Thanksgiving is almost here, and if you’re like me, your empty nester heart is overjoyed at the idea of having your chicks back in the nest, even if it’s for a short time. In fact, you may have expectations for the time together that you may not even have consciously realized! Caution!!! Potential Danger Zone Ahead! Parenting adult kids can be tricky. It takes thoughtfulness and intentionality. You can’t let yourself default back into “mom” mode! Today I’m sharing five dos and don’ts to keep in mind when your adult kids come home for a visit.
The collage above is clickable for more information and represents only a TINY portion of what’s in the Empty Nest Blessed Gifts for Teens & Young Adults section of the Gift Guide!
Faux Denim Pajama Pants | How to Cook Everything Basic Cookbook | Portable Cold Brew Coffee Maker | “Mother Was Right About Everything” Coffee Mug | Spikeball Kit | Adulting Stickers | String Lights with Bluetooth Speakers | Tile Sport | “Earwax Candle Kit” Joke Gift Box | Acrylic Name Necklace (13 color choices!) | Customized Photo Socks | Grow-a-Frog Kit | 101 Secrets for Your Twenties book | Suede & Shearling Winter Boots | Happy Thoughts Emoji Necklace | Tool Kit
DO Remember the Generation Gap
Millennials and their younger siblings, the members of Gen Z, may appear choosy and they want everything individualized. They question everything and tend to view systems and institutions as untrustworthy. (Don’t take this personally!) They want to do meaningful work in an independent environment, so their careers may involve a lot of job hopping (which may look bad to you). Be mindful of the fundamental differences between males and females when communicating with your adult children. Typically, when we talk to our sons, we get a factual run-down of what’s happening in their lives. Our daughter tends to lead with her emotions and usually just needs to vent (without needing our “solutions” to her problems). Also, bear in mind that the relationship you have with your single kids and the married ones will be very different. Respect the boundaries that marriage represents and work on your relationship with your child’s spouse.
DON’T Give Unsolicited Advice
When your adult kids come home, it’s easy to slip back into parenting mode without even realizing it! I’ve found that parenting adult children is mostly about learning to hold your tongue until they invite you into their lives and ask for your input. When you do speak, make your words count. Honor and bless them for who they are and for the praise-worthy things you see in their lives. This will involve lots of smiling, nodding, and use of phrases like, “that’s so interesting,” “huh!”, and of course, the old standby, “well okay then, there you go!” If something questionable comes up, say something like, “Tell me about that.” or “Help me understand that.” in order to keep the conversation going.
DO Show Unconditional Love
Remember that children of every age long for unconditional love and approval from their parents. We all tend to speak love to others out of our primary love language —and then we wonder why the message wasn’t received! Instead, consider your adult kid’s love language and speak to him/her in the way that it will be best received.
DON’T Forget Your Goal
If your goal is to have a meaningful adult relationship/friendship with your adult kids, then take the time to consider the other meaningful relationships in your life. What are the characteristics of a good friend? Good friends are trustworthy, loyal, and dependable, encouraging, positive, kind, and thoughtful. They’re good listeners, non-judgemental, and they express empathy. They’re supportive in good times and bad. They respect your time and are fun to be around. Be that person with your kids.
DO Let Them Be the “Experts”
As your kids leave the nest, they’ll learn and grow. Most likely, they’ll become “experts” in a field that’s not familiar to you. When your adult kids come home, you can bless and encourage them by asking intelligent questions about their field, listening to their answers with interest, and asking follow-up questions. Everybody likes to share their knowledge and insight. Give your kids a chance to show off a little. And then encourage them by telling them how impressed you are with them. (You really will be!)
Gift Ideas for Teens & Young Adults
When I put together this category of the Empty Nest Blessed Holiday Gift Guide, I included gifts for teenagers, kids in college, soon to be graduates, those getting their first apartment, those just entering the workforce, and even those a little farther on in life. (Bob: “Off the payroll is the goal!”) Your kids will always be your kids, no matter what their age, so you’ll also find some fun (and silly) gifts that only a mom and dad would give.
