3 Tips for Growing Closer to your Adult Children

I'm Noel!

I'm a Marriage & Family Therapist, Art therapist, and Life Coach. I am passionate about personal growth and helping people achieve their dream life!

hey there

Have you been feeling lately that no matter what you do you can’t connect with your adult son or daughter the way you used to? To the point that you feel like you’re speaking different languages? Or maybe things aren’t going that bad for you two, but you have a feeling, deep inside, that you could take your relationship to the next level and aren’t sure how to do it? If that’s you, welcome to the club of well intended & confused parents of adult children! Let me share three tips that have helped me develop an amazing friendship with my adult daughters and I’m sure they will help you too!

Turn Your MESS into a MESSAGE

Do you want to get closer to your adult children? Be more relatable! How? Turn your MESS into a MESSAGE and you’ll see your relationship deepen, your mutual trust grow and you will open up a new avenue for your children to come to you whenever they get in trouble. What do I mean turning your MESS into a MESSAGE? That you use your mistakes to show your children that you’re human, that failure happens to the brave, to those who have the courage to try something new. That there is no growth without making mistakes. That mistakes or messes are the setbacks before we step up in the right direction. Ultimately, that you won’t judge them and that it is safe to come to you when they messed up!

By sharing your mistakes you’ll be more relatable and you’ll have the perfect opportunity to teach your kids how to undo a mistake, how to ask for forgiveness and how to take responsibility for your actions. Us seasoned parents have an ample list of embarrassing first dates, wardrobe malfunctions, flunked exams, friendships gone sour, heart brakes and betrayals to give our children sound advice based on our own personal experiences. Don’t fear using those, you’ll not only become your children’s most reliable ally, but you will be soon giving advice to your kids’ friends. Just make sure you don’t compromise anybody’s privacy when you do it, and by that I mean the supporting actors and actresses in your stories.

Be Open to Change!

Change is the only sure thing in life and it is required for any kind on transformation. So, if you want to transform the relationship with your children you must embrace change and let them surprise you with the new and improved version of themselves. Remember this is new for both of you! Like in a dance, you’ll be trying new steps, so be patient with each other and don’t get frustrated if you’re going at different tempos. Showing yourselves authentically and in an open and vulnerable way will open up a new channel of communication that will deepen your bond.

As you accept your children’s changes, you can ask them to accept yours in return. What are the things you no longer want to do for them? Washing their clothes, being the assigned chef during the holidays, and driving them around are all things you can now say no to. You can go travel the world without feeling you’re neglecting them. Maybe it’s time for you to adjust your perspective and see the up side of this new stage. Don’t you agree? Freedom for all parties will help you become life-long friends!

Schedule fun time/activities!

One of my biggest mistakes when my girls first left for college was to leave encounters up to chance. If you miss them and you want to get the chance to see them listen carefully: if you don’t schedule it, it won’t happen. If your proposal is not attractive, they won’t come. You’re competing with a lot of new friends and exciting activities! And in my experience, it is good to be assertive in the invitation, but always leave room in case they have a suggestion. FLEXIBILITY is one of the most helpful traits in this stage of life and the younger generation has so much to bring to the table when it comes to having fun and creating new traditions. Remember, you are co-creating your relationship, as equals!

When choosing an activity to do together you can invite them to do something you enjoyed in the past or perhaps it is time to try something new, like that pottery class you always wanted to take or trying a new outdoor activity. With my girls I’d have to say that the big winners are: hiking the trails of the nearby mountains, long bike rides often followed by eating at a little local restaurant, Self Development courses, and our dirty little secret, watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette during Bachelor season. My husband and Fran and Sol’s boyfriends know to plan something else to do on those nights. No judging is allowed! In those special nights we giggle, eat popcorn and root for our favorite contestants. And we love it!

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