My mom always told me that she always thought:
1) Your kids needed you home more when very little
2) You could finally stop worrying when they turned 18
She found out, as have I, both are very wrong!
1) They need you home more when in teen years in order to keep them from getting into trouble or following the wrong crowd
2) When they turn 18, the worrying just begins…
Welcome to my journey…
Becoming a mother in my mid-late 30s (after giving up hope), I felt I was more ready for children than most. I had all the wild oats gone, no need to stay on the go and was ready for the sacrifices required to be a good parent in putting my kids FIRST. I quit my job in TV for close to 20 years in order to be home for my kids. Money was tight, yes….but I felt so worth it. No strangers raising my kids, and they would be raised with our ethics and not a babysitter’s.
We put both in private school when our school zone was changed to a school that couldn’t even pass SOLs and was on academic probation. I always allowed the kids to voice their opinion or argue their case (respectively) when wanting to do something I wasn’t sure about. Priding ourselves on teaching independence and common sense, felt our kids would have more of an advantage then most when finally on their own. Instead, our oldest, though very smart academically, turned 18 and all of her common sense fell out of her head, suddenly all her friends were right and mom was just being controlling. The young girl who always asked for my advice or proudly shared her grades, thoughts on boys, hopes and dreams with me suddenly became very secretive. Oh yeah, this after she had an argument with her boyfriend of 2 years and within 1 day was swept off her feet by a 27 year old, divorced man who should have known better than grab a rebounder. Much less someone so much younger – who didn’t even have the chance to figure out who they were yet. My heart was broken. Suddenly, mom is the enemy and he is her world.
Mom, to the horror of her daughter, was no dummy. would ask questions about what was going on….and be right in her comments. How would mom know she was right? Because any and all questions would be met with condescending tones or outright denial. This is very confusing for parents, what happened? Why am I suddenly the enemy? How could she even think I was so stupid, after knowing all these years I was far from it? Two words….
This is something I just didn’t teach her to defend against enough when she was growing up. Why? Because I never had any need to – she wasn’t secretive at all, would talk to me about any and every thing.
Everyone I have spoken with have the same complaint…..outside influence from those who have NO conscience, no upbringing, weren’t close to their own families growing up or even have 1 thought as to how their parents must feel. Instead they fill your young adult’s head with:
“your parents are just trying to control you”
“you are 18 now and whatever you do is none of their business”
“you don’t have to show your grades – the college says so because you’re 18” (btw, she graduated with honors from HS and was always proud to show us her grades)
“I don’t have to have a curfew because I am an adult”
It breaks your heart when suddenly, 18 years worth of relationship, love, devotion and closeness turns to sour tones and having to beg for 3 minutes of their attention. HOW did we get here? WHAT happened?
Apparently this is “normal” for today’s youth…narcissistic friends bring on narcissistic kids. UGH. In being this way they leave trails of broken hearted parents wondering where they went wrong…what did or didn’t they do? I thought I had all the bases covered, listening to friends talking about where they went wrong and correcting those things in my parenting. I didn’t want the “what ifs”. Well, guess what? I think we ALL will ask that same question at one point, regardless of how hard we try. It only takes outside influence to change 18 years worth of dedication…kicking you out completely.
Saddest part is, the young adult doesn’t even realize nor care what is going on….or about the trail of tears left behind. What can you do? NOTHING! You must let them fall flat on their faces, and pray it will be without too severe consequences. You have to build that wall around your heart and just live day to day praying they will finally GROW UP and see that, as their parents, YOU ARE THE ONLY ones they can truly count on – no matter what.
I’m waiting for mine to get her heart broken and life to crumble so we can help her pick up the pieces and move on. She is far from an adult and has no clue what’s ahead of her in life, nor wants any input from us on what’s ahead of her. Yet our gov’t says at 18 they are adults, can even go to war (yet cannot have a beer – should tell you something). At 18 they don’t suddenly gain the wisdom needed to be responsible adults. With FREEDOM COMES RESPONSIBILITIES! Not only monetarily, professionally, but in personal lives as well. They are not finished learning it all yet. Thankfully, once they mature, they wake up to the world and you are friends again. THAT’s the true circle of life.
Stop worrying at 18? Heck no, you will worry even more!