In the US, most of us around are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with our friends and family. As we enter the Holiday season, it’s the perfect time to start talking about the essential factors to healthy relationships with our adult children as we age.
Generation gaps always have, and always will exist, this is out of our control. Whether or not you have a good relationship to your adult children, on the other hand, is entirely up to you.
Here are 6 ways to make sure you build, maintain, and nourish a strong relationship with your children for many years to come.
1. Opinions are like farts…
..just because you have one in you, doesn’t mean you should let it out!
There are many ways to achieve the same goal of a happy life or a successful career if that’s the goal. The fact of the matter is that many roads lead to the same destination. Indeed, many can think differently yet manage to come to a near-identical conclusion. Think about this before telling your children what you think about their latest choice in a romantic partner, job, or their hair cut.
Similarly, there is always a need to realize the importance of individual freedom, which brings us to the next piece of advice.
2. Embrace their way of living
Refocus your lens on what is most important - your idea of how your children would turn out, or your relationship with whom they’ve become? If your children came out precisely the way you had planned, then shame on you for not thinking bigger!
Give positive feedback to children; we all need confirmation from parents throughout our lives.
Remember, you are the alfa and the omega of where they have come from, even if they don’t share the same opinions or life goals as you at present. In their subconscious, they will keep coming back to the values you taught them. Their upbringing and the efforts you put into raising them are always with them.
3. Don’t make them feel guilty
When you do spend time together, enjoy your time together, rather than complaining they “don’t have time to come more often.” Complaints create distance in the relationship. The same goes for conversations on the phone!
4. Positivity is key
Practice having a positive attitude around your own aging, not only for your personal wellbeing but also for your relationships. Aging can, at times, feel like a lonely process if you’re only focusing on the things your body is no longer able to do. Find and do what you need to be happy, and don’t only talk about illness and lousy health all with your children.
5. Practice active listening
Your children are the sum of their experiences, and their accomplishments - a big part of that is you and what you taught them. Still, some years have likely passed since they left the nest, and they’ve made room for new things that you may not be familiar with. Try learning about who they’ve become by being curious, not judgemental, ask, and then listen - actively!
6. Take initiative
Instead of always expecting your children to visit or calling you enough, how about taking the initiative yourself? Invite them over, give them a call, plan a weekend together. It’s a two-way street!
Mon Tonton - for long-distance families
At Mon Tonton, we’re on a mission to enable a happy and engaged life in retirement. The wellbeing of all parties is equally important in a relationship.
With Mon Tonton, you can gain access to a community with events and activities tailored for retired adults.