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Parenting Adult Children: How's Your Relationship Going?

February 22, 20233 min read

Remember when your children were little. Ready to snuggle and gaze in your eyes full of love and adoration?

Fast forward to the teen years. Maybe a little less love and adoration in their eyes. It’s still in their hearts, but they express it a little less often. There’s a push-pull in your relationship as they start to develop their own identity and need you less and less.

And then before you know it, they are grown up and moving out on their own. They are standing on their own two feet and making decision all by themselves. Decisions which you may or may not agree with.

In my years of coaching, I have seen the gamut of relationships with adult children. From best friends – “We talk every day” to “We haven’t spoken in years.” And everything in between.

And in my personal life, I struggled with one of my own four children. They were living life in a much different way than they were raised. It triggered my feelings of guilt and shame and not being a good enough mother. It created feelings of anxiety as I worried for their future. I would go from trying to be their best friend to avoiding them because it hurt too much.

Fast forward a few years, we now have a really healthy relationship, and I don’t struggle with all those emotions I once used to. I have learned the secret of being content and at peace.

The challenge for me and for many moms is letting go of the dreams and expectations we have for our children. After all, we only want the very best for them. And don’t forget all the blood, sweat and tears we poured into their lives.

Letting go is easier said than done. But it is possible.

Here are a few tips to help you if you are struggling with a relationship with one of your children:

1. Let go of your dreams and expectations for their lives.

2. Respect your child’s agency (free will). We all enjoy the gift of free will. Let’s allow our children to enjoy theirs.

3. Get curious, not critical when they make decisions that may not please you. Ask questions.

4. And lastly, remember love never fails. Here’s a definition that really helps me every time.

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NLT

Learning to “parent” an adult child is a new experience, just like parenting your first born was. There is no manual. It’s on the job learning, but there are a few helpful tools that can help this part of the journey go more smoothly.

If you need some support and help navigating a difficult relationship, I can help.

I coach empty nest moms who are ready to go from stuck and complacent to courage and capable in creating a life they love. Are you ready to make the second half the best half?

Schedule a FREE call HERE.


Claudine Sweeney

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