Finding Our Filters

One of my sons told me recently I have no filters. I had to pause for a moment because even though I knew I was by no means an insensitive person in the habit of blurting out whatever popped into my head without first considering its impact on landing, I could understand where he was coming from and why he was feeling this way. As parents we mean well for our kids and our words and actions are usually of the best intentions, but unfortunately sometimes our delivery leaves a lot to be desired. We want so desperately to see our kids do well and succeed in life, we often bombard them with “feedback and suggestions” and when all else fails, we resort to coaxing and cajoling and unfortunately, this will inevitably be perceived as us being critical and controlling. Our words matter but our timing and our delivery matter even more.

This little criticism stung a little, but yeah, sometimes “the truth hurts.” Hurting is good when it prompts change. I have always meant well in the advice I offer to my kids, and for the most part they usually go over well. But times change, people change, and it appears the way I speak with my now adult sons, have to change. I still need to be open and honest, but I might need to apply some filters. So, I did some soul searching, and came up with a few things as parents we could do to improve the communication with our adult children.

Older does not mean smarter or better: I was assuming the way we approach the world had not changed. Some hypocrisy on my part I would admit, the woman who is always talking and writing blogs about how much the world has changed. We have to concede that some of the things that worked in our youths might have little relevance today. The “old” way of doing things is not necessarily better or smarter.

Learn how to trust: Specifically, we need to trust that our children know what’s best for them and that they understand what the keys for success in the world are today. Sometimes all we can do is lay the foundations, show them the way and let them follow their own paths. Right or wrong it’s a lesson they need to learn on their own.

Offer suggestions, not commands:  Say, “you could” instead of “you should.”

Have a discussion not a lecture:  Sometimes it’s best to first listen, really listen. Don’t just pretend to listen while we wait for our turn to speak. Don’t dismiss what we have heard, offer honest sensitive feedback, have a dialogue, and don’t forget those filters sweetened with a little empathy.

Don’t dismiss or belittle what is important to them:  Children these days have interests that are way different from when we were kids. Makes sense though, the world has changed, right? We may see them as just hobbies, they may seem them as their future. Who are we to judge?

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20 thoughts on “Finding Our Filters

  1. As a parent, there is a moment in our lives when our children change from being a child to an adult. This moment sneaks up on us. Your words are very good advice and help for a parent when their child is now an adult. It is a change for a parent to begin to treat their child as the adult they are. I have been through this phase, and it was tough. My oldest is 41 years, my youngest 30 years. The trust in a child, laying the foundation so they can make their own path and life. Like us, they will have to learn their own lessons. Well written post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great tips! I’ve learned that sometimes I need to sleep on my thoughts before I verbalize them. ‘Slow to speak and quick to listen’…#lifegoal😁😁! These days I ask more (thought-provoking) questions. Still trying to remember I’m a woman and they are men…we don’t always process things the same way…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true! Let me tell you, lately I’m literally biting my tongue and just walking away to stop myself from saying anything. I’m fighting with the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other 🤣.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this because it shows the love that comes with those tough conversations or harsh truths. It’s a beautiful fellowship, especially between mothers & their children. I treasure these harsh truths w/ my babies eventhough they’re adults now. Lovely share my dear!

    Liked by 1 person

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