Skip to content
Home » Connect with Carrina » Parenting into Adulthood

Parenting into Adulthood

Parenting an adult child is not a role many people are prepared for. It can be difficult to let go and allow your child the freedom to develop their own lives, while still offering support and remaining connected. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting adults, but there are some guidelines that can help make it a bit easier. 

Even as a social worker I am astounded at the number of books preparing us for pregnancy, newborns, toddlers etc, yet very little about the transition into adulthood. Of course, we’ve heard of the empty nest syndrome for many years, but what about when this is your firstborn, not your last? How does it differ if they are male or female; or if you are a single or partnered parent; or if they stay living at home or move away? 

All of these questions appear to provide different answers. But the one consistent thing, is that this is something that most parents are not prepared for, whilst most adult children move through with little notice. It’s also like the world prepares them for the developmental shift, but not us.

The most important thing to remember is that your relationship with your adult child should be different than the one you had when they were younger. Try to think of it as more of an equal partnership, rather than a top-down approach. This means giving them space and trusting in their decisions while still providing guidance and advice when asked. Hopefully, this has been a gradual transition that began in their early teens, with a movement towards increased trust and more partnership in the relationship. 

As adults, your children have the right and the freedom to make their own decisions. This means you should let go of some control and be prepared for mistakes or failures. The goal is to help guide them toward making healthy choices without being overbearing. This can be hard, just as your parents struggled when they saw you heading down a path they foresaw as unwise; we too much guide but allow self-determination. 

The key to a successful connection with your adult child is attachment. This means developing a strong and healthy bond that involves respect, trust, understanding, and compassion. As the parent of an adult child, focus on building trust and open communication that encourages their independence while offering love and support whenever needed. Again, this shouldn’t be a focus that begins when they reach 18, but a progression from infancy. 

Parenting your adult child is not easy, but it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. By respecting their independence and allowing them the freedom to make their own decisions, you can build a strong relationship based on trust, understanding, and compassion. With time, patience, and dedication, you can create a bond that will last for years to come.