New Year's resolutions are often broken as quickly as they are made, but in the case of parenting your young adult, it's a good idea to give these suggestions some thought. No one will be able to follow these guidelines all the time, but once your children have graduated college and are on their own, it's time to step back and let them come to you for parenting advice instead of jumping in whenever you sense a problem - which, if you're an involved and caring parent, will happen more often than you would like.
What Parents of Young Adults Should Do
I will respect my young adult's privacy. Though I may still sometimes view my young adult as a 7 year old in need of parenting and discipline, I will remember that, at 18 and on, my child is no longer my legal responsibility, and I will, within reason (barring concerns about health and well being) refrain from asking prying questions. Allowing your young adult to have a private life and waiting for an opening in a conversation to tackle personal issues will result in honest conversations that are more comfortable for both the parent and the young adult.
I will take my young adult's opinion into account. I have encouraged my child to live his life on his own. Now that he has graduated from college or moved out of my house - or both - it's time for me to listen to his opinions on everything from where to have dinner to where to spend the holidays. I want him to be an independent person, and I need to understand that, despite my influence and words of wisdom, my young adult has formed his own belief systems and ideas.
I will not tell my young adult how to spend her money. If she wants to buy a $500 handbag or go on a cruise through the Caribbean islands, I will not question her, tell her she's irresponsible, or in any other way offer my input - unless I am asked. On that note, if my young adult child is short on cash after one of these - or other - indulgences, I will not rush to help her out.
Lessons can be learned without being taught by parents.
I will not ask my young adult about her health care. It's fine to suggest a teeth cleaning, an OB/GYN check-up or a trip to the dermatologist for an odd-looking mole. But that's as far as it should go. Do not ask about birth control choices, anti-depressants or any other medical issues. Chances are your young adult will confide in you if there is a problem, but it is up to them to broach the subject, not you - unless you are deeply concerned about your child's health. Then you should speak up - but with care, not fear.
I will not text, email or call my child during the workday unless it cannot wait. You may think the latest headlines about world news or a coming snowstorm are important to share, but unless it directly pertains to your child, hold off on the frequent texting and emailing. And never call unless it's extremely important. Phones are more often used for texting than voice phone calls, especially during business hours. Your young adult is on the job, whether he or she is working from home or working at an office. Give them lots of space during a workday.
Under no circumstances will I ever ask about when my young adult is going to "find someone." This doesn't need much explanation.
Relationships are hard enough to find, manage and maintain. Having parents breathing down their necks about weddings and grandchildren doesn't make it any easier. If you are concerned about your young adult's relationship status, that's your problem, not hers.