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5 Reasons To Stop Setting Goals For Your Adult Children

What?! There are folks out there setting goals for their adult children? Um, apparently.

I’m as shocked as you.

Are we living on a compound? Are we jungle people (that kinda seems unfair to those who reside in the jungle)? Are we so fixated on the lives of our children and not our own that we have time for these kind of shenanigans?


READER BEWARE: This post is going to delve into my personal-stylings of grown-ass adult children parenting. Whew. (This is aimed at adult children no longer living at home, or those with one foot out the door, as in they’ve got a plan and are about to execute it.)

Strap in, mah babies. DO IT! (I don’t care if you is grown: I said DO IT!) Here we go!

Reasons to stop setting goals for your adult children:

#5: You taught them well, now leave them be to make their own mistakes and enjoy their own successes.

Listen, I don’t hand out life advice willy-nilly. I’m offering you my love-thump precisely because I have been in your shoes, trying to hang on, trying to make ALL. THE. DECISIONS. Frankly, it’s exhausting being responsible for adult children.

I know you know an easier way. I know you know they’re just making things harder for themselves by insisting on doing it their way. I know you know that if they would just listen to you, just heed your hard-won wisdom, their lives would be so much more…well, your life.

Leave them be, baby. Time to let them fly outta the nest (or encourage with a boot to the behind).

#4: They don’t live at home any more and the words “while you’re living under my roof” don’t apply.

Man, that simple phrase made things easy, didn’t it? My roof; my rules.

Parents are the big-for-their-age intimidating kids on the playground with all the cool toys. If we didn’t like something the kiddies were doing, we’d grab our toys and go home…in a huff…with satisfaction written in our swagger.

Our confidence came from owning everything our kids wanted or needed. They had to listen to us.

Then, they got wise and got their own toys. Once your darlings are out from under your roof, what makes you think they’re gonna listen anyway? They have the ultimate hideout fort, away from your prying eyes and scowl-producing voice; they have their own roof and they ain’t afraid to use it.

#3: They’re making their own coin and with that comes freedom from your parenty apron-stringy tryanny.

Nothing worse for goal-oriented helicopter parents than when kids buy their own plane and airport.  They done got a job and started making their own money and that translates into you having to listen and support (if you know what’s good for you!) instead of insisting they do it your way, based on your experience and your wisdom.

No more to-do lists with goals to accomplish before they’re 30.


HEAD’S UP, BUTTERCUP: the key word there is your.

#2: They be all growed up and trying on adulthood to see if it fits (how else will the learn?).

Remember that time in your life when everything was possible? When you looked out to the horizon and couldn’t make out where it ended? When you could make a choice, bad or good, try it on to see how it fit, then discard it if you wanted to try on something else that looked better?

Let your children have that.

Step back. Watch. Be ready with the antibiotic ointment when they bust open a wound.

Listen. Clap. Clap again. Oh, so much clapping, as they learn how to adult mostly without you nearby outwardly, but carrying you with them inwardly.

Don’t be afraid they’ll never come back. THEY WILL! And, it’s glorious when it happens.

You’ll get a call. They’ll need your help. You’ll play it cool. PLAY IT COOL, PEOPLE! Mostly, you’ll be ready, because that’s what we parents do: we stand by, waiting on the call to serve our sweet potato pies, no matter how old they are.

#5: It’s time better spent on your life, on your dreams.

Sometimes we do things to occupy ourselves in order to avoid the harder things we ought to be doing instead. Setting goals for adult children can be one of those distractions.

Living our own lives after being the Director-in-Chief for our children’s is an adjustment, but one that should be embraced. (see #1)

You have hopes and dreams independent of your kiddos, right? Go after them. Dream big. Be bold (at least as bold as you are with your children).

Acknowledge that you have done all you can in your previous job and it’s time to set your eyes on your new horizon.

Try your new life on. See how it feels to be responsible for your goals and your goals alone.

(SPOILER ALERT: it feels like dancing nekkid in the living room. SO FREEING!)

When we stop setting goals for our adult children, we allow room for everyone to grow and discover on their own terms, which in turn strengthens relationships.

^ This should be reason #6, but then I’d have to rewrite the headline, then redo the graphic..ugh. Nope. OMT has better thangs to do.

And so do you, my babies.





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Tuesday 13th of September 2016

All that wisdom we've gained while living our lives--they have to gain theirs the same old-fashioned way. We can only share ours when we're asked. Sigh. Yet more wisdom to learn.

Patti Tucker

Tuesday 13th of September 2016

You're right and I ~sigh~ with you. ;)

Aimee Fauci

Friday 9th of September 2016

But when do we stop calling them 'adult children' and just adults? Our oldest.. like almost 30-ish adult child never listens and we don't want her to live our life, but we'd like her stop getting married.... and we'd like her to have a man court her more than 2 weeks before she decides to get married after 30 days after dating..

Patti Tucker

Friday 9th of September 2016

Hmm. Well, my son is always gonna be my child, and he's an adult, so for me...never! ;) It's a solid parenting idea to offer guidance to our babes, no matter their age, but all we can do is offer what wisdom we possess and let them do with it what they will. Oh, and pray. I will never stop that! Toughest part about parenting (other than sick kiddos) is knowing you can help, but being rebuffed.

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