We make choices every day. When it comes to parenting young adult children, there is one fundamental decision that shapes all the others: the decision to practice the 'golden rule.'
Do unto others as you would have them to unto you. Hopefully we live this way most of the time. But do we live this way with those closest to us? - our spouse and children. If not, why not? Is it a case of letting our hair down at home? A case of knowing each other too well (familiarity breeds contempt)? Irregardless, if we're not living the golden rule at home, that needs to change - and fast! Treating young adult children the way we would like to be treated can go a long way in building and strengthening our relationships with them.
Now you may have young adults who aren't living "right". Maybe they're using or dealing drugs, fighting drug or alcohol or sex addictions, engaging in petty or more serious crimes. You may be called upon to make tough decisions that don't feel "nice" to them and create additional conflict. When this is the case, the golden rule has to consider the good of all who are being affected by their choices and actions. You may need to involve the authorities or stage an intervention and get them to rehab. You may need to ask them to leave the family home if they're not already living elsewhere. If they want respect they need to show you respect as well. Ultimately the hope is for such children to have a turn-around in their lives, that they will come back and acknowledge their mistakes and move forward in a better place with themselves and with you.
If your children are merely desiring their adult independence and freedom to make their own choices around career, school, living arrangements, relationships, faith, deciding to practice the golden rule is easy. Didn't you want to make those same choices for yourself at their age? Don't you want to now? Do unto your children as you would have them do unto you.
As someone once said, "be nice to your kids because one day they'll choose your nursing home." Living by the golden rule can help ensure it's a good one.
The letter D is brought to you by the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place each April. Join us anytime you like!