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Lists to Use with Adult Children

Most moms love lists because they help us remember at least some stuff :  things to do, things to pack,  grocery,  long-term projects,  lists of lists and on and on.  Indeed one of life’s great joys is crossing items off a list!

We came across two lists that are noteworthy. The first is a gentle reminder to think before you speak to your adult children.  Yes, it’s extremely hard not to say the first thing that jumps to mind but too often those first words set a negative tone for the conversation.  We need to take a deep breath, mentally count to 30, and then try one of these smart “say instead” suggestions.

Journalist Linda Bernstein, who writes a blog for Baby Boomers, offers advice obviously learned the hard way. A sampling from “Six Things You Should Never Say to Your Adult Child.”

How come you hardly ever call (or text) these days When they do call, engage, don’t nag. Say instead: Don’t — just text a quick hello.

It’s all for the best; [So-and-so] was a jerk anyway. Never speak too negatively about your adult child’s partner when they split up, especially if the couple has a habit of breaking up and getting back together.  Say instead: “How are you feeling? Do you want to talk about it? I’m here for you.”

How can you live like this: Your adult kids may have ideas about hygiene that don’t match yours. Say instead: “Let’s go out to eat!”

What do you expect me to do?  This is your kid, and he or she expects you to fix it, whatever it is: a job rejection, a romantic rejection, a fight with a friend, a bee sting. Say instead: What can I do to help?

This next list should bring a smile and a feeling of simpatico with author Kate Gale who wrote a Huffington Post piece based on her experience as the mother of three sons and a daughter. Ms. Gale’s list of “Things You Will Miss” when your children leave home includes:

  • String cheese
  • Goldfish
  • Any kind of fries
  • Their Halloween candy and their Easter candy
  • Ice cream
  • Someone to tell you how to use electronics
  • The kids themselves. The fact that you have fun hanging with them. The fact that they make you laugh

We could all add items to that list, from food we buy “because the kids like it” to TV shows.  My list includes trashy celebrity magazines, reality TV, Oreos, and potato chips.  Somehow those healthy kale-black bean-whole grain chips are not the same!  What’s on your list?

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