“I just never know how she is going to respond.”“One day I am superman and the next day I can’t even cut my own steak!”“I know that my Dad’s life is difficult and his job is unstable. I just wish he could be secure in our relationship.”
Remember when our children were small and everyone told us that consistency held the key to building our relationship with them?
Our mentors admonished us to determine the “rules of the house” and stick to them.
This set up the culture of our home.
Can we throw balls in the living room?
Eat in front of the TV or other screen?
Go to bed at the same time every night? Stay up late and sleep late?
All of these decisions set the tone for our home.
Our kids grew up secure knowing what was acceptable and what would set off sparks!
Nothing has changed. Security comes from consistent rules and responses.
The key to a good relationship with our adult children is consistency, just like when they were young. Predictability is our FRIEND. We want our kids to be able to predict how we will respond in every situation.
We can anticipate and PREPARE ANSWERS IN ADVANCE for some typical situations with our our adult children. Our kids can depend on the consistent response in reoccurring situations:
Wrecked the car? First we ask if they are OK and then we ask… what do you need from me?Having a baby? We ALWAYS rejoice. Period.Hurt? First we empathize and then ask if they need help or advice.Nervous or fearful? First pray. Then encourage.
“Do not be driven about by the wind” (James 1:6) was written to parents of adult children. We cannot allow fear, anger, or other harmful emotions to wreck our relationships with our adult children.
“Am I allowing fear (which is the opposite of faith) to respond for me to my adult children?”“Am I responding out of anger?”“Am I trying to control the outcome?”
If any of this sounds like how we are responding — we back up and wait to respond with intention.
Just as we always wanted the best outcome for them as small children—so we should be interested in the best outcome for their present and future—especially when we want to respond with emotion instead of intention.
What situations throw you off your predictable, non-emotional response?