You can’t wait to be an empty nester, can you? It’s okay to admit it, go ahead. You and your spouse have devoted hours and hours to the successful growth of your children. You have fed them, clothed them, and driven them to soccer games and Halloween parties. You purchased and drove vehicles designed for the sole purpose of hauling kids and stuff.
Now, it’s hard to believe, but you are on the verge of having successfully raised a self-sufficient adult or two. Your parenting role is about to change as much as your freedom. While you were an authority and used to have the final word, now you are an advisor and voice of reason. What are some of the roles you can expect to play in this transition?
As your kids grow, there is a transition to self-support that happens. This transition is faster in some relationships than others, but eventually, there should be a financial disconnection. Throughout the process, there will be questions, some as simple as what bank to use, to as complicated as retirement investment strategies. Your part is not to know everything; in fact, depending on your kid’s career choice, they may have professional experience over you. Your part is just to guide them as best you can, either through experience or when it is over your head, pointing them to professionals.
If you enjoy cars, you may get drawn into an advising role on their vehicle purchases. Hurried phone calls about what is better, what does this mean, and which is better. You get to sit back and watch their preferences change as their circumstances change. You can expect calls about costs and reliability. This confusion and insecurity will pass as they grow in their confidence and individual security, so enjoy the process.
Real estate agent
You will get a call, or twenty, as they go through the process of entering into renting or buying a home or apartment. Getting them in the place is only the beginning of this advisory role. Decorating consultant, remodeling consultant, gardening consultant, and more are the varied roles you may get to fill. Financing discussions are sure to be a part of your input, as the first house costs and investments can be overwhelming to a new buyer.
Just like when they were little, your adult children will turn to you in their times of pain and illness. You may not be a doctor, but that doesn’t absolve you from being cast into this role. The hard part is this can be one of the most saddening roles you may have to play. You will be a counselor as your kids struggle with some of the hardest things we face as adults. As they face illness on their own or have to deal with the consequences of drug abuse, you as a parent are now in a place of support or advice. Quite often, helping your children through these things may be the hardest role in your life, as you can only have so much influence in their circumstances.
Yes, empty nesting is good, in fact, it is pretty great. Just be prepared to adjust your parenting style as your children move further and further out of your influence. Be ready to watch your advice be ignored flatly and for them to either succeed on their own or deal with their failures.
Parenting an adult may well be the hardest part of having kids.