We've been through the basic steps of parenting--from being a caregiver for an infant, through manager of school-age kids and advisors to our older teens and young adults. Now, we're moving from consultants to the final stage: colleagues to our mature, adult children. Sounds like the best of times but it's no easier than the first 18 years when they lived at home. A recent story goes through those stages and makes the point that what's good for one stage of parenting doesn't work so well for another. Let the parenting style fit the child's age.
So, what's a colleagues stage all about?
"This final phase of parenting," the article states, "recognizes that there comes a time when our grown children become friends as well as offspring. The unique relationship of parent and child never really ends. As our children join us in adulthood, however, they often begin to share common values, goals and experiences with us. These can be the foundation of a friendship that will be special to parent and child alike."
So far so good. Sounds like the ultimate goal of parenting. But, the writer warns, "Some parents are unable or unwilling to 'go with the flow'" ... It's the fit that's important."
And here's the final word:
"Letting go" of our children may be one of the most frightening things we ever do. Yet, it can be one of the most rewarding as well. Oh, and we will make mistakes. There is no doubt about that, either. What is important is that we learn from our mistakes."