Maintaining Relationships with Adult Children: Everyone Needs to Grow Together

Feb 21, 2017

As children grow, each new stage brings new challenges. When a child stops being a child, that can also bring a new set of adventures for both parents and their kids. During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks about the transition from adolescence into adulthood from the perspective of both sides of the equation. 

When you go through a transition, that also subsequently means other family members are going through transitions. It’s not one individual’s life that’s changing, it’s everyone’s life that is changing. - Megan Gilligan

Kate Nesbit, whose mother Elaine, lives in Minnesota, says they became a lot closer as she got older. 

"As I learned to articulate similarities and differences, being able to say 'this is a value we share, and this is something we feel differently about,' things got a lot better," she says. 

Both of them join this hour of Talk of Iowa. Megan Gilligan, who is an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University; Volker Thomas, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist; and Dave Perkins, who is a father of two sons, also join the conversation. 

Gilligan says that communicating about expectations is important, and that not communicating well about them is a big predictor of estrangement. 

"We talk about so-called 'normative transitions,' getting married, having kids," she says. "When these things don't happen, it can put a strain on relationships. It's a pretty good predictor of how strong a relationship is going to be based on how well a child meets a parents' expectations."