Living in peace and love with our adult children

Posted on 23rd October 2018

Some callers to SeniorLine report family conflict, rows, and alienation from their children. This adds greatly to feelings of loneliness and isolation, disappointment, and a sense of pointlessness in life. Our children and grandchildren can be a great source of joy and happiness. Conversely, if the relationship is poor, we can feel depressed, angry, resentful and sad.

Here are 10 ideas to improve your relationship with your adult children

  • Say ‘sorry’ after a row. Perhaps the fault may lie between you and is not yours alone, but taking the first step to resolve any hurt or misunderstanding can put things right more quickly. And maybe you will be met half way.
  • Don’t be constantly looking for gratitude. You are aware of all you did for your child, but they will not see it the same way. Our children may take for granted they are loved and cared for – you probably did this yourself in your time.
  • Accept that life moves on. When children grow, marry and have children of their own, you will no longer be the centre of their universe. That’s the way it should be. Each generation needs to make their own family.
  • Rather than being resentful – rejoice in their independence. As parents, we are working for our own redundancy, after all.
  • Respect your son or daughter’s choices. Do not intrude with unasked for advice or criticism. Above all, do not criticise the way they rear their children.
  • Embrace the new people in your child’s life. Get to know grandchildren, in-laws, their friends. There is a new role for you there if you want it.
  • Don’t try to buy their love. Many adult children today are struggling financially and many parents help out. If you do so, do it generously. Do not expect your financial help to give you a major say in how they live their lives.
  • Realise a little distance can make the heart grow fonder. When parents stop trying to direct their grown children’s lives, the parent-adult child relationships often improve.
  • Whether or not you have social support from your children, take good care of yourself. Stay active, exercise each day. Enjoy your own company, and cultivate an interest in books, films, music – and other hobbies you can enjoy on our own.
  • Build warm connections with other family members, with neighbours and with friends. And be your own good friend.

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