What does every parent want for their children?
Ultimately, we all want our children to become fully capable individuals that make wise decisions on their own. Everything we do as a parent should lead to this final result.
For most parents, our children are our world. We have a lot invested in them…money, time, memories, and most of all our emotions. Unfortunately, these emotions, paired with our expectations, can actually affect our relationship with our children, especially as they become adults. Of course we want the best for our children regardless of their age, however, we have to acknowledge that once they become adults only they are in charge of their lives and we as parents must respect that.
When our children are born, they need us for everything. We’re free to give advice and direction to our underage children whenever we choose. However, after a child reaches eighteen years of age, the only rights we have in regard to input in that child’s life are the rights that the child gives us.
What if they live in your house? Well, certainly there have to be rules. Chaos should never be tolerated. In respect to your property, you always have the final say. My son just turned nineteen. He lives at home, but there is an understanding. I do not intrude in his life unless he asks my opinion. I do not tell him whom he should date or not date, whom he should have as friends, or what career path he should take. I do, however, have the right to determine who is allowed at home. He can’t just take things as he wishes, nor leave things lying around. The point here is that parents of adult children need to learn that the rules have changed. A continuance of unsolicited intrusion will cause a major disruption of the relationship. Recognize that your child is not a child anymore. They should be free to succeed or fail on their own.
Arriving at this realization is bittersweet because you want to remain “relevant” in your children’s lives, you want to help them make better choices than you did. I suspect that desire will never go away. They will always be your babies. There may even be times when they’ll need a warm hug from Mom or Dad but ultimately, we must let them live their own lives… Nevertheless the fact that you’ve become irrelevant – or more precisely, no longer needed means that you’ve succeeded in your role as a parent.
So now what??
Time to rediscover who we are and how we want to live OUR own lives. That means that as an adult you in turn are free to make your own choices and your adult children must respect said choices. It’s all a bit daunting but exciting all at once. Oh, the possibilities!
Time to take care of me….