Letting Go of your Adult Children

Regardless of your adult child’s age, How will you know when you’re done parenting?

You will know when you feel content you’ve taught them and modeled for them, self-sufficiency. If your son is 22 years old and still living at home AND you feel the strain of this more often than not.  Ask yourself if you can honestly say, “I’ve completed my job with him.”

Then be willing to have that conversation with him where you tell him, what’s right for you is for him to move out.  Notice I didn’t say to tell him what’s right for him is to move out.  This is his domain (what’s right for him). He’s an adult now so you must respect this.  But it’s your house and your life and you need to express what’s right for you.  If you feel guilty or humiliated at the thought of sharing what’s honestly right for you let go of this first.

Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.
~ Raymond Lindquist

Resistance around letting go of your adult children is a complex issue. It has to do with change, fear, and purpose. We fear the changes that will occur when we let go of others. If you deeply identify yourself with being a mother or father, of course letting go aspects of this role will come with resistance. It may also bring up fear around getting older.

I feel at the heart of this issue is the fear around one’s life purpose. If you’ve taken care of others in a parental role and the children are grown, you are faced with the question,

“What’s my purpose?”  What is my purpose?

Unfortunately, many people hear this and feel overwhelmed with not knowing. Instead of energized with the possibilities after raising children, they feel like they’re being punished.  Like they lost their job.

Parents with adult children go through a grieving process. Change is often experienced as a loss. Until you process out enough grief, however, you won’t have the energy to discover your purpose beyond parenting. It’s like asking someone to use their imagination when they are hungry and have no place to sleep.

So begin with letting go of the grief and loss brought about by a change. Let go on this.

Then, let go on your resistance to expanding yourself and your life purpose.   Steve Pavlina has an interesting approach to identifying your life purpose.  It’s a simple process so I’ll share it here. Begin with a piece of paper and a pen.  At the top of the page write: What is my life’s purpose?  Then create a list of answers.  Anything that comes to mind. Do this until something you write makes you cry. This is your purpose.  I would add that letting go of what’s in the way of uncovering your life’s purpose would be an excellent first step.