What We Can Learn From Our Adult Kids
A study published recently in "Scientific Reports" showed that as women age, they tend to be closer to their adult daughters than they are to their husbands. The husbands came in second, but adult sons were a close third. With Mother's Day fast approaching, those findings got me to thinking about how our parent-child relationships evolve over the years. When the kids are little, we are tasked with being their life guides. Yet as time goes by and our offspring come into their own as grown-ups, a paradigm shift can occur. Our progeny may have experiences as adults that will mold them in ways we never anticipated. If we refrain from being judgmental, we just might stand to learn a thing or two from the way they live their lives.
There's an old adage about teachers that goes "By your students you'll be taught." I suspected that the same phenomenon could be true for parents. When I broached this subject with several other Boomers, they wholeheartedly agreed and we came up with some clear ways we've been enlightened by our grown children.
Don't Be a Slave to Tradition
The first Thanksgiving after my older grandson was born, my daughter and her husband did not prepare a turkey with all the trimmings even though his parents had flown in for the holiday. The baby was barely two months old and as my daughter sagely said, "He's not going to eat the meal anyway." I was supremely impressed by her easy-going attitude, and her ability to keep her priorities straight at a time when the newborn needed to be first on her list. I had always been a slave to tradition even if that meant spending too much, working too hard, and skimping on sleep. My head was full of "shoulds" and "musts." Set the table with the good china and the silver and the crystal. Pull off a menu worthy of a photo spread in a women's magazine. Dress up and dress the children up, too. Now, better late than never, I'm adopting my daughter's healthy attitude. Of course over the years, as that first grandchild and his younger brother have become little boys who sit at the table, my daughter has begun to cleave to tradition a bit more closely. But last Christmas when the kids started squirming during dinner, she let them have snacks rather than urging them to eat the entrée. Good for her. We all had a lovely time as a result.