Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Parenting Adult Children

It's hard y'all.  

And not just hard.  But heavy.  Important.  Essential.

I remember the days of babies, diapers, nursing (all.the.time), homeschooling, short nights, long days,  Sometimes those days were hard, physically bone-wearyingly exhausting. But precious and fulfilling... and I honestly loved every one.  I was consumed with the 'here and now' (as I should have been). I didn't give thought to what it would be like when I had adult children.  I wouldn't even have known what to think?  I would have probably thought it would be so nice, so easy, they would be 'all grown up'.

But it's hard y'all.  I don't know how to explain it.... the questions are hard.  The midnight discussions deep. They, too, are precious times.  I think why it 'feels hard' is because it's weighty.  The decisions they make are big ones, life-changing ones... They go from "Mama knows everything", to "I know everything" before they settle into "Nobody knows everything"!  It's a beautiful, wonderful, difficult, gut-wrenching process. And nobody tells you it's coming.  You get them all raised up and think you are done.  But you are not, gear up Sister, the hard part is coming!  

Don't get me wrong, please understand... watching them mature, and grow and blossom into adults is a true blessing.  But it has more challenges, more pain, more everything than I expected. 

You know what I think?  I have heard so many people say "Oh my adult children are such a blessing, they are my friends (blah blah blah"  They are not your friends.  They are your children.  Given to you by the Lord God Almighty.  Don't quit being their Mama because they are 18.  This is still parenting age, they still need you (but don't expect them to always know that or admit it!)  This is when all of those lessons you taught them while they were growing up come into play, where the proverbial water hits the wheel. This is when it all starts to make sense to them and they see, really see the applications of all you have taught them. They will have questions.  They will have questions you don't want to answer.  They will have questions you can't answer. But you talk and you talk and you pray and you search the scriptures and you find those answers together.  

Be there for them.  Learn to listen with your whole self.  Don't listen to reply.  Listen to understand.  Hear what they are saying even when they are not saying it. 

You will come out the other side.  The time will come when you will look at those adult children and realize they *are* your friends.  That through the whole process, you have found a friend, made a friend. But, please, don't ever stop being their Mama.  Children never stop needing their Mama.  Be there, make sure they know you are there.  Times will come, they will face challenges, they will suffer pain and loss... they need to know you are there.  Mama first. Friend second. Always.

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Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, I care what you think! ~Dana