Updated: Dec 14, 2020
As a parent of a millennial, I realized the importance of practicing effective listening skills with my daughter as she grew into adulthood. I must admit, it was not an easy transition however it was a much needed transition, one which would allow not only her to grow but me as well. I had to learn to respect her as an adult and to relinquish my expectations as it relates to me always making decisions for her. I had to trust that my dedication and guidance as a parent would be sufficient and would lead her to be a responsible adult.
As a child, my daughter always looked up to me for everything and I eagerly relished the faith and trust she had in my decisions. My daughter knew I had her best interest at heart. As a child who was clinically classified as gifted and talented, she wasn't shy about expressing her opinions...at times too much! She indeed was a very confident person. However, with me, she was respectful.
As she grew older, I appreciated her independent nature, someone who utilized her intellectual gifts to understand the world around her. However, once she reached the age of 19, I also realized she wanted to vocalize her independence with... me...and I wasn't prepared for that. There were times when her opinions did not coincide with my opinions. I became frustrated that she was not listening to me and she became frustrated that I was not listening to her. It wasn't until I stopped and went into deep reflection so that I could fully understand the transition that needed to take place.
So how do you learn to communicate with your adult child?
1. Take time out for self reflection. Understand what is going on. The change that is taking place is not necessarily about you but more about your child growing into adulthood.
2. Reverse the communication process with your child. Instead of expecting your child to listen to you, it is now time for you to become the active listener. It is time for you to get to know who your child is...as an adult. Remember, they are more than what they were as children. In summary, instead of being the leader with your child, become the sideline coach--someone who reserves most opinions for when your child asks for them. Of course as a parent, if you notice something that is detrimental in any way, by all means express yourself. Remember, in many cases it is not what you say but how you say it.
3. Aim to establish a healthy relationship where mutual respect is the goal. It may not be an easy thing to do in the beginning but as long as you are aware of the changes that need to take place, the relationship will ultimately evolve into a healthy mother-daughter union.
In this video, I sit down with my daughter to have a honest conversation about life including dating, friendships, finances and mother daughter communication. Check it out! Don't forget to let me know how you made the transition to parenting your adult child.