Parenting is a hard job, and when your children grow, it’s often hard to find your place in their life. You’ve become accustomed to guiding them daily, but now you must step back and allow them to make their own mistakes. Each interaction with your child is a chance to speak life into them.
Sadly, many people find that they get frustrated and angry when their child does foolish things, as they’re finding their way in adulthood. However, you must understand the right and wrong things to say to your kids. Even though they’re grown, they still need your encouragement and strength.
Things You Should Never Say to Adult Kids
The world is eager to tear your kids down and put negativity into them, but it’s your job to pick them up and support them. Here’s a list of ten things you should never say to your adult children.
1. “You’re Just Like Your Mother/Father”
Today’s families come from broken homes. You’re lucky if your family has been untouched by divorce. It’s challenging not to let the animosity between you and an ex get in the way of your relationship with your child.
However, speaking about their other parent in derogatory terms is never wise. You’re putting this child in a position to choose between the two of you, and it’s unfair at any age.
2. “What’s Going on With You – You Look Awful?”
As a parent, it’s only normal that you’re concerned when things don’t look just right with your kid. Regardless of their age, you’ll always worry about your baby. However, there’s a right and a wrong way to express such concern.
Using derogatory comments and telling them they look awful isn’t constructive criticism. Statements like these are downright hurtful. Your child will face many storms in their life and experience growing pains as they learn, and they need you to be there as a cheering section, not a judgmental person.
In Proverbs 18:21, the Bible reminds you that you hold the power of life and death in your tongue. The very things you say to your child in their time of need can help or hinder them, so you must choose your words wisely.
3. “I’m Too Busy”
Being busy has become a part of today’s world. Most people work 8–10-hour days and commute a reasonable distance, too. There are financial obligations and household needs, and you must try to squeeze some self-time into the mix.
However, there’s nothing more important than your child when they come to you wanting help. Sometimes, being a parent means putting down what you’re doing and listening to their concerns. Most parents assume their kid is coming to them with things that aren’t as important as what you have going on.
Studies show that there’s a death every 11 minutes to suicide in this country. How many of those people went to someone for help, and their friends or family members were too busy to talk to them? Always listen to your kids, regardless of how busy you are. You never know when it will be the last time you get to see or talk to them, as you’re not promised tomorrow.
4. “You Were an Accident”
Not every pregnancy is planned, and some couples have surprise babies. Regardless of how your child came into the world, they’re a blessing from above. Saying things like you were an accident makes them think they weren’t wanted.
Whether you say these words in anger or just in regular conversation doesn’t matter. Telling your child that you didn’t plan for them, and they were a mistake can damage their psyche. Proverbs 15:4 reminds you that your tongue can be a tree of life, and it can also be strong enough to break a spirit. You don’t want to break your children, so make sure you speak positive things to them.
5. “I Hate You”
It’s sad that such a statement as “I hate you” even makes it on the list. However, it’s easy to lose control of yourself when you’re frustrated and angry. Many of the things that come out of your mouth you can’t take back.
Apologizing for such a statement will do very little, as the damage is already done. In Romans 8:6, scripture reminds you that having your mind set on fleshly things can cause great peril. However, when you place your sights on things above, you bring peace and life.
Stop and think long and hard before making such life-altering statements, as speaking out of frustration in your flesh can do massive damage.
6. Any Phrases With “You Never” or “You Can’t” In It
Your adult children come to you for encouragement and strength, and they don’t need you to tear them down. They can find plenty of naysayers in the world, but they need you to speak life to them.
Philippians 4:13 reminds you that you can do anything you want when you use Christ as your strength. Imparting wisdom like this into your kids will help them overcome challenges and not tear them down further.
7. “You’re too Fat/Skinny”
Weight issues are serious business. If you’ve noticed a drastic change in your child’s weight, it certainly cause for alarm. However, sometimes parents must go to God with their issues rather than their children.
What if your child is struggling with an eating disorder? Saying something about their weight can only cause more issues, as you’re adding insult to injury. Ecclesiastes 10:12 tells you that wise words will bring you favor, but the lips of the foolish man will consume him.
It’s always best to let your child come to you first when there’s a health issue. It’s challenging to step aside and let them have some privacy, but it’s something that you must learn as they grow and mature into adulthood.
8. “Don’t Tell Anyone Else….But”
Never ask your children of any age to keep secrets for you, and It’s not wise to bring your kids into gossip about others. Did you know the Bible mentions gossip on many occasions? In Proverbs 16:28, the scripture reminds you that the man who spreads gossip is dishonest, and they also cause close friends to separate.
No good will come of asking your child to keep secrets or when you gossip with them. You’re showing them behavior that is not Christlike, and they need to see a better witness from their parents.
9. “When Are You Going to Get Married/Have Kids?”
One of the most popular questions to ask an adult child is about their love life. If they’ve found the person they want to spend eternity with, then you might be eager to find out when you’ll have grandchildren. There are many issues with asking such questions.
First, you must realize that some people don’t want to marry, or they will choose to marry at a later date. Additionally, some people don’t want children. Another thing that you must consider is that there may be fertility problems they’re not discussing with you.
Marriage and starting a family are very private matters, and you must be careful when asking such personal questions to your loved ones. You can easily offend your kid or their spouse, and you don’t want to cause any strife between you when you overstep their boundaries.
10. “I Told You So”
Saying “I told you so” to your kid puts you in a position of being right, and they’re wrong. Is this any way to have a flourishing relationship with someone grown and out of your home? Your child doesn’t need you to tell them that they failed, as they are well aware of their mistakes.
As a parent, you must try to help them see how they could handle the situation differently. What could they have done that would have changed the outcome? A profound scripture in Proverbs 17:28 tells you that holding your tongue is wise. Sometimes, you just need to sit back and say nothing.
A Prayer to Enhance Adult-Child Relationships
Heavenly Father, I am so thankful for the beautiful children that you gave me. I struggle to find my place in their life now that they’re grown. Sometimes I don’t have the right words to say, and I fight to hold my tongue.
I want to instruct them in love, but some things that come from my mouth are not the words you would have me say. Jesus, please help me to be a better parent and know what to say and when to hold my peace. Even though my kids are grown, I still need your guidance and direction to help them. Amen