8. Learn their boundaries and respect them.
Slide 8 of 8
As parents of millennials, we came from the generation where it was considered valuable to air your feelings and be transparent. But perhaps we talked our children to death and now they would prefer to go back to an era where certain topics weren’t appropriate to discuss anywhere or with anyone. Asking too many questions to get to know someone of that age may seem imposing, rude, or even interrogational, rather than friendly.
Remember, millennials are growing up in a world in which there is, unfortunately, less social interaction (and more texting and online chat rather than talking). That means some young people aren’t comfortable with our level of transparency or our attempts to “get to know them.”
Don’t, in a motherly way, ask a young man whom you don’t know if he has a girlfriend. He will be at a loss of how to respond. And don’t make the mistake I made by reaching out and touching the arm of a young woman as I complimented her on what she was wearing. My 26-year-old daughter was horrified and asked: “Mom, why would you ever touch a stranger?” I thought for a moment that she got that one all wrong. Then I remembered the world she has grown up in. Touch used to mean a kind gesture. Now touch can mean, to younger people, personal intrusion or unwanted attention.
It saddens me that we live in a world in which it is now risky to touch someone as a gesture of kindness. But a smile still goes a long way. Use it often and unsparingly. It can break down barriers that nothing else can, and it can keep your child from feeling needlessly embarrassed.
Cindi McMenamin is a pastor’s wife, mom, Bible teacher, and national speaker who has hopefully not embarrassed her adult child as much as she fears she has. She is the author of several books including the best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 125,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her speaking ministry, or books and resources to help you grow in your relationship with God, your marriage or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
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