Parenting Adult Children

No one prepares you, certainly not one person dares to warn you about parenting an adult child.  People say children should come with instructions,  I believe the instruction should pop out when the child becomes an adult! (not exactly sure where they should pop out of, but they should!)

When mothers are pregnant we are dreaming of holding our bundle of love to our breast snuggled in their receiving blankets. Parents are wondering who the little love will look like and who they will take after. Mothers are hoping their sons have their father’s stunning good looks. Fathers are hoping their daughter’s have their mother’s timeless beauty. Of course the parents second guess themselves and read every book on the parenting shelves hoping they have every safety gadget and all the comfort needs for the arrival. Advise has been spoken, written and e-mailed about the proper diapers, weather or not the little loves should sleep on their back or tummy and which bottle will prevent gas. (ummm, that is if one chooses NOT to breast feed….agh! that’s a whole other issue)

During the first precious year we are blessed with mile stones.  That first poop is simply an amazing magical occurrence that we must show one another and call other loved ones to explain the color and quantity! How wonderful it is to see the little loves turn from their back to their tummy! How special of a moment when he/ she holds his/her head up and looks into our eyes.  Watching the little loves fine tuning their motor skills is always a laugh. Oh! and how exciting it is to spot that cute little first tooth. In my family we come at the little loves with a silver spoon and wait to hear the “clank, clank”, whoever finds the tooth is honored to buy the first pair of walking shoes.

The next few years we get to witness their wobbly steps become a stride in search of things to destroy with sticky fingers a. Potty training is such a great reward. Sure at first it’s all trial and error, creating the need for extra laundry detergent and floor cleaner but the end result gives mom the go ahead to use her favorite pocket-book again. The transition to sippy cups is liberating for both mom and baby. The formation of words in place of babbling “momma” and “dadda” gives parents the opportunity to add manners to their vocabulary.  Between toddler and school age parents are able to teach the importance of sharing and the virtue of patience and the excitement of interacting with others. (other than family that is!)

School aged children become a bit of a challenge. By this time that blessed feeling  of holding our bundle of love is desperately missed. We have to remind the little ones daily about manners and work harder at instilling family values. Along with all the other rules the little loves had to master now they need to fit in math, science, social studies, english and study skills.(of course this is all the parents evil plan to make their lives miserable!) The biggest struggle is the dear child understanding parents are not the enemy by requiring them to bath, brush teeth and hair and match their socks with their shirts!

The epic parent child battle is the teen age years!! The little lovely girls mothers know nothing about fashion, friends or boys. The little bouncing baby boys fathers would never understand that if they did not wear the $185 sneakers that they just would not have a friend in the world and no girl would ever look at them. And of course both parents are just plain mean by expecting chores to be done and curfews to be upheld. And heaven forbid we drive them to their destination with “old folk” music playing and have the nerve to drop them in front of the destination…well then we are just about the worst thing that ever happened to their lives!

Sometime while they are depending on us and fighting for their independence and we are fighting to hold on to the tender years, a calm comes over parent and child. The universe in lined up for a brief moment. The parent learns that the child can be trusted and child learns the parent can be counted on!

Then it happens…in a blink of an eye the child is an adult! The child is making their own car payment, FaceBooking through their own data on their own cell phone plan and shopping for their own clothes. The child is kissing mom on the forehead and telling dad not to wait up as he/she is walking out the door with dinner plans. Mom and Dad are left with a table set for two.

Do these adult children realize MOM has carried their precious lives for 9 long months in her womb? Do these adults understand that  Mom and Dad have spent years building traditions! Do they have any compassion for the old folks that sleep with one eye open. Do they understand that mom worries they are not eating a healthy diet and that she knows they are not getting the proper amount of sleep. How could they not comprehend that Dad knows nothing of value is happening past midnight!

How can they walk out of Mom and Dads house and into an apartment with the furniture mom picked out and Dad carried in and put together after his long day of work!? Who is going to do the food shopping, make sure they have clean sheet and underwear?  Dad has all the tools, who is going to fix the leaky faucets and door jams and connect all the cables to the T.V and game systems?


The sad reality is that our little bundles do NOT come with instructions and NOTHING pops out from anywhere when they are adults. All we can do is say a prayer and trust that we did the best we could raising them to become well adjust, happy, healthy adults!

As a parent of adult children I am learning that we no longer should expect our children to do as we say!  We can only offer advise and hope they take it.

( I mean really …do they not understand we know a thing or two because we have done a thing or two?)

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