Young Adults are just younger adults. How would you want someone to communicate with you?
Communicate in the way that works best for them.
If they rarely read their emails, then don’t send them and get upset when they don’t respond. If you don’t know what the best way to communicate via digital media, ask them. It really sets the communication up for success. I’m sure you’d probably rather do what’s comfortable and convenient for you, but you’re trying to connect with them where they are. Imagine it’s a colleague telling you the best way to communicate with them.
Set-up a Common Journal.
If you’re young adult still lives at home, leave a journal or notebook in a common area that will be seen frequently. This way there can be two-way communication. You write a note and leave it open somewhere where they eat or under their door. Then ask them do the same thing. Sometimes things said in writing gives each participant a chance to think about their reactions a little longer.
Ask open ended questions.
This allows for longer communication. If you ask yes and no questions, they will only answer “yes” or “no”. If you ask open ended questions like “What are some ideas on where we might go on an outing this weekend?”, you will get more than a yes/no answer. It’s not guaranteed, but worth a try.
Schedule Mentor Meetings.
This can be a time when you act like a Mentor would instead of a parent. You can wear something unique to indicate you are the Mentor, not the parent. You can also have them call you by a different name than mom or dad. This will also help them to keep their responses in check. They wouldn’t whine to a stranger who is trying to help them. This creates a little bit of a change in dynamic that may help you communicate better on a weekly basis. It is best if it’s done periodically at a consistent time, just like a staff meeting. You also will want to discuss factual topics such as goals they set. You don’t want to discuss personal topics at this time.
Hold Clarity sessions.
You can each take turns answering the following questions: 1) What is working for you? You each share everything that is working for you in your life, whether it has anything to do with the other person or not. 2) What is not working for you? You each share everything that is not working for you in your life, whether it has anything to do with the other person or not. 3) Are there any lingering thoughts about anything previously discussed? You each share everything that is lingering in your thoughts, whether it has anything to do with the other person or not. After you complete this process, you agree not to bring these topics up again unless you ask permission first. And permission needs to be granted or the trust will be broken.
Learn their love language.
It is very affirming for people to care enough about you to learn what speaks to your heart. With this simple quiz, you can discover what their love language is and then try and focus on that when communicating with them. Here is a link to take the free test here. You can then do a little research to see how to better communicate in that language. If it something foreign to you, it will be like learning a new language. But it is possible.
Most importantly, don’t give up trying to communicate.
Even though some young adults may not seem to care that you are trying to communicate or may even reject the efforts, don’t stop trying. Try again later or in a different way periodically. Hopefully you’ll discover one of these options opens the door to communication.
Please comment if you have success on any of these techniques. If you are really struggling and would like some support, please join other moms in similar situations here.