Parenting Adult Children: Surviving the Post-Toddler Years!

Parenting Adult Children is not for the faint hearted. Watching my boys grow into young men is bittersweet. On one hand, I’m proud of the strong, independent (mostly!) humans they’ve become, and I’m thrilled to see them chase their dreams. But on the other hand, there’s a part of me that aches for the days when they would crawl into my lap and ask me to read them “just one more” story.

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It seems like yesterday since I was the mum of two gorgeous toddlers, and now here we are… empty nesters trying to navigate relationships with our adult children. It’s hard to let go of my memories and realize that my role in their lives has shifted. I can’t protect them from the world or make decisions for them, I have to watch them bear the consequences of their choices, both good and not so good, knowing that they need to stumble in order to learn and grow.

advice on parenting adult children

Despite this bittersweet transition our purpose as parents is no less important – in fact some might say it’s more important.

Parenting adult children will always require:

1. Unconditional Love

Unconditional love can make all the difference in making adult children feel safe and supported no matter what. Whether it’s a phone call/text of encouragement, a hug when they need it most, they know I’ll always be there for them. Unconditional love looks very different to liking their choices and decisions, and I’m trying to master that balance each day.

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2. Guidance

Watching my boys navigate the ups and downs of life and make crucial decisions for their future is one of the wildest rides I’ve ever been on. My heart swells with compassion and understanding as I’ve been there, done that, and can empathize with the challenges they face. Sharing hard-earned knowledge (much of which was definitely learned the hard way) with them feels extra critical knowing this guidance is helping them make their own best possible choices.

adult child getting his first tattoo

3. Friendship and Respect

My boys make me laugh all the time with the quirky things they say. Our bond has evolved into a deep friendship, built on a foundation of shared memories, values, and experiences. Sharing thoughts and ideas (and sometimes rude jokes) with my boys has forced me to realize we are now peers and communicating on a different level. And I’m here for it all!

4. Legacy

Carving treasured stories and experiences into our memories is a chance to create a legacy that will be passed down through the generations. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that our family traditions, values, and stories will live on, and that we played a vital role in creating and preserving them. Nothing fills my heart more at our family dinner table when one of the boys says “Hey Mom, remember when we (insert fun story here)…”. It’s a reminder that every single day matters and is part of their history, and I can only hope that they continue to share our family stories as they build their own lives.

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As my boys continue to grow and evolve, I plan to continue to invest and nurture our relationship whatever that looks like – I’m bracing myself for the wide range of emotions. But one thing is certain – my unconditional love for them will never waver. Whether they like it or not, I’ll always be there cheering them on and standing by their side with an encouraging word or lingering hug to share.

tips for raising young gentlemen

What parenting young adult tips would YOU like to share?

Let me know in comments below and Join me on Instagram and Twitter!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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