If You Don’t Want Your Adult Children To Hate You, Avoid Doing These 15 Things

If You Don’t Want Your Adult Children To Hate You, Avoid Doing These 15 Things

Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and the challenges don’t magically disappear when your kids become adults.

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In fact, navigating the parent-adult child relationship can be a bit of a minefield. If you’re looking to avoid unnecessary drama and maintain a healthy, loving bond with your grown-up children, there are a few behaviors you might want to steer clear of. Remember, it’s never too late to make positive changes!

1. You treat them like they’re still children.

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One of the most common mistakes parents make is forgetting that their children have grown up, per The Guardian. They may still see them as their little ones, but it’s important to recognize that they’re now independent adults with their own lives, opinions, and decision-making abilities. Talking down to them, making decisions for them, or constantly giving unsolicited advice can be incredibly frustrating and damaging to your relationship.

2. You constantly criticize their choices.

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We all want the best for our children, but it’s important to remember that they have the right to make their own choices, even if we disagree with them. Constant criticism of their career path, partner, lifestyle, or parenting style can create resentment and distance. Offer support and guidance when asked, but avoid judgmental comments or trying to control their lives.

3. You compare them to their siblings or other people.

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Every child is unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses. Comparing them to their siblings or other people, whether it’s about their achievements, appearance, or personality, can be extremely hurtful and damaging to their self-esteem. Celebrate their individuality and focus on their unique qualities rather than measuring them against other people.

4. You overstep boundaries and invade their privacy.

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As your children become adults, it’s important to respect their privacy and personal space. Snooping through their belongings, reading their emails or texts without permission, or constantly questioning their whereabouts can be a major breach of trust. Give them the space they need to live their own lives and trust that they’ll come to you if they need help or advice.

5. You hold on to past mistakes and grudges.

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We all make mistakes, and it’s important to learn from them and move on. Holding on to past mistakes or grudges, whether it’s from your child’s teenage years or more recent events, can create a toxic environment and prevent your relationship from growing. Forgive them for their mistakes, focus on the present, and work towards building a stronger bond.

6. You guilt-trip them or make them feel obligated.

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Many parents resort to guilt-tripping or emotional manipulation to get their way, but this is a destructive tactic that can backfire. Making your children feel obligated to visit, help out, or follow your advice can lead to resentment and a strained relationship. Communicate your needs and expectations clearly, but avoid making them feel guilty for prioritizing their own lives.

7. You expect them to take care of you financially or emotionally.

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While it’s natural for parents and children to support each other, it’s important to establish healthy boundaries. Expecting your adult children to be your primary source of financial or emotional support can create an unhealthy dependency and burden them with unrealistic expectations. Plan for your own financial future and seek emotional support from friends, partners, or professionals if needed.

8. You refuse to acknowledge your own mistakes or apologize.

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No parent is perfect, and we all make mistakes along the way. Refusing to acknowledge your own mistakes or apologize for hurtful actions can create resentment and prevent your relationship from healing. Take responsibility for your actions, apologize sincerely, and strive to do better in the future. Your children will appreciate your honesty and willingness to learn and grow.

9. You offer unsolicited advice or solutions.

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It’s tempting to jump in and offer solutions when your adult children face challenges, but unsolicited advice can often be unwelcome and even insulting. It implies that you don’t trust their ability to figure things out on their own. Instead, listen actively, offer support, and only offer advice when specifically asked. Remember, they’re capable adults who need to learn from their own experiences.

10. You try to live vicariously through them.

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Some parents try to relive their own unfulfilled dreams or aspirations through their children. Pushing them towards a particular career path, hobby, or lifestyle because it’s what you always wanted can be suffocating and lead to resentment. Encourage them to pursue their own passions and interests, even if they differ from your own.

11. You make them feel guilty for not spending enough time with you.

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Adult children have busy lives with work, relationships, and other commitments. While it’s important to maintain a close bond, guilt-tripping them for not spending enough time with you can create unnecessary tension. Instead, be understanding and flexible, and cherish the time you do have together. Quality over quantity is key!

12. You favor one child over the others.

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Favoritism can be incredibly hurtful and damaging to sibling relationships. Even if you have a closer bond with one child, it’s important to treat all your children fairly and avoid showing obvious preference. Celebrate their individual achievements, spend quality time with each of them, and avoid making comparisons that could breed resentment.

13. You gossip about them to other family members or friends.

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Talking negatively about your adult children behind their backs is a major breach of trust. Whether it’s venting about their choices or sharing personal details without their consent, gossip can create unnecessary drama and damage your relationship. If you have concerns or disagreements, address them directly with your child in a respectful and constructive manner.

14. You refuse to let go of the past and embrace their current lives.

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As your children grow and change, it’s important to adapt your relationship accordingly, WHYY advises. Holding on to outdated expectations or clinging to the way things used to be can create friction and prevent you from truly connecting with them in the present. Embrace their evolving identities, celebrate their milestones, and be open to learning and growing alongside them.

15. You forget to tell them you love and appreciate them.

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Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we forget to express our love and appreciation for our children. A simple “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” can go a long way in strengthening your bond and reminding them that they’re valued and cherished. Make an effort to express your affection regularly, and don’t underestimate the power of a heartfelt compliment or a warm embrace.

Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.