Free flight: how to behave with older children
To paraphrase the saying about small and large children, we can say that the older the child, the more serious and to some extent philosophical questions arise before his parents. How to “reformat” your attitude to a child who has long ceased to be a child in the generally accepted sense of the word? Where do the borders of intervention go? How to maintain relationships with older children? How to remove a grown offspring from your own neck? Let’s try to figure it out.
Do I need to help financially?
Many parents continue to support their older children financially until they get to their feet. Their desire is understandable: today young people have to start a career with low-paid internships, and financial assistance comes in handy. But often this leads to the opposite result – adult children never get the skill to cope with difficulties on their own.
“If you want to motivate a child to earn money, don’t need to help him, let him find opportunities,” says family psychologist Anna Varga in the book “Systemic Family Psychotherapy”. “Parents who want to bind the child, encourage addiction, help with money.”
But what to do to a loving parent who does not find a place, worrying about a child? “Of course, we cannot forbid ourselves from worrying about what children do, how they live, how they educate our grandchildren, how finances are distributed,” says psychologist Svetlana Kartinina. “But experiencing is one thing, and taking responsibility for their actions and actions is another.” Remember how the child took the first steps, how he fell and stuffed the first bumps. Let him do the same now.
Personal life – is it better (not) to intervene?
Today, many young people are in no hurry to create families. Some meticulously choose a suitable partner, while others postpone this step, building a career or trying to figure it out. This situation inevitably causes anxiety of parents. “My daughter is 21 years old, and she still does not have a personal life. Moreover, she does not aspire to her, ”the 45-year-old Eleanor laments. And 54-year-old Svetlana complains that her daughter “has many admirers, but in all she finds some flaws and believes that there are no worthy ones, she’s not going to get married.”
“The anxiety is understandable, but the interest in the relationship should wake up itself, and not because you want it,” commented on similar situations, a Jungian analyst Larisa Harlanova.
Some parents are used to controlling children in everything. First, this manifests itself in checking homework and writing essays for the child, and then in trying to establish his personal life by choosing a suitable partner. It is important for a son or daughter in childhood to learn how to take responsibility for their own actions, otherwise they will not be able to truly grow up.
Separation rarely occurs painlessly, often accompanied by quarrels and misunderstanding. It happens that parents come to see a psychologist who start complaining about aggression and rudeness on the part of adult children. “I congratulate them: finally, their boy or girl is growing up, initiated into adulthood,” says psychotherapist Ilya Suslov.
When the kids sit on their necks
If some parents try to control and take care of adult children, then others face the opposite problem: the child is in no hurry to grow up and takes their care for granted. He likes to live in his parents’ house, where there is always food in the refrigerator, someone washes his clothes and pays bills.
“Many young people perceive the family simply as a base, a launching pad, almost without thinking about their place in this unit of society and their share of responsibility for it, especially if you really are not used to answering anything,” write Jill Hines and Alison Bayverstok in the book “Your adult children.” Parents complain about the child’s irresponsibility, reluctance not only to arrange their own life, but also to do part of the housework. They feel at an impasse: as soon as they stop cleaning up for their son or daughter who has grown up, the apartment will immediately drown in disarray.
To support sometimes is to remind a person that he is not at all a small capricious child, but an adult and independent person
Hines and Bayverstock recommend compiling a list of the tasks you do around the house and then showing it to an adult child. Perhaps the son or daughter will be surprised and say that they don’t have to clean the apartment, but the authors insist: “If you want the children to become more responsible, follow the only rule: stop doing everything for them and wait until they start doing it themselves. If all family members begin to answer for themselves, they finally become a group of equal adults living under the same roof. ”
Most likely, someone will be surprised: is not the first task of a loving parent – to support the child, providing him with comfortable conditions in which he can develop and get on his feet. “Support is not only kind words and attention, sometimes to support is to remind a person that he is not at all a small capricious child, but an adult and independent person,” explains psychologist Veronika Leonova. – Because it is such a person who can cope with difficulties, survive hard times and move on. And the capricious child, for whom parents do everything, is unlikely to cope with this task. ”
About the causes of parental fears and anxieties
Growing up a child entails changes not only for himself, but also for the entire family system. A parent, accustomed to take care of, solve any problems of children, is out of work, feels helpless. It is especially difficult for a woman who primarily associates herself with the role of a mother. Experiencing her own crisis, she clings to any opportunity to help an adult child in order to feel useful and meaningful.
“Separation is a two-way process,” Inna Khamitova emphasizes. – When children grow up, parents also have to master with a new situation. They may not be ready for parting, because they are afraid of the emptiness that forms in life. “
Watching how a little girl turns into an adult woman, the mother may experience conflicting feelings: joy and anxiety at the same time. She is afraid that her daughter will make mistakes or, conversely, will repeat her bad experience. In addition, the youth of children inevitably reminds her of her own age.
“If a distance has not been established between them, the mother seems to“ appropriate ”the life of her daughter, wants to live for her and does not allow her to make decisions,” explains Anna Kazakova, a Jungian analyst. – They form a pair that excludes the presence of a third. If a daughter has a partner, the mother does everything to expel him in any way. In fact, the daughter gets a ban on expressing her own feelings and sexuality. ”
So how do you find an approach to them?
Parents and children are always people of different generations. They grew and matured at different times and in different conditions. Contradictions between them are inevitable, but at the same time, this does not mean that their relationship cannot be built on mutual respect and love. While the child is small, it is easier for parents to get what they want from him: he still lends himself to control, responds to prohibitions. But such tactics fail in adolescence, and commanding an adult is almost impossible.
Between parents and children there will always be boundaries that exclude certain topics from their communication.
“The sooner parents recognize the child as a“ negotiator, ”the more likely they are to establish equal communication during the next life, thereby providing themselves with a“ meaningful voice ”in old age,” explains Natalya Manukhina in her book “Parents and Adult Children”.
Treating a son or daughter as an equal participant in the dialogue helps to establish a conversation with children of any age: no matter how old your child is, three or thirty. This does not mean that your opinions must necessarily coincide, but the ability to speak and be heard is the key to the success of any relationship.
Is friendship between parent and child possible? “It is advisable that as your son or daughter grows older, the relationship between you becomes more equitable – friendly,” writes Hines and Beverstock. “True, you will never become true friends.” The authors believe that between parents and children there will always be boundaries that exclude some topics from their communication. It is unlikely that an adult son will share with her mother the characteristics of her sex life, just as she will not feel comfortable talking about the last orgasm. Sex is not a taboo topic at all, but the details of an intimate life are unlikely to be shared with parents or children.
Material prepared specifically for the social networkas part of a special project about informed parenthood # changes.
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