As children grow into adulthood, the role of a parent changes. This leads to one of the great joys of parenting—being the friend of an adult child.
Yet it leads to one of the great frustrations of parenting—having to mind your own business.
When it comes to parenting an adult child, a parent no longer has the authority or responsibility to make decisions for a child, ensure they experience the negative consequences of their bad choices, or to prevent them from making bad choices.
A parent of an adult child does not even have the guaranteed right of giving their opinion without being asked.
As children grow, responsibilities change. Embracing the new responsibilities as a parent of an adult child is vital for the child’s development, the well-being of the parent/child relationship, and the mental health and satisfaction of the parent. (See: What Every Mother-in-Law Should Know)
When a parent fails to understand their new role and continues to parent as they always have:
- the child may fail to mature
- the child can be enabled to continue bad behavior
- the child will often grow resentful of their parent
- the child’s marriage/relationships will suffer
- the parent/child relationship will fail to grow as it is should
- the parent can become too enmeshed with the child
- the parent can lose their own identity
- the parent can miss a fulfilling season of life
So what can a parent of an adult child do?