Mitchell Rosen: Transition advice from childhood to adulthood
There is a subtle transition that needs to happen when our children become adults. This transition focuses on the way we offer advice.
When kids are younger, parents tell their sons and daughters to do their homework, pick up their rooms even drive more slowly after the first rain of the season. As children mature and become more self-reliant, parents need to be mindful to transition from “Do it the way I said” to “Here are my thoughts, what are yours?”
There is no magical age when this transition needs to occur; actually, it’s a work in progress from the time our kids our born until they are 50. It’s difficult for some parents to see their children, at any age, as anything but children. Doesn’t matter how smart, educated or accomplished, parents have a tough time understanding they don’t always know what is best.
Parents should absolutely offer ideas, advice and opinions, but when their kids are grown, do it once, and then let it go. If a parent does not let this transition happen, they risk losing the closeness and respect of their kids. As much as parents want to spare their children the pain of mistakes, especially a mistake the parent themselves has made, most of us learn from trial and error. Telling a grown child the best car to buy or the type of spouse to pick is fine, insisting is going to backfire.
As a family counselor I notice those parents who have the best communication with their grown children tend to respect their children. These parents have transitioned from “Do it this way” to “I did it this way and it worked well, so what you think?”
I remember a family I saw years ago. The father was arguing with his son about the best college to attend. Now, […]