There is no rule book when a child grows up and becomes an adult how to have a relationship with an adult child. And yet, the mothers, they always remain in their hearts, their babies. And yet, they are not a child anymore, they are a self-sufficient, self-supporting adults no longer requiring their moms and dads to be in that same role they played for so many years.
At times, this is an easy transition, for either a mother or a dad. Letting loose, living your life free of the responsibilities of parenting sound fun and carefree. But this change can be emotionally hard. When the road gets rocky, or when parents construe their adult children making mistakes in judgment that are going to cost them down the road, let’s face it, as parents they want to jump and give their two cents But these are different times, their children have different dynamics as a family and their children are unique. They deserve the freedom and the confidence to be their problem solvers. Rule one, butt out! It helps keep the peace. Reality, interference will be reprimanded. Some adult children won’t see the love behind it and will resent their parents for trying to right a wrong.
As children, many of us raised our children in a Christian home that mandated going to church regularly. Their anchor, you taught, was their faith in God, their family and all else fell behind that. At a certain age, it is hard to watch but they may very well fall away from the church. This is so normal. But, when families begin to grow and little children come to the forefront, things change. Many come back to their Christian beginnings where they were fostered in their faith. They often times, begin the path of leading their children to Jesus. Be patient. God has a plan for these children of God, they were only given to their parents for a short time.
Trying to give marital advice can be detrimental big time. Their marriage is sacred and must come before all others. Confiding in parents is only presenting one view of the issues. Giving advice is not input from an expert. This puts their parents in a vicarious position, accepting the responsibility again of their adult children’s success or failure of something bigger than a Band-Aid fix. The bias of a parent can’t be removed from input also. Encourage counseling and communication and if they need help, let them seek out others. Parents get burnt by getting involved! They are not children. Ultimately, they want the respect of their parents as are now adults so treat them that way. Rule 1, butt out.
It is hard not being in the know in their lives. Many parents struggle with this. When children are young, mothers in particular are the master schedulers, the project managers of their children’s life. Now the role is on the sidelines. Most weeks Mon.-Fri. is a mystery unless a parent is told in advance by a grandchild! In today’s world, adult children are leading hectic busy lives. It is hard to get everything done let alone keep their parents current with the timeline of their lives. They tell their parents when they are out of time; keep them updated on news items and when they need to be where. Be grateful for these snippets. It is like the song Cats in the Cradle in a way, leading busy lives is what was taught. Now it is playing out in their lives. They are what they were taught.
What role is it a parent plays in an adult child’s life, friend or parent or both? How to know which direction to go? This is tricky. As they say, untie your apron strings, unless baking cookies. No longer are there curfews to be held over anyone’s head nor holding up car keys as punishment, or cutting back allowance. The priority in their life is not their parents and it shouldn’t be. It does not mean the love is not there. Now they put their own immediate family first, as they were taught behind their faith. Extended family and then friends are next in line as important in their lives. In the family category is also ‘chosen family’ which indeed includes friends. Some friends are as endearing as or more endearing than family.
Ironic that now the parents have the time and the desire to put a great deal more time into the relationship with their children and their child, now an adult simply does not have the time. It isn’t as if the adult child does not have the desire as they know their parent is aging and time is in shorter supply but time is not always a best friend. But, the parents can look at Facebook, hear updates on phone calls and reflect on families visits and see how rich their lives are. This is what you raised them for, to have a blessed life. Knowing this is a comfort and on a lonely day, this is important to remember. Be grateful they are letting you share in it when they can. Know the time frame doesn’t represent the love.
Know that you will never stop being parents in a child’s eyes. In some far recesses of their mind, they feel it. They may not even like it, they may hate their parent, disown them, and defy them but God chose their parent for a reason and they will always remain bonded. That fact can’t be changed. Obviously it is healthier if the relationship is a positive one. When in need for someone to fall upon, it is comforting to know a relationship that has been mutually fostered with your parent though-out all the years, keeps that unconditional love alive. The adult child can always tap into it when in need.
The past is over. Embrace the now. The sooner it is done, the better for all. Social media is a great source of information also. Check it out and get with the times. It is a new world and change is good. Live in today’s world so that adult children can feel good about the relationship that is continuing to develop with their parents. It should continue to grow and develop.
The best part about prosperous adult children is sitting back and seeing the legacy at work. When parents are together with them, know it was a conscious choice to make time to be with their parents. Feel the love in the air and remember the feeling from all those years ago. It is different in ways, being with your adult child; the child has grown but is now fostering those feelings into their own children. The love and bonding between parent and child is still felt, though at any age. Cherish it, even now. See, some things really never do go away. Parents are still the anchor right behind God. This Link has some of my fav photos to 1 of my fav songs
Summer is ending and a new chapter starts. It is the beginning of a new school year. For two of my grandkids, it is a huge step. No longer are they walking in the front door of an elementary school as the littlest kids in the hallway. Nope, they are not kindergartens anymore.
