At our March GaGa Sisterhood meeting, we were there to talk, to empower each other and to listen as our Sisters opened their hearts and shared the pain and lessons learned from parenting our adult children who are now parents themselves.
The sharing was deeply personal and sometimes painful but we all felt the empathy and support as we shared our stories. The challenges we’ve faced with our children included enabling, financial rescue, alienation, competition, mental health, boundaries, and disappointment.
Here are some strategies we shared for communicating with adult children:
- Use courage to set boundaries.
- Gain clarity for your personal needs and make thoughtful requests.
- Share from a personal perspective by starting with an “I feel” statement.
- Accept there will be times when you feel sad or upset; find ways to “let out” those feelings by talking to someone or journaling about them.
- Don’t assume — check out your feelings by asking “Is this what you mean?”
- Consider the other person’s history and perspective.
- Be quiet, listen and be patient. Sometimes less is more.
- Show self-compassion and acceptance of yourself.
- Show empathy for your children. We often have no idea what they’re going through.
- Ask permission to share a thought, feeling or opinion.
- Appreciate the “other” grandparents who have experiences to offer that enrich the grandchildren’s lives.
- Understand your personal temperament, your adult child’s, their mate’s, and your grandchildren’s innate personality traits. Temperament holds the key to understanding.
- Let go of trying to change them.
- Consider generational love – how we love, how they love and the effects.
- As children grow into teens and adults, our relationships also change and grow. Learn how to meet them at their developmental stage.
We ended our meeting with some words of comfort:
- Nothing stays the same; time can heal.
- Our children and grandchildren enrich our lives and teach us.
- Our children see that actions can often speak louder than words. They’ve watched how we parented them and they watch how we grandparent their children. Never stop being a role model.
- Compliment your children’s parenting abilities by giving specific examples.
- Creating multi-generational experiences can build long-lasting memories.
Although I don’t call our GaGa Sisterhood a “support group,” I do consider us an extremely supportive group. When we have conversations like this, we realize we’re never alone in our struggles and everyone’s story has a place in the world. We continue to strengthen our Sisterhood by sharing our stories and offering the comfort of being able to truly empathize with each other.
What has been your biggest lesson from parenting your adult children? Please speak your mind in the box below.