How Do I Communicate Better With My Grown Son?

how to communicate better with your grown adult child

You may find yourself asking, how do I communicate better with my grown son?

Like many parents of young adult men, communication can be challenging. This is expected when you disagree with your son, but most people find it challenging to have daily conversations too.

Parents who communicate well with their sons enjoy a better relationship. They know what to expect from each other. They are also more likely to show support, be considerate, try to understand each other’s views, and respect boundaries.

Though independent, your grown son may still look up to you for many things. You may be the first person he comes to for advice,

To communicate better with your grown son, you must be sincere, trustworthy, supportive, available, non-judgemental, and respectful, listen to them, and meet them where they are. Most importantly, it would be best to start as early as possible to build a relationship with your son that sets the foundation you will need for excellent communication when he gets older.

In this post, we will dig deeper into what you can do to communicate better with your adult son. We will also look at those things you should avoid to maintain the bond that will positively impact the type of communication you seek.

Be Sincere

Children, whether they are young or adults, will freely share information with those parents they trust. Sincerity is necessary when communicating with your grown son. If they sense any duplicity in your behavior, they will not be able to trust you.

For instance, some parents act one way when they are alone with their grown children and another when they have an audience.

Your grown son needs to know that you will always stand by your word and speak the truth when you talk to them.

Be Trustworthy

Can your grown son trust you? If they were to tell you something in confidence, would you be able to respect that confidence? These are some questions you have to answer when asking yourself, “how do I communicate better with my grown son.”

As I mentioned in the last paragraph, your grown son will communicate better with you when they know they can trust you. Sometimes, discussing things they told you with another family member without their consent may result in broken trust.

This does not mean you should hide an illegal secret or hold on to a secret that seriously damages your son. Use your judgment, do what your conscience tells you to, or seek guidance when necessary.

Be Non-Judgemental

The quickest way to destroy a relationship that supports healthy communication is to be judgemental to your adult son.

how do I communicate better with my adult son

The world is quickly changing, and your young adult children may not see things the way you do or do things the way you want them to.

To better understand them, you must be willing to be open-minded and learn a little bit more about the changes in the world. Listen to their views without criticism and try to see eye to eye with them.

Also, loosen up a little if you are up-tight, especially if this will create better communication between you and your grown son. Life is really not that serious.

Be Available

Young adults and teenagers are spontaneous and may want to talk with you at their convenience, not yours. You, on the other hand, may have a hectic schedule like most adults. However, you have to learn to make your grown son your priority.

Pause whatever you are working on, and try to hear them out. If it is not a good time, gauge the importance of the communication and then decide whether it is something you should deal with right away or if you need to schedule a later time to talk.

When talking with your grown son, focus on what they are saying. Give them your attention by putting away your phone, turning off the tv, and finding space to focus on each other.

Make your grown son understand that they have your interest and that whatever they want to tell you is equally important to you.

Sometimes your grown son may want to discuss a topic with you that you are not keen on discussing. Maybe it is something you are opposed to, or it could be a boring topic. You have to learn that if you want to communicate better with your son, whether or not you enjoy the topic, you will still have to give them the right amount of attention.

Be Respectful

Your son may choose not to communicate effectively with you simply because he expects to be disrespected by you. If you are a parent or parent figure who cannot control their emotions, talks down to your grown son, or uses insulting words or derogatory terms to communicate with them, then expect the same back.

Remember you are the first role model for your child, and most behaviors are developed during childhood and adolescence, not after they have grown up.

If parents nurture a disrespectful culture between themselves and their young children, that behavior will most likely continue when they become young adults.

It is never too late to try correcting problems in your relationships. If you have always been disrespectful to your son, choose to change that relationship so you can communicate better with them.

Be Patient

Be patient and control your emotions when communicating with your grown son. This includes when you don’t like what you are hearing.

Some parents lose their cool to the point where the young adult has to walk away to avoid further confrontation. Don’t be that person. If you don’t like what you hear, let them know in a dignified manner.

You also have to be patient if they are slow to respond or if they choose not to respond when you are trying to converse with your young adult son. Sometimes people are not ready to talk or may want to process certain information further.

If your son does not want to talk at a particular time, give them space, and you may be surprised that they will come back to discuss the same topic with you when it suits them. And usually, they are more ready to listen to what you have to say when they come on their own.

Focus on Him

If the topic is not about you, avoid talking about yourself unless it is essential to make a relevant point. Focus on your son and what he is trying to tell you.

Some parents revert every conversation topic to themselves, what they have accomplished, or struggled through. How things were in their own time, and how hard-working or intelligent they were. Don’t make your communication time the time to tell any “when I was younger” stories or stories of your success and accomplishments. Stay focused on your grown son and the topic of his conversation.

