Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Stacy Averette

When my son was still in diapers he would often reach up and pat my thighs with his soft, chubby little hands and say, “Hold you, Mommy.” He didn’t hesitate to ask for the love and undivided attention he needed. Now that my children are adults, I realize they need to feel loved, seen, and heard more than ever when they’re with me but they probably won’t come right out and say it.

“I know certain things can hurt my relationship with my adult kids. But how do I make sure I’m still meeting their emotional needs when we’re together? I could buy them gifts, give them hugs, or force them to sit uncomfortably on my lap, but there’s a better way to make sure they feel loved by their mom.”

Today I’m sharing Six Simple Habits That Will Bless Your Children and Make You a Better Mom. In this post, I reference “adult children” often but these habits will bless your children (and make you a better mom) no matter their age or yours.

Related: Want a Better Relationship with Your Adult Children: Stop Doing These Six Things”.

1. Two Ears, One Mouth

I used to remind my children that God gave us two ears and one mouth because we need to listen twice as much as we talk. I need this reminder as a mom, too.

Dear friend, being a good listener is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. Everyone wants to feel heard and we especially want to feel heard by those closest to us. Some of you are natural listeners and some of us are learning to be better listeners. You may have to confess as I did, “I haven’t always been a good listener but I’m working on it.”

Stop giving unsolicited advice and just be available to listen to whatever they want to talk about. Being a good listener includes:

    • Active (attentive) listening: Appropriate facial expression, eye contact, and posture
    • Nonjudgmental attitude
    • Silence
    • Responding in a way so the other person feels seen and heard.
    • Expressing gratitude as appropriate.
      • “Thanks for sharing this with me.”
      • “I’m honored that you trust me with this.”

Your child might need to talk through (and sometimes talk in circles) to figure out what they’re thinking. (This is me!) Their thoughts might feel like a jumbled mess in their mind but in the presence of a good listener, they can get clarity, decision-making becomes easier, and stress and anxiety are reduced.

Your child might need to think a while before they’re ready to talk. If and when they decide to speak, you’ll get a front-row seat if you’re willing to listen.

Benefit: The more you listen; the more comfortable they’ll feel sharing certain things with you.

P.S. Maintain confidentiality. Treat everything anyone tells you as confidential no matter how insignificant it may seem to you (unless they tell you something that puts them or another in danger.) Beware of breaking confidence via “a prayer request”. Unless they ask you to request prayer for a situation, don’t.

2. Be curious

Your child is a fun, interesting, and talented person with lots of thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears, and ideas many of which they’ve never shared with anyone. Stop the “twenty-question routine” and be curious. Every day is a new opportunity to get to know them—who they are versus who you think they are or who you want them to be.

Step outside your role as a parent and see them as a friend you’re getting to know.

    • How’s work going? What do you love most about your job? What do you hate?
    • How’s school going? What’s your favorite class? What do you love about that class? What’s the hardest thing about school right now?
    • Are you planning any projects around your house?
    • Got any trips/adventures planned?
    • What artists/musicians are you listening to right now that I might like?

As they respond to your questions just listen. Pay attention without passing judgment or giving advice.

Benefit: You’ll discover that your children are some of the coolest, wisest, most creative people you know.

3. A “Gold Star” Mom

We used to “catch them doing something good” to reinforce good behavior when they were kids.  They need that more than ever as adults.

We never outgrow our need to hear “Great, job!” or earn a “gold star”, especially from our parents.

Are they making mistakes? Of course, they are and no one feels the weight of their mistakes more than they do (even if they’re not talking about it). Look for things to praise and you’ll find them.

    • “I’m amazed by the way you juggle a job and school!”
    • “You’re a good friend to _____________. She’s blessed to have you in her life.”
    • “Man, you know so much about (social media, music, politics, cars, and gerbils:)! How did you learn all that?
    • “I’ve always wanted to know more about ________________. Could you teach me or tell me the best way to learn?”
    • “I’m impressed with the way you handled (unpleasant situation). I still struggle to (name how you struggle specifically) in situations like that.

