10: Get to Know Them as Adults
All parents have an aha moment when they realize that their little baby is all grown up. It can be a bittersweet realization -- he's not my sweet little 3-year-old anymore -- or a pretty great one -- he's not that back-talking teenager anymore. In any case, he's different now. He's his own person. You need to treat him with the same respect you'd give to any other adult, and starting from a place of respect will make your relationship stronger and so much more enjoyable. But please make an effort to come to this realization sooner rather than later -- not when he's 35.
9: Call Before You Come Over
Maybe you're one of those lucky people whose kids live in the same town. It's so easy to pop over while you're running errands or drop in with a surprise home-cooked meal, isn't it? While we're sure your children enjoy parental visits, you need to respect their boundaries, so give them the courtesy of a heads-up call before you come over. At the very least, it will give them a few minutes to straighten up.
8: Don't Bug Them About Marriage and Kids
It might seem like your (good-looking, charismatic, perfect) son is taking forever to find his soul mate. What's he waiting for? You had two toddlers by the time you were 26. Your concern is well-intentioned, of course, but you should stifle the urge to ask him about it at every opportunity. The marriage age has been creeping upward for the past century now: It was 20.8 (for women) when you tied the knot in 1970, but now it's 28.2 for men. So relax and don't bother him. There's time.
7: Be Firm About the Terms
Chances are, a time will come when your adult child will ask you for a loan. If you simply can't swing it, be honest about it. If you do decide to shell out, here are some...