How to Maintain Healthy Relationships With Your Adult Children

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By Connie Sokol, speaker, author and mother of seven

First, acknowledge you don’t stop being a parent. You just parent differently. And that could mean your skillset needs a slight adjustment. Olea Gough found this to be the case.

“As I transition to this stage, it’s just plain hard to be the consultant instead of the advisor,” she says. “I try not to offer my opinion or to control decisions that seem less than ideal to me.”

To smoothly make the shift, consider expectations for this new phase and how to approach it. That means getting clear first for yourself as a parent and then discussing it with your adult children.

Common questions include:

  • Will an adult child live in your home? If so, for how long?
  • While living at home, do they need to be enrolled in school, have a full-time job, etc.?
  • What are social life expectations (i.e. friends over/staying over, gaming, curfew, etc.)?
  • What are contribution expectations, including paying rent, home maintenance, cooking, laundry, etc.?

As a parent or parents, decide which parameters are non-negotiable and negotiable and then discuss it together. When in doubt, consider if a choice moves your adult child forward, even if it’s uncomfortable. Overall, the wise goal is to keep them moving into healthy independence and create a respectful, reciprocal relationship now and in the future.

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