Is there a difference between being a support to your children and being too supportive?
Should we as parents be worried?
I am the mom of two wonderful adult children. Both are college educated and on their own. My married son has a great job and he and his wife are financially stable. In fact, they now have a beautiful baby girl to round out their family. My single daughter lives 3000 miles away, and I worry about her all the time. Can I draw the line between being the supportive, caring mother, and not the interfering, meddling mom? If I ask too many questions, am I prying? Don’t I have the right to find out what’s going on in her life?
Brigham Young University did research on this and found that it is very important to be involved in your child’s lives in middle and late adolescence, but too much monitoring can have a negative effect in early adulthood. In other words, it could lead to resentment and conflict.
Indeed, what we, parents, need to do is find a healthy balance, with the issue of boundaries coming into play. Give them their space and let them make their own mistakes. You were able to experience life, and while it’s hard to watch your children be hurt or suffer, they will learn from their choices, too.
Here are some specific things you can do:
- Examine the situation. Does it warrant serious intervention or can the discussion be just informative and benign?
- Consider offering examples from your own experience. That may ease the conversation toward giving concrete advice/suggestions, keeping in mind that your advice needs to be without control. Practice being tactful when communicating and show a lot of sensitivity in your speech.
- Step back and let things unfold naturally. After all, your adult child is responsible for his/her own life and the decisions that are made.
- Be available if necessary and don’t be judgmental or blaming if your help is requested.
It’s not unusual to want to give your children emotional support and even financial help, if necessary.
Just know that while your children will always be your concern, they are adults and need to be respected for their roles and choices. However, I think they “secretly” like knowing our care and concern for them never ends, no matter how old they get. In fact, it’s always special and validating for me when the kids say, “Thanks for being there when I need you.”
Amy Sherman is a blogger with JenningsWire Online Magazine.
JenningsWire.com is an online feature magazine created by National Publicist, Annie Jennings, of the PR Firm specializing in providing publicity services and book promotion to authors, speakers and experts. Annie’s firm offers the famous pay for placement publicity program as well the powerful radio talk show campaign that comes up a guarantee of performance, bookings on big radio talk shows in major cities as well as unlimited media training.