When your children grow up and move out of your house, your relationship with them changes. You still are their parent, but they are not kids anymore, they are adults capable of making their own decisions and taking responsibility (well, we hope they are). It's time to find a new balance and become their friend. How to become friends with your adult children?
Resolve past issues. Even if you have a good parent-child relationship, there probably have been at least some bumps in the road. To become friends with your children, you need to put the past behind. Make sure you've forgiven each other for everything you've done wrong and don't hold grudges against one another. Working through past issues will help you start with a clean slate and focus on the present.
Forget about childish nicknames. Nicknames are cute, but when you call your children by their nicknames, you don't treat them as equals. Call your adult children by their given names.
Forget about the words “should” and “can't”. Sure, you still can give your chidren advice, but your pieces of advice shouldn't sound like commands. Don't tell your grown children what they should or can't do. Give them suggestions and then let them decide for themselves. You need to respect your children's decisions and life choices even when you don't approve of them.
Find shared interests. Most friendship are based on shared backgrounds, interests, experiences, or occupations. If you want to bond with your adult children, you need to develop shared interests that will bring you closer. If your child has kids of their own, it's easier because you already have one common interest: parenting. But even if they are childless, you'll surely find something to bond over. Just don't be afraid to try new things together.
Stay connected. It is very important to stay in touch with your grown kids, especially if you don't live in the same city and even state anymore. If you don't know how to Skype, ask them to teach you so you can have scheduled Skype sessions. Meet when you can and spend time together because that's what friends do.
Discuss adult topics. Don't limit your conversations to questions about their personal life or family topics. You can talk about whatever you want, just as you would with any other friend. There are so many topics to discuss!
Accept your differences. Your children may have different opinions, priorities, and beliefs, and it is okay. Sometimes you will disagree on things, such as religion, politics, certain life choices. The wisest decision is to agree to disagree and then avoid sensitive topics.
Ask them for opinions and advice. You're used to being part of your children's support system. Now it's time to let them become part of yours. When your children become adults, you can ask them for their opinions and advice and seek their help when you need it. When you ask your children for advice, you show them they're your equals.
- 6 Tips for Living With a Boomerang Kid, How to Cope With Empty Nest Syndrome, 6 Hobbies for Empty Nesters, How to Become Friends With Your Parents