Books – Admittedly, most of your adult kids probably read their phone screens instead of books, but there are a few really excellent titles that I felt were worthy of gift giving to our sweet Millennials. (And they’re books that only a parent would give!)
- I think everyone needs a basic cookbook, and How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman is full of over 1000 beautiful photos that illustrate every technique and recipe. Another great option written specifically for college students is The 5-ingredient College Cookbook by Pamela Ellgen.
- 101 Secrets for Your Twenties by Paul Angone is full of hilarious, honest wisdom. Specifically for your boys, 50 Things Every Young Gentleman Should Know and the companion, As a Gentleman Would Say: Responses to Life’s Important (and Sometimes Awkward) Situations are wonderful guides to real life by John Bridges. For your girls, I love 50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know: What to Do, What to Say, and How to Behave by Kay West. It’s an updated take on the ageless idea that every girl should know the appropriate and courteous responses in any situation. (Imagine that!)
Tech – I’ve got a few unique tech gadgets on my gift guide that I think your kids will love.
- Keep their heads warm and their tunes on with this Bluetooth beanie for him (under $20), and one with a cute faux fur pom on top for her. (These even allow you to talk on the phone, which could be handy when Mom calls, just sayin’.
- A wireless charging pad is always a good idea.
- When it comes to phone batteries, there are just times when everyone needs a boost. Two options I really like are this solar powered one and this one with built-in charging and charger cords.
- When it comes to fun tech gifts, I’m all about these 26′ cord of 80 decorative string lights and 4 Bluetooth speakers for under $20! Another fun idea is this wearable Wi-Fi & Bluetooth camera (under $25).
- The Tile Sport means nobody is losing keys, wallets, or phones. They would never buy this for themselves! I guarantee they’ll thank you for it down the line.
- Now that they’re adults, they gotta get up in the mornings for class or work without your help! The innovative Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock vibrates to wake them gently but firmly. (Awwww, just like you used to do!)
- You really should get all of your adult kids a cell phone sanitizer/charger. (I mean, it’s the go-to gift that all the good mothers are giving…but no pressure.)
Fun – No matter what your relationship with your adult kids is like, sharing a laugh is always a good thing, amirite?
- I think this “Earwax Candle Kit” joke gift box is about the funniest thing going. My boys would love it, and it’s under $8!
- Remind them that mom is always right with this coffee mug.
- Help them remember their roots with these Homesick Candles that are formulated with input from locals in individual states. A genius idea!
- This unisex tee will remind them of the good ole’ days…
- Okay, okay, so it’s meant for younger children. All I know is that my 20-something boys would love this Grow-a-Frog kit that comes with an aquarium and tadpole shipped from the manufacturer (when you redeem a coupon code).
- These faux denim PJ pants are hilarious! If he’s late for class, he can just go as is…
- This universal bike phone mount is under $15.
- Spikeball is the fun game sweeping college campuses! (It would also make a great Christmas afternoon activity!) Click here to see how to play.
- This mug has a basketball hoop built right in and it’s big enough for cereal!
- An emergency roadside assistance kit is a gift only mom would give, but hey, it could save a life one day.
- Got a son that’s a new dad? This survival kit will help him get his bearings!
- I’m always trying to get my daughter to drink more water! This insulated water bottle will let her fruit-infuse to her heart’s content.
There’s lots more in the Empty Nest Blessed Gifts for Teens & Young Adults Gift Guide! Check out the full section here.
What’s up for you this weekend? Bob and I are so excited because we’re heading to a fun football game tomorrow and we have very special seats! Be sure to watch my Instagram for BTS pics! On Sunday, our son and his girlfriend are driving to Waco to meet us and do lunch. We’re looking so forward to it!
On Monday of next week, I’m bringing you my monthly SO in the KNOW post, and I’ve got some good scoop to share! Wednesday, we’re getting ready to kick off Cyber Week and I’ll be sharing some BTS tips and tricks!
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