As a parent, you want the best for your child. But when your child leaves home to begin his adventure in the role of “adult son”, it can be difficult to continue to ensure that his actions guarantee the best for him.
Parenting an adult child can be new territory for you, and it’s one with a steep learning curve. To help you, here’s how therapists reveal 6 ways to empower and motivate your adult child.
1. Allow failure
As a parent, you only want the best for your adult child. The last thing you want is to see them suffer and fail. But that’s something you have to do eventually, and in fact, failure is something that children should always have been allowed to do, even at a younger age. Failure can empower his son, teaching him to stand up again and showing him his strength.
The goal for you would be to gradually remove the safety nets under your children as they reach adulthood, so that they begin to experience problems without your protection. According to Professor at Brigham Young University School of Social, Home and Family Sciences, and Associate Dean Laura Padilla-WalkerThis can be quite stressful in early adulthood. Often times, it can even seem like a balancing act.
Not sure what constitutes “not allowing” your child to fail? Consider the following ways you can do this:
- Try to save your children from any setback by constantly instructing them to follow when they learn of your plans, goals, or life events.
- Do what you can to keep your kids from embarrassing themselves by making the same mistakes you made, probably to prevent them from inadvertently embarrassing you.
- Making your child feel guilty for making mistakes or doing things that you think are reckless or inadvisable.
- Treat every failure of a child as a sign of incompetence rather than accepting that it is a normal part of young adulthood.
2. Focus on the positives
It is natural for human beings to focus more on the negative aspects of things than the positive ones. Unfortunately, this can be very bad for adult children who may constantly feel that their parents are always on their case for something wrong. The fact is, people of all ages learn best from healthy and correct use. positive reinforcement than any punishment or scolding.
Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., Psychologist and Parent Trainer Renowned across the country for his expertise in children of all ages (including adult children), he suggests the act of focusing on what he calls “islands of motivation.” This means looking for little pockets of positivity to praise your adult child and show him that you notice and appreciate the good things your child does. Praise is likely to result in more positive behavior.
Even better, islands of motivation they are easy to build. Have you ever noticed that after buying a new car, you have a higher chance of noticing people who have the same make and model? Well, that’s because you, like all human beings, experience selective attention. Selective attention is a concept that means that you are more likely to notice it than other things when you focus on one thing.
So when you start looking for and pointing out the positive things your child does, you are likely to see more of that positivity as time goes on. But if you only look for the negative, you will continue to see only the negative until you end up pushing it away without realizing it.
3. Stay on the same page
Your relationship with your child will change as he grows older. It is important during that time to communicate effectively to stay in tune. The limits are going to change from time to time, and as a parent, you may feel hurt by some of the limits that your child wants to set.
Remember, limits are not an insult to you in any way. They are a symbol that your child has grown up and wants to be independent. In the same way that you didn’t like being constantly bullied by your parents once you became an adult, your child no longer wants to feel like a child with you.
Robin Stern, Associate Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence recommends regular conversations about limits, independence, and finding solutions for uncomfortable situations. Check in regularly and agree on certain limits that you can both be happy with. For example, agree to perform the following behaviors:
- Contact each other and touch base every three days, with a video call on Saturdays.
- Your child will talk about who he is dating within two months of developing a definite romantic relationship with someone.
- Make a workable vacation time together, such as alternating vacations with you each year.
These boundaries empower your child by showing her that her voice is important in your adult relationship. They will feel more comfortable talking and interacting with you, and those limits will give them independence and motivation to work on their own lives on their own.
Unfortunately, many parents fall into bad habits of being unhelpful or negative during interactions. These will not only hurt, cushion, and even push your child away, but they can damage your relationship with them in the long run. Bernstein lists the following types of interactions to avoid:
Living in the past
Sometimes it is normal to have a conflict with your child, but once done, it must be done, dusted off, and left in the past. Please do not continue to bring it up in the future when you have already resolved the issue amicably. Doing so will only teach the child to hold a grudge against you and others.
Threats mean much less to an independent adult and seem cruel and manipulative. Your child is likely to be defiant when threatened, which will exacerbate the conflict.
Injection of guilt
A child’s feelings and thoughts are not cause for shame or guilt. Even when they are questionable or wrong, their actions are not good reasons to start making them feel guilty at every turn. When used against children, guilt usually simply alienates them, resulting in long-term damage to their relationship.
When your children become adults, you will no longer have to lecture. The lectures are one-sided and condescending. Instead, it’s time to be a mentor. Mentoring involves patient listening and limited advice, with wisdom provided only when needed and never with the intention of controlling, only offering alternative perspectives.
Heavy and painful sarcasm
Sarcasm is a type of humor that can be fun to use at the right time. But if you only use sarcasm all the time, especially during times when you are supposed to convey important information about a situation or your feelings, you are just petty. Saying things like “Wow, what a smart move” when your child makes a mistake will make him feel worse and stop him from talking to you about his mistakes.
You cannot dictate how another person feels. Adult children will get lost, confused, and experience many situations for the first time, such as breakups or being fired as they go through life. Even if you think it’s not a big deal, you should never invalidate them. Be understanding and offer your kind and understanding words. Remember how you were at his age!
5. Be firm, don’t control
Be firm with your children it does not mean controlling them. Nobody likes to be controlled, and even young children can develop the negative perceptions of a controlling parent. In fact, walking that fine line being receptive but encouraging independence is more empowering and can have positive effects on your relationship with your child.
Remember, your child is a unique and separate individual with his or her own set of thoughts, perspectives, and personality. It is not your place to mold them to be who you want them to be; They are sensitive and have their own rights! Knowing when to back off and when to intervene is difficult, but worth it.
In short, cut the strings that hold your child to the puppeteer gloves and your child will flourish and flourish through their independence. It’s a wonderful way to empower them, and they might surprise you with what they can accomplish with your control!
6. Keep growing too
As a parent, your life does not stop just because your children leave their “nest.” You are not just a parent. You are an adult human being with your own goals, beliefs, talents, and thoughts. Just as you will never stop being a parent, you will also never stop being a unique and separate person who deserves his own life and happiness.
Your chapter on raising your child at home is over. Your role has become something more, something more supportive than educational, and it may seem strange with an empty nest and a different way of looking at parenting. If you have to, take a little time to say goodbye to the old role, but then get up and carry on. Those who dwell too long in the empty nest often lose their positive thinking and becoming depressed or lonely.
Instead of doing that, think about all the things you wished you had time for before, but couldn’t do or pay for. Now you have the time and you can have the income available! Progress in life! Learn new things! Work towards your dreams! Have and make friends! Find a purpose! Go out with your partner!
Yes, your life is changing. But the bottom line is this: life shouldn’t have stopped when you became a parent, and it shouldn’t have stopped now that your role as a parent is changing. Your children will feel empowered knowing that they can have an adult relationship with you, and you will be amazed at how rewarding adult parenting can be. It is enriching for you and for them.
Parents can protect their children. It is perfectly reasonable to want to keep your child happy and safe by holding him as close as possible. But while it is an understandable feeling, it is not one that you should follow as it may hold your child back.
By allowing your child to spread his wings on his own, you empower him in his independence and motivate him with your support. And boy, what a beautiful thing!