Erickson: How should I interact with my parents now that I’m an adult?

The following opinions expressed by Scott M. Erickson are his own and do not officially represent the views of the American Counseling Association or the Wyoming Mental Health Professions Licensing Board. The expression of these opinions does not constitute a real or implied counselor-client relationship.

Except for those of you who have been living in significantly unhealthy or abusive parent-child relationships, you will want to continue to strengthen your relationship with your parents for at least the following reasons: 1) They likely have financial resources you may need; 2) Surprisingly, they will seem to get a lot smarter in the next five to ten years; 3) They are highly motivated to see you succeed because your success is their success.

Please consider these three ways to continue to build your relationship with your parents as an adult child:

Communication is key. Stay in touch with your parents via social media and texting. In addition, your parents are likely from a generation that prefers verbal face to face interaction. Facetime or something like it may mean almost as much to your parents as actually being with them.

Truly consider their advice. If your heart tells you that you need to be and think different than your parents then you probably should listen to that. However, adulting as your very own person does not necessarily mean that you need to completely abandon every idea and principle that your parents have invested their time, energy, and resources to give to you.

Express sincere gratitude. Thanking them at public events and paying tribute on social media is a good start and will impress your parents’ friends and other members of your family. Intentionally create face to face opportunities just with them and verbally articulate a list of three to five things they have done that have made the most profound positive impact for you. They will forget the public attempts at gratitude but will remember how they felt when their child took the time to really connect with them about what was most meaningful in their parenting.

Best wishes to the high school Class of 2018!

Scott M. Erickson is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Kemmerer who has provided counseling services in southwest Wyoming for the last eleven years. Erickson’s mission is to “be a dynamic catalyst helping you to empower your best self.” He can be reached at his website or his Facebook page: Erickson Counseling & Coaching LLC.

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