“Mom, why can’t Dad see things my way?” Tim angrily retorted. “I get so frustrated with him sometimes. I feel like he’s always preaching the same sermon and it’s his way or the highway.”
“Why do you say that?” Mom attempted to help Tim verbalize his anguish hoping to lower his frustration.
“No matter what I do or say, he has an opinion. Everything I start to do is scrutinized by his good boy, bad boy ideology. I doubt that he even remembers what it was like to be 21.”
“You might be right,” she laughed. “I know you’re dealing with a lot right now. It must be hard to be at home for the summer with parents breathing down your neck.”
“You have no idea, Mom. I’ve been away at college living on my own and now Dad is back to treating me like I’m still a little kid.”
In an attempt to validate his feeling, Sheryl replied, “In some ways, Tim, you are right. Your dad sometimes does have a difficult time remembering that you’re an adult. I think he just wishes things could be like they used to be. It hasn’t been easy for any of us to have you living back at home this summer. It puts you in a position of having to live under our house rules again and it changes the dynamic of what we have while you are at school. But we’ve all agreed that it is the best thing so you can continue to work nearby. Look at the bright side. Next year you’ll have graduated and can be fully out on your own.” She paused before speaking again, “You know he loves you, don’t you?”
“I know, Mom, but can’t he just keep his mouth shut sometimes and let me figure out life for myself?”
“Tim, your dad isn’t perfect and neither am I. We love you and we’re all in this together. So let’s try to figure out what the real issue is. Why don’t you come up with a list of situations where you feel he has frustrated you and let’s set up a time to talk about them with him? How does that sound?”
“I don’t know, Mom. He’s not usually one to listen to my side of things.”
“I know you can handle this on your own, but how about if I try to “grease the skids”, so to speak, before the conversation?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe I can appeal to some of his memories of being 21,” she laughed.
“If you think it will work, I guess I’ll try anything. Thanks, Mom.”
Sometimes as parents with college and sometimes adult kids living in our home it is easy to fall into several communication dangers. We can either “bash” the other parent when opportunity arises because we think our 20-somethings can handle “truth” now that they’re adults or we can communicate to our kids that they should move out if they don’t like their circumstances. At times, the most important thing we can do is validate everyone’s feelings and try to understand the true objective during this season of life–relationship.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Dare you to really listen to your adult children’s frustrations and be a bridge to relationships.
Always striving to communicate better with our kids regardless of their age.
“Let go…and let God,”