Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed. ~Erma Bombeck
Erma is talking about graduation from college but she describes so well how moms and dads feel when they face any milestone that occurs throughout the job of parenting. From the first steps they take, parents realize ours is a temporary job. If we aren’t helping our children be as secure as they can be in their independence we are failing them. We need to allow our children to graduate from a parent to child relationship to an adult to adult relationship.
In my practice and in life in general, I see the not so happy results of parents who are unable to let go of their children. They resist seeing their kids as peers even when they sport heavy beard stubble. I think I know why.
Child Graduation = Parent Unemployment
Because it hurts! It hurts like hell to realize we are out of a job, so we cling to it. I’ve observed it hurts most for parents who identify so much with their role as parents they have no idea what to do with themselves once the job is no longer needed. So they artificially maintain the status quo. It’s just less painful that way even if it’s a blatant use of denial.
Do your parents still treat you like a kid? Then you know what I’m talking about. Most adult children with parents like this just play along because to fight it is equally painful. That’s OK as long as you know what the price is and OK with that too.
I don’t know. I just know that I find myself longing for something I can’t have, my little boy. When I think about it my heart aches a little. The more sane part of me
And I have it relatively easy. My kids are basically trustworthy, accountable and reliable. If I sent the whiny text that requested his presence at home because I haven’t seen him in twelve hours, chances are my son would roll his eyes a bit and come home. To leave again soon after, of course, but you get my point.
When our adult children are not so reliable, when we fear for their safety because they are engaging in dangerous behavior, letting go is gut-wrenching. People need a lot of support, maybe even professional guidance, to know what the best combination of support and tough love is in such situations.
That doesn’t change the truth of the natural order of human growth and development. Children become adults and once that tricky transition occurs, they are our equals.
Whether we like it or not.
If you find yourself having trouble with the transition of your child becoming an adult.
If you feel that you need help, please call us.
We can help.
Honest Photo by… Caleb Woods
Honest Article by…
Elvira G. Aletta, PhD, Founder & CEO
Executive & Personal Coaching, Individual & Relationship Counseling