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From Teens to Twenties: Transitioning to Parenting an Adult

This past week marked a significant milestone in both my daughter's life and mine – her 20th birthday. I am filled with a myriad of emotions, from nostalgia to pride, and a touch of apprehension. For me, it signifies the transition into a new phase of parenthood – one where my child is no longer a teenager but a young adult carving her own path in the world.

I became an empty nester early, parenting a teenager determined to follow and unconventional path to follow her dreams. From deciding to pursue home schooling to allow for full time ballet training, to the realisation that my daughter was fleeing the nest before her 18th birthday - it was a learning experience for us all. Check out my ‘Letting Go With Grace Blog” about first becoming an empty nester <click here>

Now, as my daughter enters her twenties, I find myself navigating uncharted territory once again. The dynamics of our relationship are shifting, as she asserts her independence and creates her own life. Birthday celebrations are different - we are not planning birthday celebrations around the family, but discussing when would be a suitable time for a birthday catch up.

Oh wow......the realisation that we are not the centre of their world and they need to find a suitable time to catch up with mum and dad!

To be honest I am glad she still she still wants to catch up with mum and dad. We had a picnic brunch by the beach, a lovely relaxing morning.

The transition to parenting an adult child is a significant change -  one that requires a delicate balance of support and letting go. It's about trusting in the foundation we've built together and having faith in her ability to navigate the complexities of adulthood.  The road ahead may be uncertain, but I take comfort in knowing we have an enduring connection no matter where her life journey takes us. 

Transitioning to an empty nest and parenting a young adult taught me valuable lessons I'd like to share:

1. Embrace the Empty Nest: When the house suddenly feels a bit too quiet and your heart aches with the absence of your children, remember, you're not alone. It's okay to feel a mix of emotions – from sadness to excitement. Embrace this new chapter with an open heart and a spirit of optimism. It's an opportunity for personal growth and rediscovery. Trust me, there are exciting adventures awaiting you just around the corner.

2. Prioritise Self-Care: With the nest a little emptier, it's time to focus on yourself. Take this chance to indulge in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment. Whether it's picking up an old hobby, reconnecting with friends, or simply pampering yourself, prioritise self-care. Remember, by taking care of yourself, you're better equipped to support your children as they navigate their own journeys.

3. Maintain Communication:  Just because they're no longer under your roof doesn't mean your children are out of reach. Keep those lines of communication open. Schedule regular check-ins through phone calls, texts, or video chats. Share in their experiences, offer a listening ear, and be there to provide guidance when needed. Your support means the world to them, even from afar.

4. Rediscover Your Relationship

As your children blossom into adults, it's time to shift gears in your relationship. Embrace the opportunity to nurture a friendship with them. Spend quality time together, exploring shared interests and creating new memories. Cherish the chance to deepen your bond in a whole new light.

5.  Embrace Independence: Finally, remember that their independence is a testament to your success as a parent. Celebrate their achievements and milestones, but resist the urge to micromanage. Instead, offer support from a distance, allowing them to spread their wings and navigate the world on their own terms. Trust in the foundation you've built together, and have faith in their ability to thrive independently.

Raising a soft drink to toast my daughter's 20th birthday at home with my husband, some takeaway and TV; I realise how much birthdays have changed. Instead of grieving what was, I cherish the quality time with our daughter, and look forward to many more mature milestones ahead.

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