It’s a Girl! It’s a Boy! No, it’s an ADULT!
It all happens so quickly, in a twinkling of an eye. If you’ve raised a child, you know what I’m talking about. The time from diapers, to the first steps walking, to running, to driving, to adulthood happens in a flash!
The thought of childhood and all the memories of that journey remain permanently etched into history and the mind’s eye. They go from toddlers to tweens to teens faster than you can type 140 characters in a tweet!
If you have children, something magical happens the day they become adults! Whether you consider their entrance into adulthood at the age of 18 or 21 or 23 or 26, something occurs. Any idea what I'm talking about? This is what happens...
That moment when you come to the realization that not only have your "kids" become adults, you have also reached a major milestone in life.
You almost hear “Ladies and Gentlemen! Children of all ages! Welcome to Parenting Adult Children!”
So, what happens after you sigh? You Tweet about it! (Just kidding!)
You start to realize a few things are about to change.
When you start parenting adult "children" it might look a little something like this:
You now consider the need to continue to include them on your health insurance policy or let them sign up on their own. Lots of factors to consider here. Do they have a steady job? Does their employer provide affordable healthcare? Does it make sense financially for both you and the "child"?
You need to consider whether auto insurance will continue on your policy or if they need their own. Once again, plenty to think about. Did they move to a city where public transportation is the norm, thus no need for an auto policy? What's the financial impact?
Then there's the sticky subject of living arrangements. If your kids left the nest to live on their own, you might have already converted their former bedroom into a man-cave or hobby room. You might be reading this from that newly remodeled room right now. Or, maybe your children decided to stick around for a while. With your interior design plans somewhat delayed or postponed indefinitely, you still need to help your child formulate a long-term plan. Will you set some hard stop deadlines for them to move out? Will they be a self-starter and head out on their own? Will they have a bona-fide reason to live with you for an extended period of time? No matter what your situation is, your role as a parent of an adult will take on a different vibe in some ways and you need to deal with anything that lies ahead.
The way you begin to relate to adult children changes in many ways. What comes to mind is the fact that the children look like adults, act like adults, but they lack life experience. They just don't know. This makes for some interesting conversations sometimes. Things that you fully understand and don't even blink or think twice about can be confusing to the young adult. You might find yourself explaining things you simply take for granted. As much as you think you may have prepared them for life as an adult, you probably forgot something. And, that's ok since you can always share your wisdom with your adult kid.
If you’ve ever uttered the words, “Well, back in my day…” just know that your kids will appreciate your vast life experiences now more than ever. If you communicate these experiences correctly, you can build a stronger relationship with your kids than ever before. They will appreciate your sage advice.
You just never know when they’ll need some “parental guidance”. One day, your phone rings and an unexpected question can be heard on the other end of the line. The question might be about finances, housing, relationships, work, business, politics, or health, so be ready for anything.
Did your adult child just get a new job? Chances are the next time you hang out with them for a meal, they'll wish to make it their treat. They're buying! Good for you!
Which will give you plenty of time to unpack the topics, issues, and other helpful things you forgot to deep dive into before they became an adult.
My wish for you is that parenting adult children will be some of the most enjoyable times of your lives. The best is yet to come, with plenty of great memories headed your way. Of course, as a parent of adult children, it probably helps to keep an open mind and a sense of humor. We just want our children to be safe, live good lives, and make a positive impact in the world. Parents of adult children want the absolute best for their kids. Let’s commit to helping them reach their goals and aspirations by sharing our experiences, supporting them, and encouraging them along the way.
So, chew slowly, breathe, and just know that everything is going to be just fine. No need to sigh!
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