When you have a conversation with your son, it’s essential to focus on him.

Determine how he can benefit from the conversation.

As a parent, we tend to believe we have more experience, and it can be tempting to want to pave the path to success for him or to fix all your adult child’s problems. But your son may not be looking for advice. They may need you to listen.

Try taking a moment to step back and ask what he wants. For example, ask, “Would you like my advice on ways to handle a certain topic, or would you rather I just lend an ear so you can talk it through?”

Giving your son opportunities to talk and express his thoughts and feelings sends a message that you respect who he is as an individual and that what he has to say is essential. He will be more open if he doesn’t feel like you are lecturing or judging him.

Be a Good Listener

Many parents are inclined to be distracted, to speak over their grown children, to cut them off while they are talking, and exhibit poor listening skills.

If you are wondering, “how do I communicate better with my grown son” start by becoming a better listener.

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Listening is one of the best traits any parent could have. It shows you genuinely care about your son’s issues while communicating with him. Your son may feel more comfortable opening up, and you will most likely “actually” hear what they say.

There are a few tips you should keep in mind when listening to your grown son. These include maintaining good eye contact, not cutting them off or speaking over them, avoiding assumptions or jumping to conclusions, ignoring their body language, or acting distracted.

Make Good Eye Contact

Most young adults will look for cues that say you are paying attention to them when talking to you. One of the essential cues includes eye contact. Making eye contact with your adult child while you speak often tells them that you are listening to them. No one (I am sure this includes you) wants to talk with someone that is not listening to them.

Do Not Cut Them Off or Speak Over Them

A good listener tries to allow the speaker to talk so that they can hear their point of view. They also will enable the speaker to say all they want to without interruptions. Therefore, a good speaker holds back their speech and offers this up after the other party speaks.

When you cut off someone talking or speaking over them, you may interrupt their train of thought, mishear them, and even annoy them.

Avoid Making Assumptions or Jumping to Conclusions

The question remains, how do I communicate better with my grown son; I promise you if you make assumptions or jump to conclusions while talking, you will not sound better. Making assumptions or jumping to conclusions signify two things in communication. First, it is disrespectful. Secondly, it tells the speaker you have no patience to hear what they are saying.

Listen to your Grown Son’s Body Language when you Communicate

Nonverbal communication is powerful as it allows individuals to communicate without words but with cues.

You should pay attention to their body language to communicate better with your grown son.

Some young adults may avoid speaking their thoughts to their parents for various reasons. Sometimes, it may be that they are avoiding conflict, hiding something, or maybe nervous or anxious. You may also be annoying them, or perhaps they want to stop the conversation.

The list of “maybes” is endless.

The bottom line is that when you read your grown son’s body language, you will have a good idea of what they are not saying to you, which may be more important than what they are saying to you. This will help you check your response and decide how to proceed with the conversation.

Start Conversations When He is in A “Talking Mood”

Your grown son may not always be in the mood to talk, which is OK. It is usually tough to get someone that doesn’t feel like talking to speak with you. But he may get into this mood now and then, and you should see this as an opportunity to start a conversation.

Knowing when to engage in a conversation and avoid doing so is also an excellent way to communicate better with your adult son.

If your son is in a “talking mood,” strike up a conversation on a topic you may have wanted to discuss with them. Don’t forget to listen to what he has to say first.

It is also a great time to practice communicating better with him, using all the tips offered here.

Handle “Stress Talk” Situations Appropriately

When under duress, your communication is unlikely to be effective if your emotion takes precedence over rationality.

If you don’t like what is being said, avoid freaking out. Exercise control, and don’t stress out when your grown son tells you about something upsetting that they did, witnessed, planned to do, or just thought about. You want your young adult to be comfortable sharing anything with you.

The way you handle stress says a lot about who you are. It also conveys a message to your grown child about how they should take stress, as children usually learn from the examples parents set.


How to Avoid Negative Communication With Your Grown Son

Now you know what to do when considering the question, “how do I communicate better with my grown son.” But have you thought about the things you should avoid doing?

Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of how frequently they communicate negatively with their children. As a result, these parents set poor examples, distance their children, and build distrust.

A lack of confidence and poor self-esteem, not to mention most conflicts between parents and their grown children, are usually the fruit of negative communication.

Below is a list of negative communication instances is provided below. Parents should read over this list and identify any of these similar destructive communication behaviors. Parents might start making improvements after recognizing trouble areas. Remember that the list below does not include every conceivable type of poor communication.

