Parenting Young Adult children
We are blessed with 4 children. Our children are 25 21 15 and 9. Our role as parents to these 4 kids has changed significantly this past year as two of them are now adults and the third is maturing with lightning speed( he’s a teen) and number 4 is 9.
I have a number of friends, relatives right now who have children who are now young adults and I’ve been observing some things and routines
I am not a Councilor or any professional. I am just a mum of 4 sharing the journey to help others and to learn more.
Remember the end goal of parenting our young adult children is to preserve the relationship so they can come to you if they really need you. Watch out for landmines that will throw you off of this end
Tips for Parenting Young Adult Children:
Avoid dictating. young adult children will be more likely to participate in what you want them to participate in if you invite them with no pressure, no guilt trips, no strings.
Deactivate the tracker habit. If your young adult child lives away from home you are no longer responsible for policing their every move. You have to let go of the feeling that it’s your job to know where he or she is and what he/she’s doing. It’s tough. I know.
Create a connection routine. Explain to your young adult children you would really like to speak to them – if only briefly – once each week and set up a designated time to talk on the phone. Our son in another Country our daughter is in another town. But remember – invite don’t dictate.
Listen more. Talk less. Ask your children about their life, classes, roommates in a way that indicates you are truly interested. Careful not to let it sound like an intrusion though. Don’t bother talking about yourself unless they ask. It’s normal for young adults to be focused on themselves and your job is to support them.
Avoid the lecture. Offer guidance but ask permission to share. If you see her headed down a path that might lead to a high risk of safety or regret, be gentle but ask if she is willing to hear some words of wisdom from her old mom/dad. Offer her another perspective but be careful not to dictate. She will bolt if you do.
Don’t rush to rescue. There will be a day when you get an emotional call from your young adult children in the middle of the night. Sink into compassionate listening mode but don’t jump to rushing in to solve and rescue. If it’s not life or death, your job is to simply guide your child with using her executive functioning skills. You are a guide here not the know-it-all. Help her consider her options and encourage her by saying, “You’re a smart young woman. I know you’ll get through this. What are some ways you might address this situation? Let’s consider your options.”
Money and things are not the answer. It is all too tempting to send gifts and money because we so love to see our kids happy and at least temporarily having extra money or goodies definitely yields a burst of short-term happiness. BUT… this will cause more problems for your kid down the road if you do this too often. He needs to learn to budget his money. He needs to learn to value things and resources by working for them. Be careful not to throw money and gifts at your kid. Gifts will mean more if they are given less frequently after they’ve had a chance to struggle a bit.
Affirm Adulthood. “You’re an adult now.” It’s a magical phrase that encourages, empowers, and helps your kid to feel seen and respected as the young adult they are. This phrase should be used often. It’s disarming and effective for helping her to feel you are not trying to ruin her life. She’ll be more likely to hear you out knowing you acknowledge she’s not a little kid anymore.
The transition is difficult enough. You brought them into the world. We are raising them protected him and now he’s out on his own. But not quite. They still require of us for some things. He’s on your insurance plan, your cell phone plan, and even though he thinks he knows everything there will be times he will need your advice. In order to preserve the relationship so that they will come to you when they really need you, avoid those, and keep the line of communication open.