I came across this to-do (and not-to-do ) list for parenting grown children. It was compiled by a mother (Candelaria Silva) with two grown children in their 30s who are still, Silva reports, "talking to me--unbidden." I was particulaly taken with a birthday card she sent each child on that child's 30th birthday. It was made up of a hand-written list of 30 things she loved and admired about that child. There is something so heart warming about the idea--not just the sending of the list but the sitting down and ruminating over all the positive stuff you love about your child.
As to the rest of her to-do list, she's not oblivious to the negative. She just doesn't dwell on it. And she obviously parents her grown children with a light touch. Here are some other highlights from her account of what she calls "positive methods I've found to parent adult children."
* Forward articles with pertinent info from newspapers, magazines, and other people’s blogs.
* Send I love you cards and notes regularly.
* Listen – intently as an ally. Just say “uh-huh” every now and then to let them know you’re listening, while taking notes for follow-up info to send.
* Don't hover. (No helicopter parenting here.)
* Don’t try to solve their problems.
* Don’t lecture, ever.
* Don’t remind them of their past experiences and choices.
* Make the offer to offer advice, a response, a suggestion lightly, almost as an aside.
* Don't hold your breath waiting for them to ask for your advice.
* Count to 20 when prompted to let go with a torrent of worries and cautions.
* A thoughtful letter with suggestions sent by postal mail (that you don't ever check to see if they've received) works.
* Did I mention prayer, meditation, crossing fingers?