Most of us will dismiss praise, downplay a compliment, or use self-deprecating humor to detract attention even though we secretly need it. Your children may do the same. Let them. Then gently follow up with a sincere, “No, I mean what I said.”

Benefit: Your adult children will grow more confident and you’ll become a person they look to for encouragement.

P.S.  Avoid giving conditional praise. “You had a great semester but maybe you’ll get all A’s next time.” *ouch*

When Life is Hard
Click photo for more information

4. Make a List, Pray it Twice

We all have our favorite songs and playlists that comfort and inspire us. A prayer list can do the same. Keep a list of specific ways you’re praying for your children by name.

The more we listen and live curious with our adult children the better we’ll know them. You may learn some things you didn’t know (and didn’t want to know) but oh how your prayer life will improve! Rather than criticizing them or complaining about them take your concerns to the One who can heal, restore, and redeem.

Allow the Holy Spirit to work. Praying the scriptures helps us to pray His will for their lives rather than our will for their lives.

    • Father, help them not to be anxious. Remind them to look to you for help. Fill their hearts with gratitude and peace. Philippians 4:5-7
    • Father, help them trust you and not try to figure everything out alone. Help them to wait for your guidance. Proverbs 3:5-6
    • Father, give them a desire for Truth and help them renew their mind with your Word. Romans 12:1-2
    • Father, remind them that you are with them wherever they go and that you will give them your strength when they feel overwhelmed. Isaiah 41:10

Benefit:  Sanctification. You both become more spiritually mature as God works in your life and theirs.

5. Like Confetti

“Throw kindness like confetti”? I LOVE that phrase! Your children need a big dose of kindness, too.

The more your children see you as their #1 cheerleader and encourager the more they’ll feel safe sharing their mistakes and failures. They may vent when life is hard. Resist the urge to one-up their story and offer kindness instead. Kindness is simply a way to acknowledge that life is hard and that we make mistakes. Being kind might sound like:

    • “Oh, man! I know that’s gotta be hard.”
    • “I’m so sorry you have to go through that.”
    • “It hurts me to see you hurting.”
    • “I hate the feeling I get when I (mention a similar mistake).
    • “Do you want to talk about it? I’d be glad to just listen.” (Practice the good listening skills you’re learning.)

Benefit: Your relationship with your adult child will deepen. Kindness is magic!

6. Make the Bright Choice

Friend, you’re a wise, talented, and interesting person. Before you dismiss that statement hear me out.

God created you. He believed that THE world and YOUR world need you. We need you to show up as your best, brightest, most beautiful self!

I know it’s easy to lose your sense of purpose as seasons of life change but choosing to be happy is one of the simplest ways to bless your adult children (and anyone for that matter).

My grandmother used to chuckle and say, “Just throw me in a ditch!”  She was verbalizing what we all feel at times: useless, unproductive, and old. But she was one of the happiest (and funniest) people I’ve ever known despite having a very difficult life. Being around her was pure joy. Many times I asked her how she could be so happy after so many hard times. She’d just shrug her shoulders and say, “What else can you do?”

Well, there’s a lot she could’ve done but somewhere along the way she made a decision to get happy and stay happy no matter what happened. Her happiness was contagious and profoundly affected my life. The source of her happiness was her relationship with The Savior because she spoke of Him often.

We’ll have seasons when it’s hard to feel happy. There’s a season for everything after all. But apart from those times, we can choose to make happiness our default and be a blessing to our children and the world around us.

Dear friend, bless your adult children. Make a decision today to get happy and stay happy. Trust the Lord to help you no matter what you’re going through.

Benefit: Your adult children will have a real-life model of what it looks like to live an abundant life in Christ even when life is hard.

The “Hold you, Mommy,” days are a distant memory but a phone call from a familiar voice that says, “Hey, Mom. Whatcha doin’? makes me glad I practiced these 6 simple habits.

Do you know a mom who wants to bless her children? Please share this post with her.

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