How to Engage with a Twenty-Something?
If you have a twenty-something-year-old child, and if you compare his/her life to what it's like in your own 20s, you can probably see how different things are today: all that technology, buzz-words, and individuality could be hard to get your head around sometimes.
And while I'm asking around the Internet at the moment, collecting some perspectives from other twenty-somethings, here is what I would suggest, from my own experience, on how to engage with a twenty-something as a parent:
1. Be Open & Genuine
Believe me, most young people in their 20s now know something you think they are "not supposed to know". So instead of trying to hide it or going in circles around it, set aside some personal time and have an open conversation about it, whether it is about sex, money, or family relationships.
2. Listen & Acknowledge
We all love giving advice, but not all of us know how to listen. Next time when your twenty-something child shares something with you, whether it is an experience, a story, something on social media, or an opinion, even if you think it is completely wrong, silly, or unimportant, try to listen first. Wait for him/her to finish. Acknowledge him/her for sharing, and then express your opinion. If you shut them down at the start, they probably just won't come to you next time.
3. Ask for Feedback/Help
Everyone wants to feel important, especially when you are in your 20s. Instead of trying to be the almighty parent, ask your child what he/she thinks, and ask for help (not just for doing chores). Make them feel that their opinion is valued, especially if it is a family decision.
4. Be Generous in Giving Credits
I was born in a family environment (and partially the culture) where you are supposed to be low-key about your children's achievements. It's like if you paise them slightly more, then they will turn into an arrogant person. I spent my childhood in a lot of bitterness because of that, and then spent a long time when I was older learning how to receive a compliment without feeling that I don't deserve it.
So if you haven't been acknowledging your child when he/she was younger, now is the time. It may feel a bit awkward at the start, and it may not be taken the right way, but the sweetness will gradually grow from it, and it will draw the two of you closer, I promise.
No matter how hard it is to get your head around the technology, give it a go in the name of love. Social media is becoming the predominant way to connect, and it is a bit of a shame to miss out entirely. You don't have to be the "cool mum" or "cool dad", but perhaps send some funny memes every now and then, or pop into their Instagram stories once in a while. You don't have to stalk your child on Facebook, but a Like or an Emoji won't hurt, right? (And please don't leave a paragraph of comments!)
Hope the above tips can help you build a better relationship with your beloved twentysomething. Like in any other relationship, there are always good times and the bad, but as long as we are both learning, growing, and trying to get better at it, love will always get over the pain.
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