3 Ways to Maintain Closeness with Your Adult Children
Seeing your children grow into adults is a bittersweet experience. You find joy in seeing them forge their own paths and become their own person, and you’re now able to experience a sense of freedom once again.
However, you soon realise that they don’t have as much time for you as you would have hoped. They are now busy with their own lives – working, raising their own families and meeting their friends. As a result, you may start to feel neglected and develop a sense of emptiness, also known as the empty nest syndrome.
Instead of feeling this way, you need to acknowledge and understand that your relationship with your adult children has changed, and so must your role as a parent and expectations that you have of them. That said, there are still ways to maintain a sense of closeness with your adult children, starting with these 3 tips.
1. Transition into the role of a mentor
As parents, we may be accustomed to making decisions for our children in their younger years and expect them to continually abide because “I said so”. However, as they grow into adults, it is impractical to expect them not to have an opinion of their own even if you think you know what is best for them.
It’s important to note that imposing your opinions can add bitterness to the relationship and lead them to not confiding in you at all in future. As such, avoid being judgmental or making unsolicited comments – whether it is about their personal habits or life choices – lest you undermine their sense of autonomy. So, whether it is choosing a career path or settling down with their significant other, it is best to leave the final say to them. We may not be fully aware of the latest happenings around the world, and therefore, are not in the best position to make decisions on their behalf.
Additionally, continue to be their pillars of support by acting as a sounding board when they are in a dilemma, encourage them when they are feeling down, and celebrate their achievements and successes. Furthermore, feel confident of the values that you’ve instilled in them and trust them with their discretion and decision-making.
2. Respect their personal time and space
As our children advance in their lives, there are many activities that will start to demand their attention and time. Their commitments – both professional and personal – increase. Remember the time when you were chasing a job promotion or when you became a new parent, which left you with little time for anything else in the world? Similarly, it would be unreasonable for us to expect our children to spend time with us as often or as much as we may want them to, or to be available for us as and when we please.
Instead, try to empathise with your children; and respect their personal time and space. If they are unable to respond to your calls immediately, understand that they may be busy. Instead of holding a grudge or showing up at their house on a whim, it would be better to align your communication expectations with theirs. For a start, discussing their preferred time and mode of contact can help to convey the message that your respect their time, which will further help to strengthen the relationship.
3. Develop an identity and lifestyle that revolves around ourselves, not our children
It is true that parenthood generally leaves us with little time for ourselves. However, if parenthood means a life that is completely centred around children, it can lead to us setting unrealistic expectations of our children. For example, do we expect our children to look after us in the same manner that we did for them – both financially and physically? Do we consider it their duty to be available for us whenever and wherever we may need them?
Such expectations can put undue pressure on our children to oblige out of moral obligation and may even sow seeds of resentment, straining the relationship. Therefore, it is essential for us to preserve our own identities, outside the role of a parent as well.
For starters, consider reviving old passions and hobbies that were once relegated due to family responsibilities. Reconnect with friends and develop new social circles. Take up voluntary work or pick up new skills.
In terms of money matters, it is also encouraged to take steps towards being financially independent so you can live life on your own terms and not burden your children for financial support, which can also cause resentment.
One good way to start planning for the prime of your life is to check out Gro Retire Flex Pro, a flexible insurance savings plan that provides a steady stream of income during your retirement. Depending on your lifestyle needs, you can also choose your desired amount and duration of payouts. What’s great is that acceptance is guaranteed1 regardless of your health condition!
At the end of it all, you will find that when your children are spending time with you or giving you a token sum, they’re doing it out of love and not obligation.
Invest in your personal growth and financial security
It is rightly said that change is the only constant in life with our relationships - our children being one of them. While they embark on new roles in their lives, it is time for us parents, to evolve our parenting techniques and expectations of them. At the same time, we should instead leverage this opportunity to invest time in our own personal growth and financial security so that we can be less dependent on our children.
To find out more about how you can achieve financial independence, connect with an Income advisor today!