If you were or were not close while parenting your child, try to be a part of each other’s lives even when he or she grows up. It can be a text, a phone call, a FaceTime, an email – something perhaps weekly (or more or less). Keep a relationship with your adult child.
Just check in with her and ask open ended questions without offering advice, “how to fix” issues, or telling her how to live her life. Don’t set up resentment by being invasive or controlling, but as with any other friend, go to a different level and stop parenting. If she makes a choice you don’t agree with, bite your tongue, and let her try it and learn from it, as long as it’s not dangerous (when you can then make your concerns known). It helps strengthen your bond with them if there is trust between you.
Only offer advice if asked for it, or if you see a real danger to a path taken that needs your advice. Build a relationship from trust and love.
Consider him your equal now, with his own experiences that make him the person he is. If you really look, you might see your influence in how you brought him up. You might see a bit of you in him. Don’t point it out, but hopefully it can make you proud and not cringe. If it makes you cringe, change that behavior in you and explain its negative aspect.
If she calls to ask about a recipe that she remembers you used to make, go over it with her and write it down, then email or text it to her. These days recipe boxes and physical recipes are largely not preferred – but a digital record is great. You might suggest saving it into a favorites or recipe folder. The same goes for other how-to lessons you’ve given over the years.
My daughter had a period of time where she didn’t call at all for even months, going through a growing, testing and experimenting stage. Once she realized her mistake, we got back on track and now she texts or calls me usually daily, with several times a day at times. She feels she can trust me and that I support her. I don’t pry but let her tell me what she wants to tell me. I let her ask for advice instead of just giving it. I listen to her. I sometimes make a conscious choice not to say anything no matter how much I want to. I protect her right to make her own choices and learn from them. We have a great relationship now, even though we never had a bad one. If the adult child feels good with and about you, you both win.
The relationship you can build once your child is an adult can be so rewarding. Hopefully your adult child will want a relationship with you (and you with him – yes, some kids twist off into people you don’t like – or other way around - and it’s tough to keep a relationship going forward). Just swallow your pride and connect in ways that don’t make your heads butt. Even if you cringe at the tattoos or shaved head or long hair or long beard, just look past them to the person he is. Hopefully he’s not too far gone that you have to let him go (like in prison for something bad) or a drug addict who can drag you down – then you need to wait to see if he turns his life around before a relationship is possible.
Keep a relationship with your adult child and great value will follow you to your aging days. You can find contentment knowing you’ve done your best, but let your child grow as his or her own person and accept that. One day, if not now, more of your influence may shine through, but hopefully the good parts.
Keep a relationship with your adult child. Don’t offer advice so much to allow a trusted bond. Trust your child.