I’ve recently found myself searching the internet for articles in relation to parenting adult children, and I’m amazed at how many there are. I’ve found some that offer some of the most ridiculous advice I’ve ever heard, while others make complete sense. But what I’ve failed to find are articles written for the young adults explaining why we (as parents) do what we do and the difficulties we face when it comes to letting go as you become a young adult.
If I were to write such an article, I would do my best in helping our growing and maturing children understand what it’s like to be a parent and how difficult it can be to just take our hands off and allow you to make some of the most important decisions of your life.
Try and understand their craziness: There will come a day when you too may have your own children and find yourself in their shoes with your children rolling their eyes not wanting to hear your advice. As much as it pains me to say it – Then and only then will you understand why we act the way we do.
Allow me to explain:
Keep in mind your mother has carried you in her womb for 9 months. From the time you were conceived, and she found out she was pregnant – her entire life changed. For the good I might add.
From day one – she begins her new journey by creating a (God given) special bond with you. And all throughout your childhood – you’ve become her number one mission in life – all because of her love and care for you.
Try to understand that for mothers like me, this is what she was called to do. She has been given a gift from God to train, nurture, teach, discipline and guide you throughout your entire childhood, and so, when you become a young adult and begin to make your own decisions, and she realizes that you no longer need her as you once did – she’s torn. It’s in fact torture. For awhile.
I know this may be difficult for you to understand – but as a mother and I think I speak for just about all mothers – having a child no longer need you – will be one of the hardest things she’ll ever face. Why? Aside from her husband, you have been the center of her world. Not because she’s a control freak, but because God has given her this calling.
She has been a major part of your life, and you’ve been a major part of hers.
I know this sounds redundant, but, as a child she’s fed you, bathed and clothed you, prepared your meals and helped you with homework and if she’s a Christian she’s most likely given you spiritual guidance as well.
One of the reasons why she’s so adamant in giving you advice is - She’s most likely made her fair share of mistakes when she was young and has done her best to steer you from doing the same.
Why Mom’s have a hard time Letting Go: When a mother begins to realize that she no longer has the influence she once did – and because that’s quite frightening to her – don’t be surprised if she turns up the heat a little. You may notice that she may become a little more controlling. Let me put it this way – the ball has always been in her court – and when she realizes her parenting skills are no longer needed – she’s going to hold onto that ball as tightly as she can in order to keep the opponent from getting it. Being a team player is, at first, going to be hard for her. It’s going to be very difficult for her to pass the ball. (you can blame this analogy on my husband who’s always been an avid sports fan!).
Keep in mind, she’s not intentionally trying to be a nag. I know it appears that way, but that’s not who she is nor is it who she wants to be. She’s not a toy that when you push a button it’s easily turned off. She’s had years of being in the game and being sent to the bench (so to speak) is one of the hardest things she will ever do. So, if you can look at your circumstances with a little insight, it will be easier for you to understand what’s going on in her brain. As painful as it feels when she tries to control you – is as painful for her when she knows you no longer need her in the way you once did.
How Parents can have a Great Relationship with their Adult Children: Communicate. Communication is one of the healthiest things any relationship can have as long as we’re able to keep our emotions out of it. If you’re upset, table the conversation until you calm down. The scriptures say that where there is strife – there is confusion and every Evil work – so it’s wise to go and cool off first before talking. Ask God to help both you and your parents discuss matters at hand with peace.
One thing that’s always worked for me, because I can get very emotional is – I write. Writing comes easy to me and I have found I am able to communicate more clearly. It allows me to sit and think about what I want to say without emotions flaring. I have done this with both of my children even my husband. It’s my go-to when it comes to most of my relationships.
Pray for Mom and Dad: This is something I think many young adults don’t fully understand – and that is the power of prayer. You may have heard your parents teach you that God loves you and hears your prayers when it comes to your needs, and you may have heard your Mom tell you she prays for you – but have you considered praying for her? She may not come right out and ask you to pray for her regarding how difficult this is for her – but I can almost guarantee that she would appreciate you taking to the time in asking God to help her with this major change going on in her life.
Always a Mom: Something I’ve always said to our boys, “I’ll always be your mother.” Even though my children are older, and even though they don’t always take my advice – doesn’t mean I won’t give it. I can and will always express my opinions and beliefs even if they don’t want to listen. King Lemuel’s mother gave him “strong advice” in Proverbs 31. He was a grown man, but she was still his mother.
Honor your Father and Mother: I remember the Lord spoke to me many years ago after moving our family to Florida about my relationship with my Dad. I cannot remember exactly what it was, but I was having an issue with my father and the Lord spoke to me and said – You know the verse that says to honor your father and mother? That still holds true today. Even though you’re married and have a family, doesn’t mean you don’t have to honor your father anymore.
I know what the Lord meant – He was communicating to me that even though I’m older and my father no longer has the power to tell me what to do – I’m still obligated by God to honor him in a way of respect and kindness even if at times we don’t agree.
Your parents will always be your parents and their love for you will never stop, just like the Father’s love (God) for his children will never end.
“Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
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