How to maintain a strong parent-child bonds as children become adults

Published Jun 28, 2024


As children grow up, it's natural for relationships to change.

Children may drift away from their parents as they grow into adults and as they enter into the world, parents start to fade into the background of their lives.

The one of the parenting purposes is to teach our kids how to be independent and how to function in society without us.

When children become adults, they start to carve out their own identities and lives. They want to make their own decisions and follow their own paths. This quest for independence can create physical and emotional distance from their parents.

Big life changes like moving out, starting a job or getting married can also play a role.

These events often mean less time and energy for family interactions.

Experts believe that these transitions can strain schedules and change priorities, making it harder to stay connected.

Both parents and children to keep an open dialogue and to make effort to understand each other’s perspectives.Picture: August de Richelieu/Pexels.

Communication patterns

Sometimes, the way parents and children communicate changes. As children grow older, they might feel less understood by their parents.

They might avoid talking about certain topics to prevent disagreements. This can lead to a lack of deep, meaningful conversations.

According to Aashmeen Munjaa, an ontologist and a mental health and relationship expert, as adults, children desire the freedom to make decisions based on their understanding.

But parents should trust their choices and support them unconditionally.

However, boundaries should be set and respected for their own safety and security, Munjaal told the Times of India.

Show interest in their lives

Parents and children have growing pains but parents should create an environment where you are somewhat involved in your child/children’s daily routine.

Avail yourself and indulge in activities of their interest.

Attitude is everything

When it comes to sibling relationships, don’t assume rivalry is inevitable.

Psychotherapist and family therapist Vikki Stark, who interviewed over 400 women, teens and girls for her book, "My Sister My Self," shares some valuable insights.

"I found over and over that sisters who were close came from families who put a lot of emphasis on the relationship," she explains.

"It was a family culture – you are sisters, you have each other to depend on for life and we expect you to have a close relationship."

Resolve conflicts

Relationships aren’t always smooth.

As parent-child dynamics evolve, misunderstandings can arise. Past conflicts or unresolved issues can create emotional distance. If left unaddressed, these disagreements can fester, leading to long-term estrangement.

Psychologist Dr Joshua Coleman, author of several books on family relationships, emphasises the importance of empathy and respect.

He encourages both parents and children to keep an open dialogue and to make effort to understand each other’s perspectives.

Be respectful

Make your respect for your grown kids a recurring theme of the relationship.

Adult children want one thing from their parents above all else — respect. The more you provide, the greater the odds that your children will want to remain close to you.

Build family traditions

According to a recent article by Bottomline Inc., family traditions play a big role in defining and preserving family bonds.

Traditions can be anything from unique holiday celebrations to simple yearly gatherings, to watching special events on TV or Sunday lunches or brunch.

Even if your kids have their own busy lives and there’s been some squabbling, everyone still comes over to have Sunday lunch at your house because it’s a cherished tradition.

While drifting apart can be a natural part of growing up, it doesn't mean relationships are lost forever.

Understanding why there’s distance and making conscious effort to reconnect can help parents and children maintain strong, lasting bonds.