“I try being kind to her but she is so mean spirited!”
“Everything I do backfires!”
“Until he learns how to behave as an adult I don’t think he deserves my kindness.”Parents of Adult Children trying to understand how to be kind to their AC
Donna Cameron in A Year of Living Kindly declares the benefits of behaving kindly toward others including increased oxytocin and serotonin, decreased inflamation, more joy and happiness. She explains the “this answers the “what’s in it for me question.”
But is that all? Recently, I did some research of my own. I asked my adult children, “If you told your spouse ‘ wow, my mom was just really kind to me!’ What would that look like? What are some of the things I might have done?”
Curiosity defines my life these days! I want to know what kindness looks like to EACH of my adult children INDIVIDUALLY. Similar to love languages, acts of kindness might go unnoticed or even act as irritants or aggravants to another kid. Take for example, the gift of a phone call. Two of my kids and a couple of their spouses LOVE a long phone conversation about life that goes down rabbit trails about their daily life. One is a truck driver and the diversion makes long road trips enjoyable. However, my daughter-in-love with two young children and a thriving business believes kindness is a NOT keeping her tied to a phone when she has so much on her plate!
For most of our adult children acts of service: running an errand, sending dinner, providing child care, taking car pool duty, helping with kids’ homework, staying with a sick baby, helping throw a birthday party, all speak KINDNESS.
WHY is that true? Our adult children live in a busy overwhelming season of life. If they are in college they have classes, jobs, and friends to juggle. If they have spouses and children they have relationship mazes to throw into the mix. Usually during this season our children are growing their careers as they are growing their families. Even with no disasters such as illness, flood, fire, or job loss, our adult children have daily and annual challenges. They need kindness in large doses.
In conversations with my adult children, the connection between love language and how they understood kindness was clear. Each adult child saw kindness in the love language they spoke. Most saw kindness in acts of service because they NEED help with their busy lives. Words of affirmation ALWAYS speak volumes of kindness to the ones who are
S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G to achieve personal and career goals.
However, I believe the “golden ticket” came when when one of my daughters explained why kindness looked like words of affirmation. “When you affirm me in what I am doing you are affirming that my work is worth it. That means that my choices are right. All this extra effort is worth it and ultimately…I am worth it. It always goes back to that, doesn’t it? We always need our Momma to tell us we are worth it!”
They are ALWAYS WORTH IT. How do you show kindness to your Adult Children? I would love to hear from you.