I am in a season of life right now where I can’t seem to keep up with the leaps and bounds are growing physically, and mentally. I keep thinking about possible ways to allow them to grow and mature while keeping them tied to my hip. I keep thinking about how I wish I could change the background, the settings and characters in this world I’m about to release them into. Yeah right ! On a different note, I feel very privileged to have the relationship I do with my Mom. I can honestly say I have witnessed her mistakes, and also her apologies. I have firsthandedly witnessed her growth and today, I still observe her grappling with the fear of my siblings and my well-being and safety as adults. She is and will alwaysb e a true MAMA bear. So I asked her to share some nuggets of wisdom on parenting adult kids, since this is the season of life that she is in now. Hope you enjoy the read!
What were your fears about raising adult children?
What did you and your husband do to conquer this fears?
To raise – within the context of this article it means to: bring to maturity, to grow or to cultivate or to develop
To parent – to bring forth and raise a child; to cultivate, nurture, to care for…
As parents my husband and I have always been very intentional about, how we would raise our children, the values we would instil, how we would provide for and care for them. We wanted to raise, well-adjusted independent individuals. We tried our best to raise each of them as individuals while delivering and maintaining the same principles even though the disciplining might have differed.
I remember a pivotal moment in our parent – child relationship when we had the realisation that we were now parents of adult children. That realisation was overwhelming and intimidating for me particularly. I have always imagined and anticipating being a part of every stage of our children’s lives, but this was now a reality that I had to figure out. I have learned from experience that as a child you will always need your parents at some level no matter how old you are, and on the flip side as a parent you never stop parenting; you just change the way that you parent.
My husband and I have three biological children, ranging now from ages 31 years to 26 years and we are still very much involved in our children’s lives. Involved, meaning there is an understanding that mom and dad are available for counsel, advice, assistance and support in whichever form it takes.
As adolescents we realised that we were nurturing three very distinct personalities and though it was challenging at times, I believe we’ve fared very well because we were careful to allow each of their individual characteristics to develop independently.
We were also careful to always parent in unison, there was never the deception that one parent’s word or discipline was all that mattered, instead we parented as a unit. Of course, one of us was more of a stronger disciplinarian and the other was more of a softer, ‘let’s talk this through approach’ type but in the end, we came together in supporting and disciplining.
We instilled the family values and laid a foundation as a unit and our children understood that. Particularly, building a home based on Christian values we did what we could to establish the values and create a solid foundation that would take our children into their adult years. Proverbs 22: 6 carries much credence in the truth of “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Am I saying that our children always made decisions as adults that we agreed with? No, but they always understood the principle that there are consequences for every action good or bad. They understood that trust and integrity are major elements of the foundation, we as parents forged for their growth and development into adulthood.
I believe because of the intentionality of our efforts parenting adult children has not been as wary as we thought, however by far, not a walk in the park. The challenges came with hopeful anticipation of seeing how they navigate their lives independently and wholesomely. As adults their personalities are now fully developed, they have a sense of who they are, what they want out of life and hopefully, how they are going to achieve that. They are thinking independently and making life changing decisions.
We are proud parents of three adult children. I am a mother who waits for my children to come to me but when I feel a considerable amount of time has passed and still no invitation to dip into a particular situation, in my very subtle motherly fashion I know how to open that door to engage in adult rapport with each. It doesn’t always go smoothly but there is that level of respect and admiration for the courage to undertake such engagement. As parents we are to be careful not to be manipulative in dealing with our adult children or we risk creating an irreparable divide in the relationship to compromised trust and respect for them as an adult. We have to be able to differentiate between adolescent and adult methodical discipline in our approach and counsel.
- Telling them what to do vs. offering suggestions
- Providing solutions vs. offer recommendations
- Demanding vs. asking (if you want or need something)
- Listening vs. talking (sometimes they just want you to listen, hear them out when they say, “I want to bounce and idea off of you”)
- A closed door on the independent factor vs. the open-door policy (“we’re here if and when you need us”)
This is what I have learned over the years of parenting my children as they entered adulthood.
Written by Nadean (Mauricia )Parker over at divineinspirations2020.blogspot.com.
Be sure to stop by and visit her blog as she shares some profound gems of wisdom about Faith and Family Life.
My hope for all of the Moms out there is to know that you are not alone and never will be alone. No matter what season of parenting you may be currently in. We know each others struggles. But best of all, Jesus knows our struggles and HE has already written the instruction manual that comes with these kids. Let’s find some time time to tap into it to encourage ourselves, but also to reach out and encourage each other.
I hope that you now have some ammunition to conquer those fears FOREVER!