Parenting the Adult Child: What I Don’t Know

CeCe’s Musings

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” - Havelock Ellis

What is the trick to parenting adult children? This road is new to me, and I’m still having trouble with the GPS. When do I reach out? When do I step back? How hard do I hold on? When should I let go? What is my role now? What’s the right thing to do?

I often feel as though I am stuck in some type of limbo with no clear directions. I’ll call and get one word or two responses, “Yes. No. Uh huh. Yup. See ya. Love you, too” It’s never seems to be enough. I send a quick text, “What’s new?” “Nothing.” Sigh.

Our jobs as parents are never done, but the description changes when these children reach adulthood. We are no longer needed on a daily basis. They now have their jobs and friends and loves. There may be a breathless and panicked phone call requiring a bail out or sage advice, but the contact hours have been cut back dramatically. Our homes are quiet. Our lives are simpler. Our hearts often ache with the memories of read-aloud books and bedtimes stories and bath time.

There are thousands upon thousands of books written on parenting babies, toddlers, tweens, and adolescents, but the shelf on parenting adults appears to be empty. There are no John Rosemonds or Dr. Spocks in this category. We are left out on our own with no wise mentor to lead us in the right direction.

So what’s a momma to do? Trust she has raised independent people who are now creating their own adventures in the world. Know she is in their hearts. Love them without smothering. Practice holding on while letting go.

It’s all I’ve got, and it will have to do for now.

“Perhaps it takes courage to raise children.” John Steinbeck, East of Eden