Five Things Empty Nesters Shouldn\’t Say to Their Children

By Natalie Caine, M.A.
NABBW’s Empty Nest Expert

Five Things Empty Nesters Shouldn\’t Say to Their Children:

1. You never call. Shift that to, I would love to get an email, text, or call from you even it is short. I know you are busy.

2. You always wait until the last minute. Judgment distances us from those we love. They know they procrastinate. Shift to; you know your style of getting things done. Do you think it would be difficult to change that?

3. You go see them and not us anymore. Shift to, it must be hard to juggle all the people you want to be with. I hope we get lunch or dinner together. Let me know when you know your plans. It matters to me that we get time together.

4. You always want me to drop what I am doing and do for you. Shift to; I think you forget that my role in your life has changed, just as your role with me is different. This is a simple statement with a pause for them to take that in, again and again, as a reminder that you are changing into seeing each other more as woman and less as mother. Yes, you will always be their mother and with a new role in their life.

5. You are mean to me. Shift to, I feel like you treat your friends better than you treat me and that hurts. They get the best moods of you. I get the angry, grumpy, attacking moods dumped on me with all your frustrations of life. I would like to have some of your happy, positive side when we are together.

Truth is, there are no magic ways to have a positive impact on those we love and there are ways that keep the door open. Timing matters and whether they are open or closed to changing, which you have nothing to do with. You can only say what you need to say and then let it go. It doesn\’t have to be perfect.

It does help to think before you speak which is easier said than done when the wounds keep getting bumped. Sometimes you need to be loud, angry, demanding. As always, I will be the one to remind you that you need to hold paradoxes, for example, yes, that is true, and this is true as well. Key is the word, “and” which keeps your mind and heart open to newness and compassion.

Communication is a skill. Email me how your communication is going with your children. What is difficult when speaking with them?

Take care,
Natalie

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