Many parents expect the bond they have with their child to stay the same throughout his life; however, the relationship can change dramatically over the years. Building a strong relationship with your adult son can take time and patience as well as some careful planning. You should not expect this relationship to develop overnight, nor should you expect it to be the relationship of your dreams. Keeping your expectations realistic will ensure that everyone involved is happy and satisfied.
Recognize that the building of a relationship with your adult son will be a journey, not a race. Keep your expectations small and develop the relationship at a pace your son feels comfortable with. Rushing into a relationship or trying to force closeness that your son is not ready for will only prolong the process or halt it entirely.
Set up a regular date with your adult son to keep in contact with him. Go for breakfast or brunch on a Sunday after church, have lunch on a Friday or take in dinner and a movie on a Saturday night. The point is to have regular contact with one another to allow the relationship to foster and grow.
Treat your son like an adult and not a child. Give him advice on a subject rather than reprimanding him or blaming him for the situation. Treating your child like an adult will make him feel better and will show that you respect him. Demonstrating respect for your son will help the relationship between the two of you to grow more quickly.
Engage in activities that your son enjoys, even if they aren't your favorite thing to do. Entertaining your son's interests will show him that you respect his choices as an adult and will help him to see you as more of a friend and less of a parent.
Offer advice to your son only if he asks for it. Unsolicited advice will only lead to problems and possibly animosity from your son, who will feel as if you are judging him or treating him like a teenager. Provide sound advice when asked; bite you tongue when you want to step in but your son does not ask for your help.