Friday, January 06, 2017

Raising Adults

Why is it?  A question that I ask myself so many times a day.  Why?  Why this?  Why that?

Why is it that raising adults is so much more difficult than raising children?

I used to think raising little children was difficult, and it was, when I was going through it.  It was physically demanding, and exhausting.  There was very little time to do much but deal with children. I raised six of my own, and babysat for 17 years in my home.  Yes, I get it!  I get it that it is difficult, it is exhausting, it is down right emotionally draining.  At least as little children, we have some sort of control over their actions and decisions.  We can give them choices and consequences, and at the end of the day we may feel like we did some good.

Raising adult children, now that's a completely different ball game.  It isn't so much physically draining, but it
Choices, choices
is an emotional drain and exhaustion that never seems to end, and they don't get it.  We still "usually" know what is best for them, but we can't make them do it, and we can't enforce consequences.  They have to make their own choices, and reap their own consequences and we have to sit back and help pick up the pieces.  We can offer advice, but carefully, because if we are not very careful, we cause more hurt than necessary.  There are always consequences, and that sucks, but as parents we can no longer choose those consequences.  We can see from an outside looking in, when they are struggling with depression, anxiety, choices, girl or boy friends, or just friends.  We can see when there are financial struggles, school struggles, marital struggles, and all we can do is hug them and offer to be there for them if they need us.

All we can do is offer, and pray.  Pray they will be smart.  Pray they will listen.  Pray they will follow good examples and see those examples.

I wonder how our parents felt about the decisions we made.  I look back and see that we were pretty bull headed too.  We knew what was best for us, and we didn't really want to listen to them either.  I am sure they were frustrated with us at times.  But I also see that no matter what dumb choices we made, and there were many of them, they always stood by us and helped us pick up the pieces when we fell, and they always celebrated with us when we came out the victor.  I appreciate that!  They showed me how to do it right.

Now I watch, and pray, and hold my breath sometimes, because I see the learning curves certain kids / and / or spouses are going to have to go through, and realize that there isn't much I can do but to love them through it - and it is hard.  Far harder ever than raising little children.  Far harder at the end of the day, when all I can do is pray for them, and leave it in God's hands that the right thing will happen to teach them, and hope that it isn't a really difficult trial to learn.  Yes, it is far harder at the end of the day, with adult children, than it ever was with little children.

Yes, I remember well the physical and emotional exhaustion of raising six children and probably five times that many that were in my home at some point or other, and I feel for you.  All I can give you for advice, if you are reading this, is teach them right when they are little, and I promise it will make raising adult children much less painful.  Teach them to make good choices.  Teach them to be able to tell what are the good choices and the not so good ones.  Teach them to understand.  Teach them to be smart.  Teach them what it means to be a good person.  Just teach them when they are little.  It may seem tough, but so very worth it.  I don't see enough teaching going on in homes today.  Parents are shirking their duty of teaching, leaving it to the world, the school, the daycare, or whoever watches their children, and when these children turn adults, it is going to be so much harder to teach life lessons.

I feel like we taught our children well, and yet it is still difficult to sit back and watch their decisions as adults.  How much worse would it be, if we didn't teach them?  I shudder to think about it.


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