Mother Knows Best?
So you're excited that your children are getting close to the age where they may find their life partners and settle down. You are equally excited at the thought that you may be having grandchildren soon. But wait a minute... What if you don't like your child's mate? What if your child chooses someone to spend their life with that you would've never chosen for them? What if it seems that all the things your family stands for are no longer important to your child? If you think this can't happen to you, please know that it happens more than you probably think. You've heard all the mother-in-law jokes. It's true, a lot of people can't stand their mothers-in-law; but to be fair, there are some lucky families where the out-laws get along nicely with their in-laws.
What if your child chooses a mate who is nothing like you expected? What if they observe a different religion than yours, or no religion at all? What if they are an interracial couple? What if your child's mate is heavily tattooed or pierced? What if your family is upper class and your child's mate is a blue-collar worker? What if this person who will suddenly be part of your family comes from a bad part of town or has a criminal record? What if your child's mate has children from a previous relationship or has been previously married? Any of these things could happen. (Or, none.)
Maybe you think your child is above finding anybody who measures up to your standards. If you suddenly find yourself wondering if this person has your child's best interests at heart, or if you are concerned for your child's safety, you have some decisions to make. Maybe you have heard bad things about this person and want to know whether or not the rumors are true. No doubt, this will be a very hard, heart-wrenching phase in your relationship with your child. You are questioning your child's integrity and ability to choose a mate. Truth be told, it is up to your child to choose whom they spend the rest of their life with; it is your job to love and support your child and try to form a positive relationship with the mate.
Nothing is Working!
If you find that matter how hard you try to form a positive relationship with your child's mate, you still have misgivings and are still very concerned, consider that the problem may lie with you. Maybe you're not easy to get along with, or maybe you're uneasy knowing that your children will no longer automatically take your advice or come running whenever you need something.
You have to give your children respect and trust, and let them live their lives. That also means you really have no say when they decide to commit. Regardless of how you feel about their mate, the choice is theirs. Most times, you need to accept these facts and keep your mouth shut. There are only a few times when you should even consider talking to your child about their relationship and how you feel about it. First, you need to be absolutely sure, 150 percent positive, that your child will suffer immensely in a relationship with their chosen one. That is the only time you should even consider talking about your issues with your child. If you are still intent on speaking up, be prepared to be rejected. If there are life-threatening issues, you must speak up; however, it doesn't mean your child will want to hear your concerns.
Be prepared to present specific proof or examples of what already happened or what may happen in the future. Do not be vague. Do your best to avoid being judgmental; leave emotions out of it and present only the facts. If you have had similar experiences in your own life, share them. Be prepared to accept the outcome of your conversation with your child. Your child may walk away. Your child may be angry. Your child may even cut you out of their life for a while. On the other hand, your child may contemplate your concerns and take them seriously - maybe not right away, but at some point, and see that you had some legitimate concerns. This is a chance you are going to have to be willing to take.
Remember, even though you raised your children, you can't control who they choose to share their lives with. Yes, you want the best for them, and that much they undoubtedly appreciate. However, even if you have been through similar phases in your own life, you have to let you children live, learn, get hurt, heal, and love.
If you need advice on how to talk to your adult children about issues such as those in the article, please consider seeking the assistance of one of our trained relationship therapists. Give us a call today at 949-220-3211, or schedule your appointment via our online calendar. We at the OC Relationship Center are her to help.
If you are having issues with your child's choice of partners, it may help you to talk to a professional. The counselors at the Orange County Relationship Center are trained professionals and are here to help you get passed this rough spot in your life. Call 949-220-3211 today to schedule an appointment or make your appointment online.