By Sara L. Adams
Development Director, Vibrant Health—Wyandotte Neighborhood Clinics, KCKS
Sara (middle) enjoying time with daughter, Isabel and Sam, her son.
How do you help your adult children have positive experiences socially, mentally or educationally?
I practice being a good listener when my adult child shares experiences with me. For me that means not confusing a pause in my child’s talk with meaning she is done talking. I’ve learned that her pauses are the time-outs she takes to decide how she wants to share her thoughts/feelings. She is not done and does not want me to interrupt her. By not interrupting, I demonstrate that my focus is on her and what she is experiencing and sharing.
I also help my adult children by role modeling resilience and hope. I share information about challenges I encounter and how they affect me socially, professionally, mentally and spiritually and how I find ways to bounce back from the negative and to be constructive and hopeful. I discipline myself to not tell my adult children how to “fix” their problems or to try to rescue them. Instead, I build their confidence that they have the skills to find ways to move forward from adverse situations…and that there are resources available if they need help. And we talk about those resources, such as mental health counseling, career counseling, and so forth. If asked, I help them research, filter and perform due diligence on resources to best respond to immediate and longer-term needs.
What types of activities do you feel are important to share as a family?
My adult children live overseas or on either US coast. We’ve had to become resourceful in finding ways to stay connected. We don’t let a week go by without texting, calling or having virtual visits. We make sure to keep each other updated on our lives, big and little events, challenges and achievements…as well as just to share there is no new “news”. We intentionally plan in-person visits and family trips…even when we know they may not occur until months or years in the future. This gives us something to look forward to that become memories to be passed down generation after generation.