As our children become adults and start making life decisions for themselves, it can be a difficult time for moms. Sometimes our children make choices we don’t agree with and it can cause a strain in our relationship with them. Here are three things you can do to improve your relationship.
- Throw away the manual. Manuals are booklets we create in our heads that are filled with all the “shoulds” for our children. For example, your manual for your son might include he should get an education, or he should serve a mission. My manual for my sons included serving a mission and marrying in the temple. Out of my 4 adult sons, two served missions, and the other two didn’t, and none have married in the temple so far. Our relationships with our children will be much better if we throw away the manual and accept them and their life choices just as they are.
- Practice unconditional love for them. Unconditional love is loving someone without conditions. It’s saying, “I’m going to love you no matter what.” It is the kind of love God shows us. It is the pure love of Christ. Whether or not we tell someone we love them unconditionally, it is something we can do for ourselves. When we love someone unconditionally, it allows us to have positive, loving feelings for them, rather than negative feelings.
- Process your own negative emotions. When we resist negative emotions like disappointment, grief and sorrow, they don’t get resolved and they will continue to bother us. If we distract ourselves instead of allowing an emotion, we end up doing things like overeating or binge watching Netflix. The way to get past an emotion is to go through it. We can process or allow the emotion. You can do this by describing it and how it feels inside your body. Or, you can sit with it in a calm place and just be present with the emotion for a time. Once you allow it and process it, the negative emotion is free to leave you. I have found this to be very helpful as I’ve struggled with some of my adult children’s choices, and once I’ve processed those emotions, I can be with my children from a more genuine, clean place.
To learn more about these and other tools for improving your relationship with your adult children, sign up for a free life coaching consultation. It will be a non-judgmental, 45-minute visit with me, in which you will learn at least one skill that you can start using right away that will improve your life and your relationships.