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5 ways to stay connected to young adult children
As children age, parental roles shift. So do some of the ways we communicate, show affection and stay connected. Although the change can be difficult especially for mothers here are a few ideas to make the transition smoother. - photo by Connie Sokol
As children get older, our parental roles shift. In the process, so do some of the ways we communicate, show affection, and stay connected. Although the change can be difficult at times, especially as a mother, here are a few ideas to make the transition smoother.

1. Do less, listen and ask more. Rather than providing more hands-on help like you did when they were younger, young adults want to connect through ways that show your confidence in them. Ask key questions about their life and be specific so they know youre involved.

When my one son left to serve a mission for our church, I went from hearing all about his life daily to receiving a once-a-week message of about three lines. At first, I was shocked. Then I realized, things have shifted. Instead of trying to put a round hole in a square peg, I adjusted too. From then on, I included basic bulleted questions in my emails and struck info gold.

Also, ask their opinions about life issues whenever you can. Try for areas that are of interest or their forte. Perhaps ask a daughter what to make for Sunday dinner or get help for household issues. My oldest son is very talented with all things mechanical. Hes my go-to when I need house or car-repair answers. At this parenting stage, we shift from telling to listening and begin acting on applicable suggestions.

2. Use their communication method. A phone call may be best for our generation, but young adults often connect through social media. Find out which is their favorite medium and learn how to use it. One of my friends uses Snapchat and Skype with her out-of-state kids. My brood likes texts best. I like sending a happy thought, scripture, or do-you-like-this question.

3. Create Regular Rituals. That doesnt mean all connection needs to be electronic. Face-to-face time is key. Seeing a predictable time for such interactions what I call Regular Rituals can keep those memories coming. Be sensitive to their busy schedules. Maybe a monthly Sunday dinner, family night, Saturday guys golf, or Friday night pedis and crafts for the girls would work best. These allow for deeper communication and not staying at the surface How are things fine level.

4. Show interest in and support goals. Your job is not to make appointments for your young adult children or rent an apartment. However, you can discuss these situations, help them set goals, and talk through scenarios. Weve shared with our one son how to handle asking for a raise, smoothly switching jobs, and preparing financially and emotionally to move out.

That interest doesnt include getting into the nitty gritty of their relationships. One friend says her family has a rule of never criticizing in-laws or spouses. Their adult children know that unless it involves abuse, they are trusted to work out their own problems.

5. Be affectionate, but adjust. Sadly for moms, the affection aspect can shift with sons as they age. While some may hug and smooch on the cheek, others with girlfriends or wives may want a little more discretion. The best way to handle it is to ask. Find out whats comfortable your young adult and what that looks like. One of my sons is huggy and helpful, another gives me a knuckle and maybe a side hug if Im lucky. At the end of the day, theyre maturing and growing so its all good.

Give these ideas a try in creating more meaningful and appropriate connections with your young adult children.
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