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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Shifting Social Intelligence

Building resilient relationships with Adult Children


Communicating Differently

Parenting models alter, fluctuate and mutate through the decades. Nurturing is never done in the eyes of the parent. It is tested at every stage, teaching unforgettable life lessons. As the children transition into adulthood, parents are often left on the ledge. Proud to see their offspring’s grow into independent adults with lives of their own, yet left wondering how to navigate this new phase and keep communications on an even keel. Roles as parents are evolving as the children grow older and the once dependent ones have their own lives, dreams and aspirations. Reversed roles are the new reality and its the parents turn to wait on the sidelines as the dynamics change. Steering from being guiding hands to cherished bonds.

Fronting these challenging transitions without overstepping boundaries can be tricky. As parents we want to maintain a healthy and meaningful relationship with our adult children, cognizant of not wanting to overstep. We wish to continue to forge a lifelong connection and support, but many of us stumble when implementing this. The changes in the dynamics creep up on us. It is insidious. Speaking largely for myself, this is uncharted territory. Easily slipping into habits and conducts without a second thought, until faced with a startling, unforeseen reaction from our children. From being the cool parent, who shares a wonderful bond with the child, suddenly we find ourselves displaced for being overbearing, controlling and monitoring. What happened here?  As communications stutter and come to a screeching halt, we become aware that we need to revisit, rethink and reevaluate.

Overstepping boundaries

Transitions that translate differently are suddenly the name of the game. Aware that we do not want to overstep boundaries or cause friction, we engage in circumvention. Dynamics change. But remembering this journey is a continuous one, we plunge on.

Let's turn the mirror on ourselves. At this juncture, it requires adaptability and some delicate consideration, but we often discover that we are also set in our ways, never having had the need to be any other way. So where do we go from here? Let's re-examine and re-assess. Confronting the reality that the children who are now young adults are flourishing in organic and self reliant ways that are unique and do not require hand holding might escape us parents. Instead, we need to recognize this milestone, celebrate it as an opportunity to pivot, respect their independence, find common ground and offer our support only when requested.

Requiring adaptability, empathy and openness to embrace the different transitions of our sunset lives. Creating strategies for a foundation of a long term connection. A remarkable commemoration of how our young ones have evolved.

As readers, does this resonate with you? The journey of navigating the transition to adult children is unique for every family - do come forward and share your stories and experiences.

We are stronger together


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