Working my way through my Top 10 List for parenting young adults ...
#9 is Be Honest, meaning parents of young adults can be really helpful to our kids by being appropriately honest with them about our own struggles, confusion, bad choices and mistakes as we navigated the turbulent waters of young adulthood ourselves.
There is something powerful about knowing you are not the only human being who has ever struggled. And somehow this power is multiplied when the person who struggled in a way similar to you is your very own flesh and blood parent!
Listen to how author and social critic, James Baldwin, puts it:
"You think your pain and heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or whoever had been alive. Only if we face those wounds in ourselves can we understand them in other people."
Obviously, Baldwin is talking about writing about his own struggles in order to connect with his readers.
But the principle applies, nonetheless.
Parents, as your kids become adults and face inevitable dark days, failures, break-ups, rejection and confusion, listen to them first, and when it seems wise, pull out an old story about a time you faced a similar speed bump, and speak some words of hope and courage into your child's life.
They won't feel so alone.
And neither will you.