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Why won't my adult children tell me more about their lives?

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Many adult children share every detail of their personal lives with their parents including what they ate for breakfast, who they last slept with and what fight they just had with their boyfriend. Some say their children over share details they don't even want to know. Then there are those other young adults, however, who choose to keep intimate details to a minimum and leave their parents yearning for more information about their child's personal lives. We surveyed adults under thirty years old and asked why they choose to conceal personal life details from their parents. This is what they told us:

1. "As adults, we are looking for autonomy":  "We have finally reached adulthood with the ability to decide who to date, what career path to take, so on and so forth.  We want to spread our “adult” wings and make our own decisions."

2. "My parents don’t understand because they haven’t been there":  "Our parents grew up in such a different time and don’t have the same exposure or experiences we have. They don’t know what we are going through."

3. "We don’t want to be judged for our decisions": "We want to make our own decisions even if it means making mistakes.  We don’t want parents judging us for our choices and telling us what we need to do because they "know better"."

4. "They throw it back in my face": "I have shared with them information in the past and even if they listen at the time, they throw it in my face down the road if I “mess up” again."

5. "Parents think they are the only people we talk to": "We share with our parents but we have our close friend network and friends to consult with when we want to share information or ask for advice."

6. "It’s NEVER enough": "I text my mom and tell her one thing and I know I will get ten follow-up questions.  Sometimes it’s just easier to not say anything at all."

For those of you who want your adult children to confide in you more, it is important to make yourself available to them to listen and provide advice when they want it.  It will not happen overnight. We will also find out more about our children if we allow them the space to tell us information in a judge-free environment and if we trust the decisions they make.

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