With kids moving on to their own adult life, how can you as a parent ensure everyone stays in touch?
As summer winds to a close, many parents are getting ready to say goodbye to their children who are heading off to school. For any parent, it’s a time of mixed emotions — both the pride and sadness of seeing a child move on to adult life. And just about every parent in this situation has the same concern; how we will stay in touch?
It’s not just a struggle of parents of college-age kids. While kids are staying at home longer than before, eventually something usually takes them away from home. Be it work, relationships or just exploring, they can’t stay at home forever. So how do you ensure, as they go off to start their own life, that those lines of communications stay open? Here are a few simple tips.
Don’t get offended.
You’re used to speaking with your children everyday when they live at home. It’s not going to be like that when your kids leave the house. You should understand that right away. Also understand that the drop off in communication does not suggest they don’t want to talk to you. Think about when you were young and moving out for the first time. First of all, it’s a busy time. There’s a lot to do and a lot to get used to. It’s also a very exciting time. They can’t be blamed for not calling every night nor should you expect that. Encouraging open communication is good, but don’t take it personally when they don’t pick up the phone.
Respect their privacy and maturity.
Those parenting instincts never really go away but you need to give your child their space as adults. Have confidence that they’re making the right choices, staying healthy and staying safe. If you pester them with these things (“Are you eating right?”) it can feel more like you’re checking up on them rather than having a conversation. Likewise, it’s normal to be curious about their personal lives but if there are subjects they wish to keep private, respect their wishes.
The best way to make sure you stay connected with your kids without overdoing it is to have set times for calls. Choose one night a week that works for both of you can stick to it. While it might sometimes feel like these calls are to make you feel better, your child wants to talk to you, too. Having these pre-planned times means you both have those catch-up sessions to look forward to.
Embrace their methods.
Remember, phone calls are not the only way to stay connected anymore. If you want to talk to your child more often, you may need to embrace some of their communication methods. In truth, there are some options that are actually better than the old-fashioned phone call. Social media and texting allows more frequent and casual updates. You can even get some face-to-face time with various video-calling options. Technology can be of great value for staying in touch and it should not be avoided.
Don’t make them regret adding you on Facebook.
Studies show that as the older generations move to certain social media platforms, the younger generation moves away from them. Again, this isn’t personal, but it can be tricky to share the same social media space as your child. While everyone should use social media responsibly, it’s also important to feel comfortable as yourself on these platforms. Therefore, don’t be parenting your child over Facebook. No commenting on pictures or posts you disapprove of. That can all be done off-line but when you start bringing that into the social media sphere, you can find yourself “unfriended” pretty quickly.