As parents who have raised responsible, loving, intelligent and caring sons or daughters, we hope and wish that they choose a mate that fits who they are and brings them much love, emotional and financial support, and happiness. But what if we feel that they have made a mistake? How do we approach this issue when they are feeling loved by this person and want to make a future with them?
What if you feel compelled to intervene in your child’s love life…Should you or should you not?
Depending upon the closeness of your relationship, you still must walk a fine line.
First of all, if you give your son or daughter an ultimatum, it will only create conflict, anger, and dissonance between you and your adult child. Often times, objecting their relationship or choice may have residual effects. Your son or daughter may want to prove to you that they are in charge and have the power, not you to choose who they can love or not love. When romantic love and sex are intertwined they may feel more of a loyalty to their spouse or significant other than to you.
Never yell or show disrespect by becoming defensive or angry or threatening when you share some of your concerns with your son or daughter. Be very careful with the words you choose when you are having a private meeting with them. You might state, “Tell me why he or she makes you so happy?” “Can you share some situations with me where you feel as though this person genuinely cares about you and is kind and attentive to you?” “Do you feel you have many interests in common?” “Does he or she have good communication skills so that you can share your feelings with them?” “Do you see a future with this person?” “Do you feel your cultural and religious beliefs are in line with theirs?” “Do you feel they have the same career goals and motivation to be successful in life as you do?” These types of questions may help you in your dialogue. Allow your son or daughter to answer them and validate what they have to say.
Have more faith and trust in your son or daughter that they may be with someone they have faith in and trust. Believe in them. If they realize that they did make a mistake, let it come from them. Do not tell them or criticize them or say I told you so. Over time as a parent, once you get to know that person, you may see wonderful traits that you had not seen before. Take the time to invite them for dinner, coffee, or a family outing and talk to them about their interests. Your anxieties and concerns may diminish and you may see them from your son or daughter’s perspective or lenses.
As adult children allow them to make their own decisions and mistakes. Try not to be a helicopter parent with your adult child. Respect your child’s boundaries, wishes, and needs. Do not allow your relationship with them to be ruined or hurt. It’s more important to keep them in your life than it is to lose them.
As a mother of two adult daughters, I have personally learned to be patient, more open minded, and not so enmeshed. This has taken great insight, awareness, and understanding of what their needs are verses my own. I hope this article will help you to consider where you stand as a parent if you may be experiencing this type of situation with your own son or daughter.