Tips for Staying Close to Adult Children

Most of us have children that are adults now. Maybe they are recently married or maybe they have several children of their own. Regardless, there comes a time when our children cross over into adult territory and become (mostly) independent. When that happens, adjusting and navigating the relationship can be a challenge. You may worry about being overbearing, about being replaced by a spouse, about becoming unimportant. All of these concerns are valid and a normal part of an evolving relationship. After all, it feels like yesterday that your child needed you for every little thing.

So what are you to do when you feel as if your relationship with your child is not as close as you want it to be? If you feel estranged or disconnected with your child, it may not have to stay that way. Here are seven tips to help stay close to your adult children, as featured in an article from Next Avenue.

1. Don’t expect your child to be your confidant.

2. Don’t assume your child always wants to chat or text. 

3. Accept that they are allowed to shape the nature of your relationship.

4. Don’t compete with your child’s partner.

5. Treat them like the adults they are.

6. Take the initiative when you sense genuine estrangement.

7. Create a full life that doesn’t revolve around your children.

We asked a boomer who has a close relationship with her adult sons for some advice, and we got some wise words.

Connie from Delaware has two adult sons and she's been through the challenge of welcoming two daughters-in-law into the family. The relationship between a mother and daughter-in-law can be tricky, and if it's not amicable, the mother can easily become estranged with her son. Connie told us, "When my boys married, I told them that their first priority now was their new wife. You need to realize when your relationship is evolving and welcome the change and grow with it. Yes, your boy is not going to need you in the same way now, and he will be turning to his wife for the things he once turned to you for, and that's ok. That's how it should be. You raise your children to become independent. You should want to make every effort possible to have a good relationship with your children's spouses because of how important they are to your children."

It may also be helpful to try and consider your child's point of view. An article written by a woman who chose to estrange from her parents explains five reasons why adult children may choose to move away from the relationship. The younger generation is more likely to break ties, so if it's important to you to maintain a relationship, you may be the one who needs to do the brunt of the work...just like when they were little!



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