Parenting young adults, now there is a topic to write about. Is that even a thing? Because you really don’t parent anymore when your kids are in their 20s? Right?
Parenting Young Adults
Has anyone written extensively about being a parent, particularly a mom, to adult children? And I hate that term “adult children” isn’t that an oxymoron? I need better diction – young adults. Yes, that’s it.
So, can anyone tell me if there are manuals or books or multiple essays out there on how to be a mom to young adults, 20-something year olds? Both of my kids are out of the house, living on their own, supporting themselves. My daughter 25, my son 24 just recently.
They work, they pay their bills, accumulate debt, make decisions, cook for themselves, do their own laundry, in relationships, have a boss, deal with coworkers, manage stress, practice hygiene, worry about their health…. you know, stuff we all do on a daily basis. I am no longer in charge of doing or making decisions for them.
It’s a weird feeling. A helpless feeling. Do they ask me for advice? I think it depends. Probably not for most things but maybe with a huge and really big decision or predicament, they might.
And do I say parenting to young adults or being a mom to young adults? Using the word parenting sounds so formal, cold, and distant and using the title Mom sounds too baby-ish. I am also not quite ready to refer to them as grown-ups and the phrase ‘grown kids’ doesn’t sound right either. Maybe I could use “ParMom” to “AdYoungs.”
No, that’s stupid and I got off track.
When I spend time with my AdYoungs these days, it is glorious and I feel appreciative. I also find myself taking pause quite often to observe them in their adulthood, watching for any hint of me or The Gent in their actions and thoughts. And hoping to find more of The Gent than me but that is a whole other blog post.
I usually have one thought on my mind at all times, Did I do enough? My answer is always No of course. I can’t ever let myself off the hook. But then again, they are out there doing it. Our kids, growing up, in their mid-twenties, out there living life, ON THEIR OWN. And seemingly succeeding. Which is good.
But did I push them enough when they were younger? Should I have made them stay in college, not get married, practice tougher love, practice more love, given in, said No more, said Yes more, hugged and kissed more, did I give out the right formulation of love and discipline, did I teach them what they needed to be taught; financial responsibility, how to be assertive, how to care for others, how to be honest, did I teach them about God and Jesus, the list could go on and on.
So, now that they are young adults, is it too late for me to parent them in any form? Or do I simply give out suggestions when asked?
When I was young I remember my parents said to me, or maybe it was from a movie or something, about their job as parents was to raise me to be able to leave the house at 18 and be on my own. My kids left the house about that age and have been doing life on their own pretty much. And they still want to talk to me and be around me. So there’s that.
This makes me wonder about my own parents. They are in their 70s and I wonder if they still consider themselves my parents? And do they still think of me as their child? And I mean in the sense of me being reliant on them, which I haven’t been for decades. But you know what I mean. Reliant, not so much financially but perhaps in asking for advice. I haven’t asked either one of them for advice in decades either.
This may be a topic worth exploring. Does one continue to try and parent their young adult children or once they are up and out of the house is it hands-off? It is terrifying to think about watching from the sidelines and hoping that you prepared them enough when they were younger and knowing deep down inside you probably did not.
Doing a quick Google search I found this and I may give it a listen. Doing Life with Your Adult Children by Jim Burns. It may be helpful. I do see other books about the topic so that is good. I only hope it is material that is relatable and not something invented from a PhD psychology formula where that usually means one size fits all. Please God, no.
I think what I really need is a support group. And not because my kids are bad, they are not. I need it for my own state-of-mind, for affirmation, and fellowship.
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