How do I parent an adult child? I am sure some would comment, you don’t. The child is an adult, making adult choices and decisions and does not need their mother meddling in their business. Correct!
Still, I am my child’s mother and always will be. Does that mean I can step in and control? Nope! Once their foot stepped out to leave for college, I knew my parenting was on the sideline. Mom was not there to pick up the dirty laundry, although that was brought back home when visiting but I enjoyed one last chance of them needing me. Plus, I like doing laundry. College is over, years now in their professions and doing well. A proud mom. Although, I feel less and less needed of not helping out by hanging curtains, painting, landscaping, cleaning, etc. I miss those times together as we worked together, so I must have taught them well.
To be honest, I have to fight the thoughts that they don’t want to be with me anymore and even worse, they don’t need me. Those thoughts, fears and the tears are just that, nothing more. I can choose to dwell there or know their life is busy, they enjoy my company, don’t need me as much and most importantly, I know they love me.
Letting go and the choices, decisions, their finances and places they chose was on them to deal with, good or bad. The friendships made, also some good and some bad. In time, they also would learn who was using them or were true friends. The late nights out or the studying never complete was on them. When they left for college, my saying to them was if you play, you will still have to pay, in one way or another. Thankfully, and proud mom moment, they both were always on the Dean’s List. My thinking with the play and pay was more in tuition, knowing they would regret.
It was over the years, my youngest has had to pay in other ways. Thankfully, he is independent, has too much trust in others and has a kind heart. He is a lot like me and I am unsure if that is good or bad. Do I say I am sorry or you are welcome?
I have seen my youngest pushed down time and time again being used and taken advantage of but still he bounces back up. The last few years, the bounce has been slower and depression set in. Several of his friends committed suicide, three in one year, that’s traumatic. Some of the choices he made were not wise but he has to deal with them and he has done just that, probably more than I know. Again, just like me, you deal with it. It will be years later when some of the stories come out and my system is not shocked as much. I am just now hearing about high school and some of the college stories, which I normally look at them and say, ‘You are grounded,’ and then we laugh. I do remember being young.
Letting Go of Worry
As their mother, I want to jump in and do this or that but my jumping in to help has to be minimal, more and more. They both need to figure life out on their own, responsibility and experience the bumps and bruises as they come, if so. I have always made sure they know I am here though.
I know that they know of such, especially my youngest again, because at 3:00 AM one morning, about a year ago, he calls in desperation and my heart dropped. He knew I would pray and he also knew I would stay on the phone until a peace was present. It was that time when he had a perfect opportunity to call upon the Lord, just him in an empty parking lot looking up at the sky filled with stars and his eyes filled with tears. As I mentioned this to him, he had a choice and perhaps he did but now he is running from what was said and promised to the Lord. I don’t know the outcome of those alone moments before he called or after we hung up but one day I will. I know I had to trust God like never before to hold him close and watch over him, being about four hours from home. I had to make a decision to get on the road and head toward West Virginia or stay, pray and trust the Lord. My bag was packed and I was on my way though.
Just to know, he made it back to his home fine, checking in with me. I truly believe after he drove down to work that afternoon and when work was over, he had a panic attack. He had time for it to settle and realized his life was spared from a horrific accident. Listening to him explain the car wreck on the highway and as he was trying to avoid her, by going in the other lane, he looks in the rear view mirror seeing a semi coming right at him. Saying he was able to keep control and move back over before being hit. The mind just imaging this play out, I was having a panic within but those prayers of protection over my child(ren) will always be prayed. He could not get the girl’s face of fear out of his mind, worrying if she lived or died. It all hit him, as it would any of us.
Not knowing how he was touched spiritually in that parking lot, I do remember being young and running from the Lord. I knew better but I did not want to serve the Lord. We all have had moments, I am sure. In my own situation, I had no peace or real joy and miserable until I totally surrendered my life of living for the Lord, as a Christian. I feel that is where he is now. He is miserable. He has a choice to make. He knows his mom prays and has told him time and time again that there is a calling upon his life. Satan will fight even more. As his mom, I will pray even more. Satan will not have my son, or my other son (and daughter-in-law). They all know of God, saved when young but not serving Him.
I have to trust, too, that being raised in a Christian home, attending a Christian school and us praying together, they know and I stand upon that God’s Word will not come back void. Their father and I dedicated their lives to the Lord and I expect nothing less.
My prayers for both of them were that the Lord would place Christians in their pathway to light the way with direction and be a witness, if just in their personal walk with the Lord. I know they would talk more freely with another than their mom, which I totally understand, I was the same.
My oldest, as he was first to leave the nest, I prayed for him to be friends with others of Christian backgrounds and that they would be influenced in that manner. His group of friends from start to finish in college are all still good friends today, in each other’s weddings. Now, the children are being born, but I also see them involved in church. This son, of course, is not like my other and needs to be treated differently. Lord, put Christians in his pathway to bring him to where he needs to be in his walk. I have watched this and it is exciting. Not exactly where I want him and his wife yet, involved in a church, but I’m patient. So is God. It is no accident that their house is right across the street of a large church. I now just pray that the right one will come, knock on their door and invite them to attend and go from there.
My prayer for my children and even myself, is to put Christians in our pathway of life to help us and to lead us in the right direction. We all need this, God’s Timing of the right place and the right person/people to bring us to where we need to be in life. Trust Him.
My youngest, my prayers for him is for safety, clarity of thought and mind, wisdom and as I see depression linger, that I bind the works of the enemy upon him. This one stretches my faith but I will stretch in order to see him saved and serving the Lord. He has a testimony and a way about him to help so many around him. His experiences in life will open doors to speak of what not to do. To share of how he got through this or that and what he learned in the middle of circumstances and of acquaintances that used him. It was not always others that caused the problems but he made some unwise decisions. Still, he came out on top. I feel the Lord has favor upon him. All I know to do and to be right now is BE STILL and know that I can trust God with my son, which is His son also.
Letting Go of Giving Advice
Having these boys increased my faith in God. I finally understood what love was all about with them being born and I cannot imagine life without them, how boring. A truly blessed mom here.
So, as they age and so do I, for some reason I long for their company which seems to be less and less as they have their own life. As they left for college, the empty-nest grief, I felt, but I sense it somewhat now, too. I don’t know where I fit in within their lives. My oldest being married, they have one another. My youngest will one day marry but he is alone. Perhaps it just me thinking he is alone, he’s probably just very busy in life. I miss our time together, I miss hanging the curtains, helping him with his out-of-control dirty laundry. He has it together. It’s his mother that is lost in an age of uncertainty. Sometimes wondering, ‘Am I Your Mother?’ Of course, I am and I always will be as my love and prayers will always be alive, even when I die. I certainly hope that they never had to or will ever have to question if they were loved.
Letting Go of Guilt-Tripping
The article attached is really good. I found it as I have pondered this parenting thing for a bit. Maybe it will help you or someone you know that struggles being a parent to adult children.
LOVE 💗 HUGS 💗 PRAYERS
Letting Go and the Art of Parenting Adult Children