Wednesday night I was privileged to be in the audience of The Chat with Priscilla, an on-line talk show hosted by Priscilla Shirer. The taping and set up time lasted from 3:30 (when we were suppose to be there for seating) until 9:30 or 10 when I finally got to the car. It was a lot of fun and I had planned to return on Thursday for more taping, but I had to do my civil duty and show up for jury duty. The episodes centered around the topics of “What Men Wish Women Knew”, “What Women Wish Men Knew”, and “Modern Family”. They will air the month of February. It was informative, inspirational, and so much fun.
My phone went dead, so I didn’t get pictures of the guys, but there were 5 guys on that panel and they were hilarious. Then there was David Thomas & Sissy Goff for the panel about parenting in today’s world.
The taping was done in 30 minute segments for a total of 1 hour with each panel. During the segment with David and Sissy, the audience was asked for questions and then they put us on the camera. I made my cameo appearance and asked a question!
So many times I feel like I never get much out of discussions on marriage and parenting because they rarely touch on topics close to my heart. Some of that was true during these panels too. Don’t get me wrong, the discussions were great, however they seemed to center around families that had couples that were both strong in their Christian walk. While Priscilla tried to bring in the topics like “what to do if your husband doesn’t lead the family”, they didn’t linger long on those and I wanted to hear more of that type of discussion. Of course 30 minutes doesn’t give you time to go really deep like that. Like I said, it was informative and inspirational so, be sure watch it in February.
For my question, I asked something that I never hear parenting discussions talk about, how to transition from having an older child in the home to having a young adult (out of high school, possibly going to college and still living at home). My question centered around how to allow them their freedom while still living in your home and how to get through that transition of childhood to adulthood myself. I got the standard “if you live in my house, you still have to obey my rules” answer.
I don’t agree with that, for the most part.
I am now the parent of two adult children and both of them lived at home after high school and during college (Adam is still in that stage of the game, coming home on the weekends). I’m not sure if I did it right or not, but at some point, when they had shown a maturity level that said they weren’t kids anymore, I stopped forcing them to have a curfew. I did ask them to at least respect that there were other people living in the house when they came home late and not to be nosey and wake everyone up. I also asked them to text me when they were going to be late so that my mother’s mind wouldn’t image them in a ditch somewhere. They were/are both great about doing that.
Of course that also means that I’m not going to wake them up in the mornings when they have to go to work. If they want to pull the adult card and set their own curfew, they can set their own alarm clocks. They can also do their own chores (washing) and pay their own bills. Again, I’ve been blessed because they both have done exactly that. Oh, there are times that I’ve “reminded” them of responsibilities, but for the most part…it all falls on their shoulders and they’ve carried it well.
Why don’t I force them to respect the “rules of the house” they had when they were in high school? Mainly because I remember being a young adult, living on my own during the week and then living at home on the weekends. That feeling of being an adult, working three jobs, going to all my classes (even graduating early), having my own apartment all gave me confidence that I was an adult, ready to face the world. Oh, I made mistakes, but they were my mistakes and I had to deal with them. But then I would come home and have to follow the same house rules I had as a child. My wings would get clipped, my freedom challenged.
After I graduated from college, I moved back home. I started working full-time the Monday after my Saturday graduation from college with the understanding that in 6 months I would be getting married and moving to Texas. A few weeks before my wedding, I went over to one of my best friends house (former roommate and relative) and we did what we had always done in college….sat up and talked late into the night. At midnight my mother called and asked why I wasn’t home.
I’ll be honest, I “strained against the ropes” and felt rebellion rise in my heart. I was adult! I was working! I was getting married and moving out of state! And yet, I still had a curfew!?
Yes, I know, parents don’t sleep until children are all tucked safely into bed, but if you are going to allow your adult children to live at home, I truly feel that you have to allow them to be adults which means sitting their own boundaries while respecting you and your right to have a good night’s sleep.
Okay, not every adult child (age-wise) is mature emotionally. There are lots of kids that graduate from high school (or drop out) that do not mature, they do not work, they do not push themselves to stand on their own two feet. They are still basically children and want/need mom & dad to continue to take care of them. That’s not the situation I’m talking about. I’m talking about kids that have proven they are maturing, that have proven that they can take care of themselves and yet still live at home maybe because of a financial situation, a timing situation, or as they transition into their own place.
They’ve earned the respect to be adults, so why not allow them to be adults?
Because it’s hard to stop being the parent who is in charge of every aspect of your child’s life.
That has been the hardest thing for me to accept, that transition, not for the child but for the parent. The stepping back and the letting go.
And yet it is something we all have to do. We have to let our children become adults, allow their wings to spread fully and fly, to soar and provide a safe nest where they can return often to rest and be restored, even to be coddled a little. We have to hold our adult children with an open hand, not holding them back, not restraining them, but just giving them a place to land when they need to.
My mother’s heart doesn’t rest fully until I hear the sound of the car in the drive or the soft click of the door. But I’ve learned to rest fully in the knowledge that while I might have to hold them with an open hand, God does not. He never leaves or forsakes them. He holds them with a tight grip. Oh they will make mistakes and they will have to take care of those, and some of them may break my heart, but God has my children. He cares for them and protects them.
And I have to release them to Him.
How do you handle the transition of being a parent to adult children still living at home?