I want to share with you some ideas for how to have good communication with your parents and with your adult children. These same ideas can apply with any other adult family member within your extended family.
The most important thing I want you to think about is to be mindful of not violating the boundaries of other adults. Every adult wants to have their ideas, opinions, and ways of going about in the world respected.
We all want to make our own decisions about how we are going to raise our children, how we are going to spend our money, how we are going to decorate our house, or what jobs we are going to have! These are very personal decisions, and people want to have personal autonomy and have their decisions respected as adults.
So, respecting the decisions of other adults that are in your family is the first thing that I want to bring this whole episode around.
The second thing that I want you to think about is how important it is to only give advice or to express concerns to another family member very sparingly. This should not be done on a regular basis because it is going to create conflict! People are going to perceive that you are telling them how to live their life and they are not going to like it!
That being said, it is understandable that you might have a concern about a family member – some decision that they are making – and you could be nervous about how their decision could affect them or about how it could negatively affect you!!! You can bring these concerns to another family member, however I just not want you to do this very often.
Now when you do have a concern – for example, you could be worried that your adult child is in a bad relationship or perhaps you are concerned about how your child is parenting their child, your grandchildren. Or you could be worried about your parent’s health and that they are not following through with an important medical procedure.
You want to bring your concern to them in a thoughtful way and express how concerned you are that their decisions will affect you or even how you think it could affect the entire family.
After you have done this, then if you have a resolution you can give your suggestion for resolution. However, the third thing to remember is that you tell people, “I understand that you ultimately have control over your decision. I am not trying to tell you what to do. I respect that you are an adult, and I understand that you have control and that you will make this decision as you see fit.”
So, you frame it in this way.
Now, there are some situations that I have seen within therapy where clients also do have such a concern about how another family member’s decision is going to affect them, that they will then set boundaries around that.
Now that is a whole different discussion and something that I discuss with my clients separately in coaching and therapy sessions.
I really want you to think about how these boundaries operate in your family and respecting the autonomy of other family members. I hope you will comment on that here after the vlog on my You Tube channel. Please share how these tips were helpful for you and your family!
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And if you need assistance with improving your communication with a family member, please reach out to one of our Relationship Repair Associates today.