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Worried about having a relationship with dc when they are teens and adults?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
At a young age, it all seems great and easy to be close and have a great relationship with my child, but I worry about when she gets older and is a teenager and an adult, that as she will have her own life to lead, and won't need her mom so much, that we might not have a very good/close relationship anymore.

Does anyone else worry about this? Or have any thoughts on it?
post #2 of 9
I think your worry is a very common and natural one.

There are a LOT of horror stories out there about the teenage years.

I, for one, don't believe for a single second that it's a foregone conclusion that teens have to be difficult or that their relationships with their parents have to suffer.

In fact, I think it's awesome that you're asking this question while your children are you because you are in a perfect position to lay the groundwork for excellent communication down the road.

Yes, your relationship with your children is going to change as they get older. They are not going to need you for the same kinds of things they need you for now. They are going to want - demand, even - independence. This is normal and necessary to prepare them for adulthood! They will still need you, but in different ways. They're going to need you to be an excellent listener, they're going to need your support when they have trouble with their friendships, they're going to need to to sit in the bleachers and cheer them on at sporting events, they're going to need you to help them with job applications and college searches, they're going to need you to help them expand their minds with intellectual conversation and abstract discourse.

My kids are 12, 10, 10 & 8 and the older kids are getting really, really cool! I love the conversations I have with them now! We talk about science and politics and philosophy. They are developing their own interests in sports and music and drama and it's really fun to watch them cutting their own trails.

So, lay the groundwork now. Talk to them - on their level - about the things that are important to you. Emphasize the importance of open communication and show them - in an age-appropriate way - that you trust in their independence. It's never to early to start talking to your kids about sex, drugs, smoking, healthy relationships, empathy, etc. We've been talking about all of these things since the kids were very little and now, as these issues actually start to become real, there's no "awkwardness" in our conversations.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to instill a sense of empathy in your young children and nurture it vigilantly throughout their entire childhoods. Adolescents, by nature, are fairly self-centered creatures, and I've found that by having that solid value of empathy under their belts, "reasoning" with my kids about seeing other people's points of view is much easier. Does that make sense?

Don't worry Mama! Teenagers are great! : You're going to have a wonderful time with them!
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by mild_adventurer View Post
Teenagers are great! : You're going to have a wonderful time with them!
Amen to that! I was terrified of the teen years, mostly because I was such a mess when I was one... I now have 3 teen daughters, and have been enjoying these years immensely - great conversations, watching them spread their wings and fly, etc.

Yes, there are worries, and yes, they each went through about a year as young teens when I wasn't sure they (or I!) would survive, but if you can stay calm, be there for them during hard times and keep the lines of communication open, you will be greatly rewarded. Just remember: they're individuals with free will; when they mess up (and don't we all...), it's not all your fault.
post #4 of 9
Teens ROCK! Mine are are just such great people to know. Do we always get along? Of course not. But we work through out disagreements.

Every situation is different. So not every kid is going to respond the same way. But I've found that treating my two as people in their own right and as part of the team the three of us make up to work well. I don't have a lot of "rules". Except that we're a team and we need to work like one, whether it's doing household chores, getting work (school and other) done, making sure we all have down time, etc.

I have an almost 18yo who has no qualms to being seen hugging me in public. He's fun to talk to, do stuff with, etc. My 15 1/2 yo *daughter* loves to hand out with me at home, with friends, at the mall, etc. They know I'm the parent and sometimes I have to make unpopular choices. But they also know I am their #1 fan and the one person they can count on no matter what. And ya know what? The feeling's reciprocal.
post #5 of 9
I'm 47, and my Mom and I have always had a good relationship (we go on vacation together every year).

Before my Dad died, I told him that one of my dreams in life was to have the sort of relationship with my sons (when they are adults) that I had with him.

So it IS possible to have a good relationship with your grown children!

My twin boys just turned 15. For our anniversary they took DH and I to the local rock wall, which was a blast. They climb a lot; we do not, so they were very much teachers and coaches, and didn't get embarrassed when we got tired and quit.

They talk to us about EVERYTHING. Every day - more than once a day, but always before bed - they give me a hug and tell me they love me.

I recognize that it isn't just because we are such perfect parents - we were blessed with two wonderful, bright, easy-going, children. But we have always tried to base our relationship on respect and trust, and I think it has paid off. We try to set limits that are age-appropriate and reasonable, and involve them in the limit-setting process, so they don't feel a need to rebel.

One of the most important things we do is eat supper together almost every night. We talk about insignificant things usually, talk about our day, but mostly we include the boys inthe conversation, listening to and appreciating their opinions. We don't always agree, but we don't tell them that their opinions (or more important, their feelings) are wrong.

We include them in practically everything we do, and we do fun things together - hunt, ski, fish, go to rock concerts. We actually LIKE to hang out with them, and they don't mind being seen with us.

I totally understand your fears - I spent years worrying about how our kids were going to turn out. But I think I've finally reached the point where I think we've made it. They have made smart choices up to this point, they still value our opinions, and they have good friends. I expect that we will enjoy their company for the rest of our lives - and THAT is something to look forward to!
post #6 of 9
Attachment parenting can continue past the toddler years. Gentle discipline (respectful parenting) will do a lot to maintain the relationship that you have so carefully crafted with your children during their baby years. My mom didn't get this-- she did attachment parenting and then punitive, disrespectful and controlling parenting after that and none of her teen/adult kids have good relationships with her.

I really like the book Hold On To Your Kids for how you can maintain a healthy attachment (good relationship) with kids from the toddler years through the teen years.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by samy23 View Post
At a young age, it all seems great and easy to be close and have a great relationship with my child, but I worry about when she gets older and is a teenager and an adult, that as she will have her own life to lead, and won't need her mom so much, that we might not have a very good/close relationship anymore.

Does anyone else worry about this? Or have any thoughts on it?
Just wanted to point out that it's a sign of success if your child gets to adulthood and doesn't need her mom so much.

I don't want my adult child to need me, but I hope my adult child will like me for the most part, and want to spend time with me periodically. I admit, I'd be very sad if my child felt the need to avoid me.

It's a big unknown, isn't it? Looking into the future, trying to picture our precious little child as an adult, what might she be like? It's a fear of the unknown.
post #8 of 9
See, for me the teen years have been when I got to enjoy the fruits of my labors... the early years were difficult (good, but difficult), but this is wonderful. I've got this amazing, kind, brilliant, funny, loving person in my life who knows exactly how to make me smile and is just fascinating to listen to.

She also has her own life and I miss her a lot right now... but our relationship is still good, and close, and she still needs me, just in a different way.
post #9 of 9
I keep waiting for this "horrible teenage stage when kids hate their parents" to begin. My teens are (mostly) wonderful, with a few lingering issues that they've had since they were younger.

My kids and I can talk about almost anything. They're delightful and helpful (when not arguing about who does what chore) and we enjoy one another's company and they still hug me (but not each other). They have their own lives they lead, but we're still just as close as ever.

I used to be scared about mothering teenagers as well. But they don't turn into teens overnight (well, technically I guess it happens on the evening before their 13th birthdays....) You don't have a toddler one day and a teenager the next. They grow day by day, and you know them as they grow, so they're not strangers. I used to be scared of parenting toddlers when I only had an infant, or "grade schoolers" when I had preschoolers, etc. But they only grow day by day so they're never "strangers" although, 12 years ago, I couldn't have imagined my 2.5yo as a high school Freshman.
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