Have Serious Fun
Transitioning to a new role as a parent isn’t all loss and tears—there is also some serious fun to be had! You can’t determine the outcome of your children’s lives, so shift your focus to creating fun and enjoyable experiences you can share together. “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” wrote wise King Solomon, “but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT). Your attitude toward your adult children will go a long way to determining your relationship with them. Families that laugh and develop happy traditions draw closer to each other over time. One of the principles Cathy and I have relied on is this: “Words don’t always lead to connection, but enjoyable connections lead to words.” What are the activities and experiences your adult children enjoy? Chances are good that engaging in those activities with them will enhance your relationship. In fact, for many adult children, the fun factor is what determines their desire to relate to their parents on a deeper level.
When I was in grad school, I studied traits of healthy families and later wrote a book on the subject (1). One of the top ten traits was “play.” Come to find out, families who play together really do stay together. Play, having fun, laughter, and creating lifelong memories are essential for keeping the relationship strong with your adult kids. Play is a “love currency” that makes a deposit into the life of your children no matter what their age. Having fun together also has the potential to open a closed heart, to reduce stress, and even to help heal broken relationships.
How is the fun factor in your family? One of the great benefits of moving from a parent/child relationship to an adult/adult relationship is that you can begin a deeper friendship with your adult child. One of the strongest elements of friendship is having fun together. If you want to transition well, make initiating fun part of your new job description. And keep in mind that fun doesn’t have to be expensive. It might be sharing enjoyable meals together, playing golf, window shopping, or anything your family enjoys doing together. What are the fun experiences that will draw your relationship closer?