5 Lessons I’m Learning as I Parent My Adult Children

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5 Lessons I’m Learning as I Parent My Adult Children - Being a parent of adults is oh-so-much more complex. One thing is for sure: I never stop learning. So here are 5 concepts I’m learning as I parent my grown-up kiddos. You may be able to relate to some of these, too, or you might want to get prepared to.

As a tired young mom, I used to daydream about “someday”…

Someday…

  • The kids will give me some alone time (and maybe even not in the bathroom!)…
  • They won’t chatter on and on about, well, stuff…before I’ve had my coffee…
  • They won’t get up at the crack of dawn…sometimes way before “oh-dark-thirty”…
  • They won’t keep me up all hours of the night to nurse, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water…
  • I won’t have to change another stinky diaper, or even more than the diaper…
  • I’ll be able to engage in adult conversation again…
  • “Candyland” will sit on the shelf. Or, better yet, they’ll want to “bless” someone else with it!

As a vibrant older mom, however, these days I look back on those days and miss the simplicity of them. Yes, I’ll give you that they may have been busy with running around and keeping up with littles. But the concepts I dealt with on a day-to-day basis seem so manageable and sweet in comparison.

These days, I’m “parenting” three adult children. I use quotes, because, although I know we neither outgrow our need for our parents nor the title with which we are blessed, being a parent of adults is oh-so-much more complex.

These days, I’m “parenting” three adult children. I use quotes, because, although I know we neither outgrow our need for our parents nor the title with which we are blessed,… Click To Tweet

One thing is for sure: I never stop learning. So here are 5 concepts I’m learning as I parent my grown-up kiddos. You may be able to relate to some of these, too, or you might want to get prepared to…

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5 Lessons I’m Learning as I Parent My Adult Children

1. I’m learning just how hard it is to stay involved in their lives.

Having the kids at home makes your life busy, sure, but once they leave the nest, they continue to build a busy life for themselves. Of course, you as a parent want to see that happen. You want them to use their gifts and skills and talents. But that may often mean that, well, they’re busy! And because I still had young ones at home when my older ones launched into the world, I wasn’t able to dodge and weave and be flexible enough to stay involved on my end. Yeah, I didn’t think this one through.

2. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to let go.

And I have to say I wasn’t prepared for it, either. With them all busy and gone, I found myself wondering if this was “normal”…if somehow this distance was a result of the myriad of mistakes I’d made over the years…if somehow they didn’t want to be a part of my life anymore. Oh, momma, Satan can have a field day in your heart and mind, and he will if you let him! I still have to pray about letting go, and my oldest is in his 30’s!

3. I discovered that my parenting approach comes from a place of my own hurts as a child.

My family of origin wasn’t exactly talkative. Wait, let me correct that: we talked plenty at each other, but not the real, honest stuff that builds close relationships. Additionally, my dad and step-mom weren’t overly affectionate, and that was a real unmet need in my life as a child, too. So, of course, as a young parent, I was a hugely affectionate mom. But as we know, when the kids get older, it’s important to tone the affection down a notch and up the discussion skills. Yeah, I’m still working on this one, too.

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4. I’m still learning how to be interested without being nosy, helpful without being smothering, sharing without coming across as telling them what to do.

Ya know, sometimes I get pushback on this one from one of my kids, as if I’m still “being the mom”, but related to the lesson above, I realize that I kinda act as an advice-giver to many of my friends. They, however, have none of the “parental baggage” that accompany my own kiddos, so I guess they’re able to shrug it off more easily. This one, I have to admit, may be a lesson I’ll have to learn over and over and over again.

5. I didn’t realize how much I need their friendship.

This hits me every. time. we’re. together. As our kids have grown and left the nest, they also headed out far and wide. One of them spent much of her college years traveling out of the country. All of them live at least 3 hours from our home these days. So I get it: it is hard to maintain a friendship long distance, and I realize that because “the busy years” of homeschooling are over, I need to up my commitment to these relationships, too. Despite the years of shared history we have together – I mean, homeschooling through high school gives you puh-lenty of time together – we haven’t yet gotten there, to friendship. And every time we’re together it hits me: of all the friends I have, they are the ones I miss the most.

So I’ve pulled out five lessons, although as I (and any parent) would have to admit, there are a ton more. Parenting adult children is not for the faint of heart. Of the two kiddos left in the nest, #4 is headed off to college in the fall, and “the baby” is a rising high school freshman. So, unbelievably in my own mind, all my kids will soon be adults.

I have no idea where the time went.

There is one lesson, however, that I’ve got down pat, and that is how vital it is to NEVER stop praying for them! Yes, I have to let go, but I never need to get off my knees. I hope you let that same lesson sink deep into your heart, momma, ‘cause at the end of the day, with all the mistakes you’ll make, and all the “issues” that come up, your prayers are something they’ll never outgrow and you’ll always be called to lift up.

I’m sure as the years go by I’ll have other lessons to learn. At least I hope so, ‘cause the parenting gig “ain’t over till it’s over.”

I’d love to hear some of the lessons you’re learning, too, and hope you’ll share some in the comments.

Parenting Adult Children Series

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