Talk to Your Kids About Their Relationships. It May Just Help Yours.

February 27, 2017 by

Remember when your child’s first date? You may have been overly excited, or absolutely terrified. Letting your child date as a teenager or young adult isn’t always comfortable for parents; we all remember mistakes from that age…

If your child is in a relationship, it’s easy to cover your ears when they are having problems or want to talk about dating. But open your ears and listen to what your child has to say about their relationship…you might just learn something about yours.

You Probably Had a Big Influence On Who Your Child Is Dating

This isn’t something that a parent with an “awful” son- or daughter-in-law wants to hear. But we can’t deny it: we’ve all read the studies that say that our choice in partners is largely influenced by our parents. They may have similar traits or behaviors that are motivated by similar perspectives.

Your child can benefit from talking to you because you may be able to give them a better look into the motivation behind their partner’s behavior or actions.

In the same way, our children inherit a lot of behaviors from us, and the advice we give them could actually be used in our own relationships, or the advice you give could be the exact solutions you and your spouse found to work in a similar situation.

If your child is comfortable giving feedback about your relationship, be open to listening. Children see and observe their parents’ behavior, good and not-so-good, throughout their entire life. It may be refreshing to hear their perspective on a situation in your relationship, especially if the child has seen you go through similar conflicts or issues before.

Don’t Share Too Much

Conversations about relationships are important, but don’t “overshare.”

Venting about your spouse could overwhelm your child with intimate details. Would you want to hear these details about your parents?

Venting can also put your child in an awkward position, especially if you end up saying negative things about your spouse. If you are talking about a conflict with your spouse, to your child or anyone else, ask yourself:

“How can I explain the situation without saying that my spouse is ‘wrong’ and I’m ‘right?’”

Use These Conversations as a Learning Tool

Embrace the possibility of learning about your relationship through your child if they come to you with a problem. Think critically about how you may have been an influence on the way they see specific relationship conflicts.

Don’t stray away from using advice that you are giving to your child in your own relationship. Make sure, however, that your child actually wants some advice; don’t bombard them to vent or talk about dating if they’re uncomfortable.

Want more information on talking through conflicts or relationship advice? Talk to a Portland relationship counselor today.