Terms of Endearment
When our children are little “I love you” and other endearments fly back and forth. But what about when they become adults. We say “love you” at the end of a phone call or as they leave for work but how often do we really take the time to make it more than a throwaway line?
- Thank them for sharing. The next time they share something personal, acknowledge you understand that they didn’t have to share that with you and you appreciate the trust they have in sharing their lives with you.
- Write “What I like about you” email or note. Your children are never too old to read a note from you telling them what you like about them. When you take the time to let them know what you admire or like about them, it will be encouraging, hopeful, and loving.
- Go visit them alone or spend time with just them. Take a night, a weekend, or a day off and spend it with your adult child. Even if you should have to travel, you will never regret the time spent with your child.
- Remind them you love them. This seems so obvious but to your adult children, it may not be. They need to hear that the very people responsible for bringing them into the world will stand love them unconditionally.
Telling many of us not to give advice to our adult children is like telling us not to breathe! Impossible! But some baby boomers believe that keeping quiet will result in a closer relationship with your children.
In “Boomers, Butt Out of Your Children’s Lives” author Ken Solin writes,
Young adults are desperately trying to establish their own identity and place in the world, and what they need from their parents is compassionate questioning and listening — not criticism and dictatorial you-shoulds. A young adult who’s constantly barraged with advice and judgment from his or her parents quickly learns to keep personal dialogue to a minimum and, eventually, stops communicating them altogether
However, maybe there is a middle ground between a “constant barrage” and making suggestions, especially when asked!