Archive for November, 2011
Posted on November 11, 2011 - by melinda
Things are about to change at home ladies! Your young adult kids – away at college, boarding school or in the military – are about to descend on your home! They are growing and changing – and so are you! How can we prepare for their holiday visits? It’s time to refresh our thinking about what can help make these relationships more enjoyable this time of year:
:Listen a lot – without judgment. Adult kids may want lots of space “on the floor” to tell about their roommate, school activities, crazy workplace stuff or how they are navigating the military lifestyle. Attentive and engaged listening can foster a safe environment for conversations, and you may find yourself having earned their trust enough to hear “Oh, by the way, mom, there’s something that’s going on in my life….” And if you are fortunate, that openness will carry over as they return to their current home.
:Watch – sometimes young adult kids need to posture a bit just to let you know that they are growing up and away. Be a patient, watchful observer. Show them respect. They are used to their own away-from-home lifestyle and it can take a few days for everyone to get adjusted! I do think it’s important for parents to go along with their own life as much as is practical so that the kids see that they have one! You’ll mentor for them that adults keep on growing in life. It’s a given that you’ll want to make space for special times like meals in/out, games/movies – whatever fills your family’s tank.
:Adapt – aren’t we always doing that with our growing kids? Your kids may want to faithfully continue family traditions while other traditions may have lost their luster since last Christmas. It can be helpful for the family to sit down together and list what everyone feels they must do before they leave. We thought our young adults were done with going to the Walnut Room at Macy’s (formerly known as Marshall Field’s!) but that made it on to the list! Do your kids still want to go together to choose a Christmas tree? Have the Christmas breakfast – or sleep in? Do they want extra time to see as many friends as possible before they leave? Leave some “ouch” space in your heart for disappointments, and hopefully, your kids can indulge you in some of your favorite Christmas family traditions. It’s not unfair to ask them to do one for you! But get ready to laugh as it plays out!
Laughter, wisely called the “best medicine,” can come in handy this time of year! (Proverbs 15:13) How are you preparing for young adults kids’ return home for the holidays?
(To read about more challenging relationships, see Gary Chapman’s How to Really Love Your Adult Child.)