School is back in session and they are in the big league now, first grade. There is no looking back. Now school lasts a whole day, no break, all subjects are covered and coloring pages are few and far between. Sooner rather than later, they will find those dreaded pages to be ones they miss. Now, days will be compounded with spelling quizzes, reading comprehension, math tables and homework projects. But they will also learn and grow leaps and bounds as their young minds develop beyond where their parents even envisioned them being in one year.
Also, in another town, far away from where I live, I saw pictures of a cute little girl, through the wonders of Facebook! She was embarking on a bus ride to kindergarten I presume, looking as pretty as her mom and not showing an ounce of fear. Maybe having her male buddy, my grandson, at her side helped. They both were all smiles lighting up the picture as their parents took turns posing with them on that first day. She looked more than ready for the lesson plans ahead. I doubt her experiences in the classroom will do anything but build her confidence level in her ability to do anything in life she wants to do. I hope that attitude will make my grandson love school as much as her!
My other grandson headed towards big boy preschool. He had no idea that now he was going with non-autistic children. See, labeling is not something our family really believes in. People are people, period. God doesn’t label individuals so why should we? Autism is a diagnosis of sorts, not a definition of a person. And this handsome dude is performing so well, he is ready to be with other young children socially and academically just like he did in one of his 2 day a week classes last year. So far, he is excelling and so well behaved. Cheers to his future! He surprises us every step of the way.
The other grandchildren, they are all thriving too. They have enjoyed their summer and have each mastered new things and grown. Vocabulary for the little one has expanded, as has his temperament. Would a child be normal if it hadn’t? And for the 5 year old, he has become even more social and loveable. This is so refreshing to see in a boy. Our other one in Michigan we don’t hear as much about. His mom doesn’t keep us as informed as the other moms but through Facebook we do see pictures from time to time and looks happy. To us, that is what matters most, happy and loved!
Someone else who began a new chapter in life recently is a woman in my family who married a high school sweetheart in Michigan a little over a week ago, my cousin Bill’s daughter. Theirs was a relationship filled with the usual turbulence everyone goes through, the ups and downs, on and off again that make up real relationships. Who has the fairy tale beginning and ending story to romance? Yeah, the Bachelor and Bachelorette Show, ah, Reality check! Donnie and Donna are the real drama of a relationship.
They certainly had the culmination of a long time coming resolution of a long courtship. The wedding was beyond beautiful. It was touching, was ceremonious and yet had love, laughter and was a blast too! All in attendance would agree, the love that was felt at the wedding was simply mesmerizing and carried over to the guests.
I have always considered myself a great judge of character. I seem to have good intuition too. Watching the bride and the groom interact, I was struck by the camaraderie, the ease at which they moved together. They seemed to move as one, such was the comfort level with each other. And I know God was smiling because their daughter has a new beginning. Just after turning one, her mommy and daddy are married now!
Even more poignant to me was the level of love you witnessed at the reception in the groom and bride’s family. It was like watching a love-fest!Honestly, I have never seen families so outwardly affectionate towards each other. It was quite moving to all in attendance, and made many of us envious that we were not part of such dynamic families. The brother of the groom and the groom were continually in celebration that evening of the day’s events and yet, through it all, you could tell their commitment to each other. Two brothers bonded forever. Thus, the groom was starting a new chapter but was not leaving his brother or his family behind. Nor was the bride. It was a beautiful blending of two loving families. Two families began a new phase in life, loving and sharing in each other’s lives that night and in the future.
New chapters in our grandkids lives help us recognize that the world keeps on turning and, as it does, our lives are changing too, in a good way. When we attend a wedding, we see the ending of one way of life for two single individuals and the start of a new world opening up for the married couple. Time changes things and, as it happens, so must we. It is a challenge we must accept.
In both instances, just like in many things in life, beginning new chapters means picking and choosing what you leave behind. History can repeat itself if you do the same thing you have always done. Wisdom is not doing so.
What got those children to the front door of the school or the couple to the altar means far less than what they all do after they got there. The same is true of all of us. What you did yesterday is not nearly as important as what you do today. For today is your new chapter. Make it a good one. And remember, wonderful chapters are happening all around us; School is starting, a marriage began today, a baby was born, someone resolved their differences, a new job began, a child was adopted…