What is the best strategy for successfully parenting adult children?

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Answered by: Jade, An Expert in the Parenting Adults Category
Parenting is one of the most important jobs that anyone can ever have. From the moment that you knew your child was on the way, your whole life changed from being self-centered to revolving around caring for another person more than life itself. You birth, protect, love and rear your children until they are old and wise enough to care for themselves. But what happens when your children reach adulthood and you feel that they still need your advice and loving guidance? How do you deal with successfully parenting adult children?

Love is first and foremost when parenting adult children. It doesn't matter what age your child is, you must always communicate that everything you do and say is because you love them. Even if the advice or opinions that you offer them are not always welcomed, they will be much more easily received, understood and heeded if presented in love. Even if your children disagree with you, they still know that you love them and have their best interest at heart.

Respect is another key component in parenting your adult children. This is where the situation can get uncomfortable if you're not careful. For so long, you've been the only adult in the relationship. Often times it is difficult to transition into this stage where you're trying to parent a fellow adult. You naturally feel that you are the parent and should be obeyed and respected, but you must realize that your children are now adults, too. You must also realize that if you are not respectful, you won't be respected. Even when dealing with minor children, you must be mindful to stay respectful and not act as bullies or tyrants. The advice or opinions that you give your adult children should reflect that you acknowledge them as adults and value their thoughts and opinions even if you don't necessarily agree with them.

Trust is the last component in parenting your adult children. You've raised your children from infancy to adulthood the best way you knew how. Sure, you've made some mistakes, but you learned from those mistakes and continued to do the best you could for your children. Just as you made your mistakes, you must also realize that your adult children will also make their own mistakes. Just as you needed your own parents to give you some space and some growing room, you'll also need to do the same for your own adult children. Trust that the adults that you've raised did absorb most of the ideals and values that you attempted to instill in them since they took that first miraculous breath. Trust that even though they will make mistakes, they will be able to recover from their mistakes and live healthy and happy lives. Trust the parenting job that you've done and the beautifully unique individuality that makes your children who they are.

Parenting adult your children can be a challenge but does not necessarily have to be a battle. The process is not always easy, but can go much more smoothly if parents realize that they and the adult children have transitioned into another stage of their relationship that requires communication with love, respect and trust. Eventually the adult children will start families of their own, and then the next step for you will be grand-parenting, which is another battle within itself. It's all a part of the cycle of life. Happy parenting!

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