Improving communication between adult children and parents can go a long way in ensuring a health relationship with family. The pandemic may have made regular in-person visits more challenging, or maybe the relationship wasn’t quite where we wanted it to be beforehand.

These communication tips should help in starting the work of repairing these relationships.

Treat Each Other Like Adults – Having decades of experience communicating with someone may sound like a good thing, but it comes with risks. Older parents may revert to talking to their adult children like they are still teenagers. And adult children run the risk of speaking in the same tones they did as a teen.

When either side recognizes old patterns, it may be time to step back and address each other like adults.

Accept and Be Willing to Act on Feedback – With family, it may be easier to take feedback personally. But there are practical matters to be worked around, such as an appropriate time for phone calls, or when it’s ok to bring up a contentious subject. All of this adds up to a healthier back and forth within the relationship.

Respect Each Other’s Boundaries – It’s up to both the parents and children to determine what level of privacy they seek within the relationship. It may not be appropriate for parents to know every detail of their adult children’s career, family, or social lives. While it may be uncomfortable at times, the work of setting boundaries is important.

Visit Each Other in Person – As more of us are vaccinated, it becomes easier to travel and see each other in person again. If the pandemic had you putting off seeing a parent or your adult child, it should be growing easier in the coming months. Phone or video conversations were helpful, but nothing replaces that face-to-face time, especially with loved ones.

Improving Communication Between Adult Children and Parents is Necessary Work

As much as we don’t like to think so, our time is limited. It’s important to start the work of improving communication between adult children and parents now. The biggest improvement that can be made is to empathize with the other person and to simply treat each other with respect.