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Building a Relationship with Your Adult Child

With your college senior’s graduation looming large, you may find yourself wondering how to help them have a safe transition into adulthood outside the protected confines of the university and how to develop a relationship with the growing adult who keeps coming home. Here are a few things that may help smooth the transition from angry teenager to mature young adult.

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Take a Trip Together

Perhaps you can go to the beaches of Florida together, or maybe a trip to see cabaret in New York City. Wherever you choose to go, finding a mutual interest and sharing the burden of planning can allow parents to start seeing their baby as an independent adult instead. If something goes wrong, practice treating each other as colleagues instead of family.

Advising Without Hovering

When your child was in elementary school, you were the superhero with all the answers. By high school, you knew absolutely nothing. Now that your offspring is graduating from college, you may find him returning and sheepishly asking questions about what to do in these new situations. Practice ways of giving advice without saying “I told you so.”

Readjusting the Relationship

While it may feel like every time your child comes home for a visit it is as though they have never left, an adult guest in your home might balk at the idea of a curfew or feel smothered by being asked to dust the shelves. It takes time to reestablish the rules and expectations of a graduated adult child instead of a teenager.

These upcoming years may feel rife with strife as you come to see your toddler as an independent thinker instead. Work together to ask questions and find peaceful solutions to expectations from both parties. Have patience with each other, and enjoy the ride of the years to come.

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