Learning to Let Go as the Parent of an Adult Child



When you are parenting little kids, they have little problems. Scraped knees, bad days at school, worries about test scores and best friends.


Most of these problems have easy solutions. Or at least solutions that you can help with as a parent.


But as our children become adults, it becomes harder to find easy solutions to their problems.


It is hard for us as moms not to be problem solvers all the time.


When you have an older teen or an adult child, they start to have more complicated and difficult problems.


Problems that you can't fix even if they would step in and let you do that. And more often then not they don't want you to step in.


You can't give them Neosporin and a Band-Aid and make it all better.


The choices facing adult children


Adult children are making choices that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Big choices.


They are making choices on college, career, and marriage. They are buying homes and having children of their own.


As moms, we hope that we have given the tools that they will need to succeed in this next phase of their lives, that they are ready to face the challenges that will inevitably come towards them.


The role of parents changes


As our adult children make these big choices, all we can do is sit back and watch. We can listen when they are ready to open up to us, and offer support and wisdom if they ask for it.


In some ways, parenting adults is harder than parenting small children, because you aren't the only voice in their decision anymore. You don't get to make their choices for them. You can't shield them from the disappointments of life.


It becomes our role to be supportive of their decisions, instead of the ones telling them what decisions to make. We can't micromanage their lives anymore.


As moms, it means giving up our need for control. It means, giving up being a part of their day to day world and fading into the background of their lives.


Learning to let go


As parents it isn't an easy place to be in. Letting go is hard. So much harder than hanging on. But sometimes letting go is what we really need to do most of all.


We need to let our adult children make their own choices and go their own way. Part of letting them grow up is allowing them to make choices that are different than the ones we would have made for them. It is letting them make mistakes.


And the problem is, we don't always know which choices will turn out to be mistakes in the end either. We just have to allow them to grow into themselves and find their own wisdom in their own time.


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