7 Conversations to Avoid With Young Adult Kids

There are some topics that parents of young adults are better off avoiding unless the young adults bring them up first. Respecting privacy and reserving judgment are two skills needed as kids grow into adulthood.

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Shot of a family sitting down to dinner together
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This is a difficult topic​ since every family is unique. Some families spend lots and lots of time together, while others only gather together for holidays and special occasions. Your expectations of time with your young adults may be very different from theirs, and as hard as it may be, it's important to respect their choices. That doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out to your young adults with an invitation to dinner or a request to visit if they live far away. Your needs are important, too. Just try to avoid being angry at them for living their lives the way they want to.

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"When I Was Your Age..."

Woman lecturing daughter
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The world changes, and as we get older it can be harder and harder to keep up with those changes, some of which may seem impossible to comprehend. Comparing your experience as a 20 something to your young adult's experience is only going to make the gap wider. Instead of being skeptical of the new ways things are done, listen to what your young adults are telling you and try to understand instead of shaking your head in disbelief or scoffing at their ways of living their lives. 

3
Weight Gain

Woman using spin machine in gym
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There may be a day when your young adult visits and you notice he's put on a few – or many – pounds. There could be many reasons for this, including lack of time for exercise and healthy meals, emotional distress, or a job that requires a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. The freshman fifteen is a well-known phenomenon, but maybe there should be the "working world weight gain," too. You may feel concerned and distressed by the extra pounds, but staying quiet will be the best way to deal with your feelings. Your young adult will ask for advice when he wants it, and then you can share your ideas for healthy eating and exercise.

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Glamorous friends riding escalator in shopping mall
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Young adults may spend money in ways their parents don't understand – or approve of. Many millennials are more interested in experiences than things – a weekend concert is a priority, a new mattress is not. Their spending habits are not something parents should comment about, as long as they are self-supporting and not asking for extra cash from you. 

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5

Couple walking with bicycle in park
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Your young adult will bring home a love interest at some point. You will, quite naturally, have a strong reaction to the person on your child's arm, but hold off on sharing any doubts or criticisms. While the new significant other may not be your idea of a good mate, your young adult might feel quite differently - in fact, if she's introducing you to her boyfriend, chances are she has strong feelings already. Give your child's new love interest time – he may feel awkward or uncomfortable when first meeting you, the parents. This could be the start of something serious, and you don't want to get caught saying negative things about a future member of the family. 

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Multi-generation women laughing in kitchen
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If your young adult is a parent, you should enjoy being a grandparent and do your best to hold your tongue when you have doubts about techniques or attitudes she has about raising her child. Parenthood, as you well know, can be confusing, scary and intimidating. Especially in the age of the Internet, new parents are bombarded with information about everything from organic baby food to how much a baby should sleep. Your young adult will ask for your advice – you can count on it. Just don't offer it before then.

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"I Told You So"

Son using cell phone, father using laptop computer
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 No matter how intuitively you knew something – a job, an apartment, a roommate, a marriage – was a bad idea, never, ever say "I told you so" to your young adult child. If he comes to you for support, advice, help or even rescuing, do it without a lecture or a scolding, especially when the bottom first drops out of whatever situation is causing him upheaval in his life. You do not need to remind him of his mistake, even the tiniest bit. All he needs from you is support, help and some wise words – when he's ready.