Most parents seem to suffer more headache as their children step into emerging adulthood. As children expand their interpersonal relations, they tend to focus on close friends and peers as significant others, while being less open to their parents. Even when we ask them if there is anything bothering their mind, there’s a chance they would find the question suspicious or think that we are “violating their private space”.
No, your kids are not joining secret crime syndicate. They are simply going through their developmental task: to have the mind of their own, to have ‘privacy’, and to find their own path of life. The crises have passed at our age, and now it’s their time. However, as a parent, we need to make sure if our children have strong ground under their feet—to make sure they will be alright. It becomes troublesome to do that when our emerging adult kids refuse to share their problems with us.
The key is, among all, is to speak less in order to say more. Here is how:
Be Present, with capital P.
Dr. Seppala from Stanford University stated that the key to charisma in connection is total presence. It could be simply done as talking or being in a same room with them without getting distracted with our never-ending business and to-do-list. This is as important as showing our kids that we are available whenever they want to share bits of their stories.
Concern Less, Care More.
Do we give them dozens of missed calls and chat messages when they are away? That might be the cause why they are paranoid to tell us their whereabouts and friends. It is more effective for children to see their parents waiting for them at home when they come home pretty late and show them how concerned their parents are, instead of being bombarded by numbers of missed calls.
Standing on the Same Level.
One of the most common features of puberty is the self-belief that our children are now mature and dislike to be “treated as little children”. Speaking eye-level to them is important, although every family vary in their communication style. Hockridge, a clinical counselor from LA, suggest that it is preferable to talk to them as to any other adult, instead of trying to act up that we are their buddies. While giving them the examples on how to speak and behave maturely, they would also find your advice less judging.
Be a Safehouse.
Emerging into adulthood is tough. In few years they need to live on their own, pay their own expenses, choosing education, career, and experiencing heartbreak for the first time. This is the age where they need to be responsible for every wrongdoing they do. It is a risky time for the family as their rooted ground to elicit anxiety and doubt. They might learn that they are as helpless as their parents think they are, or to worry more about letting down their parents instead of actualizing their authentic goals. It is cliché and tricky, but all they need is our trust. This could be done by providing them space and chance to fix their mistakes, and to admit their achievements. A more balance approach is essential instead of punishment and praises.