you are the parent of a divorcing/divorced child, and they get along well enough with their estranged mate,

1) DO NOT roll your eyes, or make disapproving noises, or comments, during the child visitation exchange. It is not your BUSINESS!! If THEY can be civil to one another, YOU certainly can keep your opinions to yourself! It also confuses, and hurts your grandbabies, and they have enough to deal with if their parents are splitting up!

2) Another rule of thumb is, DO NOT play favorites with your children. None of them is any better than the other! So what if one has a big home, or lots of money, or a fancy car, or one is a college graduate, and one is a high school dropout.....it doesn't matter.....LOVE THEM THE SAME!!!!

3) Don't complain constantly about little things that don't matter. It won't change anything anyway. 

4) Give your child, and his or her spouse or significant other, "space" to work out whatever may be happening in their household.

5) Let your CHILD raise his or her OWN children. Do not usurp their authority--ESPECIALLY in FRONT of their children!

6) DO, try to be supportive if they ask for your advice.

7) DO, be there to pick up the pieces if they make a mistake.

8) DO be a PLEASANT person as much as possible. (NO ONE wants a 'sourpuss' around all the time) The more pleasant you are to be around, the more they will WANT you around!!

I'm sure there are many more things to discuss on this subject, but I hope I have at least provided SOME insight to parents having a better relationship with their grown children, and vice-versa.

Happy parenting, and good night all!!

December 14, 2009 at 12:45am · Delete Post

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