Letting Your Adult Children Go

Part One of Three Parts: MollyCoddlers

It was a typical beautiful spring day and the spirit of puppy love was in the air. A young 13 year old boy and girl sat outside on a lawn swing. The boy held a single rose and lifted it toward the girl. Before she could take possession, the girl’s father stood up from behind the swing and pointed a leaf blower at the young man’s face and squeezed the trigger. The humiliated boy left with nothing left but the stem of the once existent rose. The young lady angrily folded her arms and screamed at him, “Da-a-a-ad!

As a father, I can relate to this father’s action. I say, “Hey! That’s my baby girl.” The previous scene is nothing more than the product of an advertising agent’s imagination, but it triggered many memories of each one of my kids. Like the aforementioned dad, I no doubt provoked each one of my kids at one time or the other in their life, albeit maybe differently. You don’t believe me, ask any one of them how I probably brought them to wrath in my exuberance to protect them as a dad.

v4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord [Ephesians 6:4 KJV].

You’ll have to ask them as to whether I was a good dad or not. However, the only justice and redemption that I have to my actions, as a father, is that most of my kids are now parents (Install a Happy Face here, lol). The old adage apparently holds true, what goes around, comes around. We spend at least 18 years raising, loving, feeding, housing, clothing, nurturing, and protecting our kids from everything and everyone that would do them harm.

We do our best to teach them our values, our beliefs, the differences between right and wrong, and bring them up in the admonition of the Lord. It is that love and investment in our children that creates a major struggle for most parents in letting go of their kids after they leave home. To this I can attest and plead guilty. Does our love stop after they’re gone from the roost? In a word, no!. To wit, my kids have been pretty good about allowing me a certain amount of latitude and deceleration of my dad mode. They’ve allowed me to be dad on a number of occasions.

We teach our kids to be self-sufficient and when they finally do become self-sufficient and leave the nest, it feels like they do not need us anymore. I wore many hats as a dad: parent, protector, teacher, nurturer, counselor, provider, and even a referee’s hat. Then they left. . .and I lost all my hats and most of my influence. I am very proud of all my kids and who they’ve become, but the outside world continues to hammer them.

Now that they are all gone away from the nest, what will I do with all this residual love that I have in my heart for them? For in my heart, I’m not finished being a dad yet. (My youngest has kids who have kids. Yep, I’m a great grandpa. Where did I leave my cane?) Anyway, I’ll always remember each of their births, their first steps, their first boo boos, and all their graduations. I still want to rush to their aid every time they are in trouble. I’m used to protecting and caring for them. I’ve had at least 24 years of practice since the last one left home. Lord, help me in my need.

When the kids were young, I could monitor their every moment, control their environment, and guard against any harm that would befall them. Now that we no longer control their environment, where they go, what they do, and who they let influence them, why are so many parents struggling, including me, with letting them go?

Has anyone looked outside lately or turned on the TV at all? The world is a very nasty and scary place. For one, there is a group of extremists that are beheading, stabbing, drowning, torturing, and shooting thousands of Christians to death all over the world for no other reason than that of being a Christian [1]. If that isn’t bad enough, there are the daily crimes and mayhem of murder, rape, corruption, pornography, persecution, and drugs. Do we even have to ask for the reason of our struggle?

At the heart of our reluctance in letting go of our adult kids [2], is obviously the spirit of fear. This spirit can bind us up [3] if we allow it to happen. It really tests our faith. I know that it has tested mine. I am the consummate mollycoddler.

Next week in the second of three segments of Letting Our Adult Kids Go, we will go over the issue of faith and see if the Bible can help us with any solutions. Any dads out there have a story?

[1] Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 5:45. Matthew 24:21. It is the times in which we live.
[2] They’ll always be our kids.
[3] 2 Timothy 1:7

6 thoughts on “Letting Your Adult Children Go

  1. Jim,this is a great blog ….I do remember seeing the commercial about the dad and his daughter (it was a cute one)….Now to get down to being a good parent and letting go …I feel like I tried with my son but somewhere I failed him ….I haven’t had a good relationship with my son since he was a teenager … I have tried and tried and sometimes it is to much to take the negative attitude that comes from him … I can see how God would get angry at His children but I know He loves us ,just like I still love Kent ….I pray for him every day that he will know that I love him and that somewhere in that cold heart of his , he will find respect for others and be the man that God wants him to be and know that his family loves him ,if only he would let us .Maybe that is the problem , that I pampered him way to much as he was growing up … Giving him almost anything that he wanted and trying to please him to much … Then when his daughter came along , the jealously took over and Kent couldn’t hide how jealous he was of the attention his baby girl was getting from me .. Jealously is an ugly thing that can tear a family apart … Sorry , I got away from the main subject but no matter what , it is hard to let go of our children , no matter how they treat us .. I do have the love of his daughter ( whom he gave up for adoption to myself and my late husband)…. Nikki is very special and I thank God for the privilege of getting to raise her and no matter how old she is , she will always be my baby girl …. Thanks Jim


    1. Thank you Barbara for that heart felt story. I’ll email you in next couple of days. GBY and have a great day. And Barbara, (I can say this publicly), you were a very good mother. We can beat ourselves up, can’t we. I know I have and still do a little, but I’m getting better. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by. GB


  2. Uncle Jim I thought the leaf blower was so funny .I think you could have used it a few times.
    I think kids always need there parents some are just more secretive and private but it seems
    when some kids have a problem or need money then they always come running back home but then there are some when there parents die they say I should’ve , would’ve ,could’ve and then it is too late .


  3. Uncle Jim I thought the first part so was funny with the leaf blower I think you could have used that a few times 🙂
    I think kids need there parents some just don’t show it until they really need you if they have a problem and others are very quiet and secretive .It is sad cause sometimes when parents die then you say I would of could should of.


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