24 Apr Adult Children: Let’s not Forget Them
The last two weeks have been a vivid reminder of how important it is to support and strengthen our adult children. I don’t mean throw money at them…although every once in awhile a struggling student needs some extra financing.
I’m saying that emotionally our support is vital to their wellbeing. Three of our five children have come home for one reason or another these past weeks. As we have taken the time to sit and have one on one conversations, each of them has opened a dialogue that helped my husband and I discern the concerns and frustrations that life throws at those struggling to be loyal spouses, good parents, and dedicated providers. Much of the time we just listened. Adult children don’t need teaching. Hopefully, they have already been taught. They don’t want lectures. They just need to know that we are here to support them emotionally…and periodically they need a little reminding. I talked to a neighbor recently who said that all his children need at this point in their adult lives is a cheerleader…and he was going to be the best cheerleader he could be.
Four days ago our daughter, a mother of four small children, flew into town with her six-week-old baby. She came to support me in the culmination of a project that I had been working on for more than a year. Her visit lasted less than 48 hours, but she expressed several times her gratitude for the “grounding” she felt each time she came “home.” Each time she said it, I tried to discern what was happening in our home at the moment that would give her the feelings she was experiencing. Most of the time we were in the kitchen preparing food or cleaning up after a meal. The television was off so noise distractions were minimal. We were visiting, or laughing about one thing or another. I recognized that with each of her declarations I was also being rejuvenated as she talked about her plans and sweet desires for her children.
Our youngest son, a single businessman living in Dallas, has also been home recently. He is never demanding, so we always make sure that attention is given. One afternoon during his visit, I was pleased to walk in on a conversation that he and my husband were having about work concerns. As we listened, we both recognized that his work concerns were closely tied to his frustrations with the single social scene. We listened and encouraged, but besides fervent prayer, there is not much we can do to help. I don’t think he expected us to solve the problem…he just needed to know that we were concerned enough to sit and visit. That’s what families are for.
When our children are young, most of the time spent is taking care of their physical needs. If these needs are not met it soon becomes obvious that we need to step it up and feed, bath, dress and care for them.
Adolescent and adult children should be able to care for themselves physically. It is their emotional needs that we as parents need to identify and try to fill. Unless they are ignored for a long period of time these needs are often not as obvious…. We have to work a little harder…and stretch ourselves further than may be convenient…but again, that’s what families are all about. And it’s worth every effort.
We who have children are parents forever. We can never assume that our children no longer need us. It is our responsibility to stay close. It is our duty to stay strong and good. Our adult children need our strength and they need our example. This world provides the storms that can make our children strong…as long as we provide the anchor to keep them moored safely to family and the values we espouse.