Who is responsible for the closeness between the parent and the adolescent? It seems like both sides


Sarah Maychor

Parent-adolescent relationships can be a source of inspiration and mutual security, as the verse says, "And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers" (Malachi 3:24).

Like any relationship, both sides must understand each other's emotional needs and try to meet them as much as possible. Relationships can be complex or even strained, but the good news is that relationships are dynamic, changing with time, and there's always room for improvement, closeness, and growth.

Here are some tools that can help maintain good and healthy relationships with our adult children:

  1. The duty to educate our children ends at the age of Bar Mitzvah (13 years old). We do not have the right or obligation to educate them endlessly. What we successfully instilled before their adulthood is what we accomplished. What we haven't succeeded in teaching by then is bold to assume they will change now. Therefore, unnecessary lecturing may be counterproductive.


    My youngest son expressed it, "Mom, you no longer have the obligation to educate me." When I thought about this statement for a moment, he is correct. We do not have the right, permission, or mandate to enter the lives of our adult children when they do not seek it or explicitly say, "Thank you for the help, let me deal with the matter in my own ways." We made our choices in life, contributing to making their own choices.

    It's important to recognize their independence and give them the space to manage their lives, take responsibility for their decisions, believe in themselves, and live healthy and meaningful lives without interference, without interventions, and without imposing our weight upon them. I am referring to both single sons/daughters and married ones. Regarding married ones, their task is to build their relationship without interference. It is not advisable to offer advice unless requested. It's crucial that they can build independent lives and decide on their life path on their own.

    After the marriage of children, parents must understand that the type of relationship is different from before marriage, and children distance themselves to build a healthy relationship. It's natural to worry about the distance, but it's unnecessary to feel threatened and worry as if the relationship is likely to be harmed.

    Regarding single adults, my mother says, "A child remains a child even when he is 60," but the truth is that they are no longer children. We should give in to the natural inclination to intervene and help, and the assistance should be tailored to the will of the adult son/daughter. It's good that they decide for themselves; they are not obliged to choose a parent as a mentor. When they have questions, I am happy that they turn to me, but I release them to consult with the right person for them.

  2. Open and Honest Communication: Communication is a central component in adult relationships. Talk to your children openly and honestly, not only when something happens. Communicate and show interest in things that occupy them in life. It's essential to praise, create a positive atmosphere, and listen to their opinions. We have much to learn from them ourselves.

  3. Support and Understanding: Adult children face life challenges. Parents can be emotional and spiritual support, drawing on their life experience and offering the emotional support they need. Support, understand their relationships, and the difficulties they face. Of course, help when possible and allowed.

  4. Seeing Them in a Positive Light: The most important gift we can give them is the feeling that we trust them and the good they will still see in their lives. Show respect for the path they have chosen, pray for their success, and believe in them.

  5. Quality Time Together: Finding quality time with adult children is not easy but crucial. Even if it's just a few minutes over a cup of coffee, ask, "What's going on with you?" Each one in their own language, as well as engaging in joint activities. Anything you choose.

  6. Respecting Boundaries and Independence: Adult children need to feel that their boundaries and independence are respected. Allow them space to live, make decisions on their own, and feel respected.

Every family is unique, and the right solution for you may be different from others. Try to find the best way to build healthy relationships with your adult children and adapt them to the right path for both sides to benefit.