God speaks to us in the Bible about families. He tells parents to train their children and to discipline them. Loving them is a given. Furthermore, he tells children to honor their parents with the promise that they will enjoy long life on the earth. As our children become adults, parents often have the desire to continue to train or guide our children. But once your children are adults themselves, how do we continue to follow God’s will of discipling and parenting them? Here is the happy recipe for healthy, loving families.
Consider how you offer advice
Unfortunately, when I was a young, married parent I resented what I considered to be interference from my parents when they offered suggestions or advice on how I was living my life, conducting my marriage, raising my children, etc. The manner in which advice is offered is very important, and not every parent goes about it in a productive way. Parents should consider how they offer advice and try to be tactful. Asking first if you can offer your ideas or advice can be a great way to start the conversation. Most parents have a desire to be able to share their gained wisdom and knowledge in life experiences to help their children, even when they are adults.
Make sincere statements
When children become adults they feel the need to prove themselves to show parents that they are grown-ups now and can do it all themselves. Some adult child welcome and even ask for their parent’s advice. Yes, being independent is good but interdependence is even better. It is the happy and secure person who realizes that we don’t have to do it all by ourselves. We all have a support system in our own families.
At times a barrier can develop in the family relationship. One very important thing to remember is that your kids need to know you respect them, and that you are not being judgmental. You can demonstrate this by making sincere, positive statements about good things you see them doing in their marriage and/or parenting. Build on that and it is unlikely that they will resent your offers of advice or suggestions.
Do all things from a loving place
Remember that above all, the advice you give is born out of love and delivered in a loving way. You may need to lovingly clear the air if there are feelings of intrusion on your children’s lives. I have a tendency to be too quick to “advise” my son and wife. He came to me and explained that they appreciated my desire to help and would consider my “suggestions”. But, he reminded me, that they may not necessarily act on them. That cleared the air, and I was relieved that they would listen, and respected them for wanting to make their own decisions.
I encourage parents to work on how they offer their wisdom, whether practical, psychological or spiritual. As a result, you’ll have grateful children benefiting from some good ideas and suggestions from their parents and parents who feel great joy and satisfaction when they are able to help their children along in life. All of this fosters happier, more loving and accepting extended families.