“What does she see in him?”
One of the biggest challenges is when your grown kids bring someone home to meet you. You’re hoping with all your heart that this person is wonderful – then you meet. But unless you have absolute reasons for your dislike, this is a good time to remember to zip it. It’s not your choice who your adult child chooses, it’s theirs. This is the best way to cause a major rift between you and your child, so make this a time to practice restraint, as challenging as that might be.
“I need a BIG favor.”
What happens when you’re asked to fund your child’s new business, new home, or financial debt? How do you field a loan when you’re concerned about both the life choices being made and that you may be putting your own financial well-being in jeopardy?
This is a tough call, but it’s imperative you set – and stick to – boundaries. Find out what’s going you, not by being intrusive but by asking genuine questions, with concern. You can preface it with words like, “I hope you know I trust your wisdom but as your mom, I’ll always be concerned. Can you put my mind at peace by sharing with me your financial plans?” Then have a conversation about what you are and aren’t capable of helping with.
“The (grand)kids are not all right.”
It’s hard to refrain from sharing your opinion when your adult kids parent differently than you. Case in point: you hear a lot of unconsummated threats, “If you don’t do your homework/clean your room/behave, I’m taking your cell phone”!
As hard as it is not to give advice, don’t. At a less fraught time, ask your adult child if he’d like to hear your two cents. Providing information as a question first is respectful and can often change the response. If your child says he’s not interested, tell him you’d be happy to share your thoughts if he changes his mind.
“I only hear from you when there’s a problem.”
It’s not uncommon to feel left out of your adult child’s life – except when they need something from you. Remember, today’s world is different and adult kids are dealing with a more stressful, demanding environment than us.
Cut them some slack. Rather than complain, communicate with your adult child. Tell them you’re feeling left out, and suggest a time within the next two weeks to get together, your treat. If you frame it as a desire to see your kid because you love and miss them it will sound a lot less whiny.
“You’re in trouble, aren’t you.”
There’s a world of hurt your grown child can fall into: drugs, alcohol, gambling, sexual obsession, or risky physical behaviors, all of them potentially leading to disaster. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, but remember, parents, for better or worse, are always parents. Take charge. Organize a family intervention, a group visit to a therapist, a gathering of loved ones to confront the person in need. Act.
Lynne Goldberg, MCC
Lynne operates Lynne Goldberg Coaching and she is available for personal, career, executive and corporate coaching and consulting.
You can reach Lynne at firstname.lastname@example.org.