Examples of Negative Communication Parents Should Avoid

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Hardly Speaking with your Grown Adult, or Talking Down to Them

Some parents do not speak with both their young or grown children if they can help it.

They give short commands, criticisims, approvals, a nod of the head, scolding, and so on. But they do not get down on the level of their children to have a discussion on an equal basis.

Of course, children of such parents spend most of their childhood wondering, “Why do my parents hate me?

The behavior of ignoring your children, and speaking to them as if you were superior may come from culture. At other times, it could be a show of narcissism.

Further, the parents may just be plain awkward based upon relationships with their own parents. This is because parents who didn’t have a positive relationship with their own parents, may not think it important to have a positive relationship with their own children.

Ignoring your child, and talking down to them, or speaking to them only when you have to, is poor communication. It usually continues on to adulthood, where you grown child may now choose to not speak with you, unless it is absolutely necessary.

Try and form the relationship you want to see between you and your grown child long before they become young adults. This way, communication with them will not be a challenge.

Nagging

If you find it struggling to improve communications with your grown son, but you nag, then you are probably not going to get very far.

Nagging is repeating something that has already been said. Parents can avoid nagging and lecturing by keeping their conversations with their children brief.

Parents should also remember that once they have told their children something, there is no need to repeat it. Instead of nagging, parents should use a consequence other than nagging (for example, time-out) when their children do not do something they have been told to do. Nagging and lecturing cause boys to stop listening or to become defensive or resentful.

Lecturing

In considering “how do i communicate better with my grown son?” You must avoid lecturing them. Lecturing gives more information than is needed without listening to other opinions or ideas. Talking to your children in a way that there is no two-way communication; rather you tell them what to do and expect nothing back from them.

Some parents who lecture at their children may find it disrespectful when they talk back.

The popular adage, “because I said so” comes from parents who lecture.

Learn not to lecture your child. Treat communication as a privilege which both of you share equally. No one is more entitled to communications than the other. Therefore, allow your child to give feedback on what you have said to them.

Your grown son should be able to ask questions, give their own perspective, make suggestions and even oppose your views when you are holding a conversation.

Interrupting

When your grown son is talking, you should allow them to finish what they are saying, before speaking. This is common courtesy. Young adults who feel they can’t get a word in when talking with with their parents may stop communicating with them altogether.

Criticizing

It is easy to be critical of your grown son, without realizing it, especially if you have done this and gotten away with it while they were younger.

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Avoid criticizing your grown child’s thoughts, feelings, or ideas. Young adults often see such criticisms as direct attacks, resulting in lowered self-esteem, or confidence.

Criticisms may also result in your child avoiding you.

Most young adults consider criticism from a parent a form of disrespect, and will therefore gladly return the disrespect as a self-defense mechanism.

Parents should learn to avoid criticizing their adult children, as there are other ways to correct the behavior. If you find yourself being critical of your grown son, focus on what he did rather than on the person.

Gas-Lighting

Many a parent has been accused of gas-lighting, yet a good number of them don’t even understand what this means.

Gas-lighting, according to the Oxford dictionary occurs when a person manipulates the other, to believe that they are doing something wrong or they begin to question their reasoning.

Dwelling on the Past

Parents who say, “how do I communicate better with my grown son?” but do nothing to rest past conflicts between them and their grown son are fighting a futile battle.

Once a problem or conflict is in the past, parents should try not keep bringing it up. Your grown son should be allowed to start over with a clean slate. Parents who constantly bring up their children’s past mistakes are teaching their children to cling on to grudges.

Using Guilt to Control Your Grown Son

Some parents may use guilt to manipulate their adult children. While this may be an effective means for manipulation, it really does This involves making your son feel guilty because of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Parents who use guilt to control their children may do great harm to their relationship with their children.

Using Sarcasm to Communicate

Many parents use sarcasm when they say things they don’t mean and imply the opposite of what they’re saying through their tone of voice. The use of sarcasm hurts children. Sarcasm is never a helpful tool for parents trying to communicate effectively with their children.

A Few Final Words

Effective communication needs a great deal of effort and practice. How you speak with a female differs from how you communicate with a boy. Keep in mind that you will not be flawless. Parents make errors. What matters is that you try to display correctly with your son from when he is tiny.

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Christine Udeani, JD
Christine Udeani, JD

Christine is a dedicated mother of six young adults and a teenager who has made significant contributions to the online world through her writing and entrepreneurship. She attended Northwestern University, Strayer University, Thomas M Cooley School of Law, NWCULAW, and holds degrees in business, Law, and Communications. She shares tips and experiences to help young adults and their parents with this generation’s issues.

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