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Tips for Parenting Adult {Or “Emerging Adult”} Children

britta marie

This has been a BIG year for my 21-year-old! My Britta Marie graduated from college, went on a 3 week trip to Europe, and just 4 days ago got married to her best friend Neil! That’s a whole lot of life packed into one summer! But Britta handled it all with confidence and only a few tears. You see, even though she is officially an “adult” now, at 21 she is still teetering on the edge of youth and full-fledged adulthood. Neuroscientists have determined through brain scans that the brain is not fully finished developing until about age 25.

Psychologists call this life stage “emerging adulthood.”

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As a mother, all this scientific data means one thing…my “baby girl” still has at least a few more years of growing up to do and although she is technically a married “woman” now, I hope I can still “mother” her through the last phases of her development. And if she’ll continue to let me “mother” her from a respectful distance beyond that, that will be icing on the cake!

Britta & Neil
Photo by Isaac Wu Photography

Of course now that she is married, I anticipate any “mothering” will be trickier than before. So what’s the parent of an “emerging adult” to do? How do you strike a balance between being a friend and a mentor to your child? How do you give advice without coming off like a nag?

Here are a few ideas I am trying in order to maintain healthy relationship with my adult kids.

10 Tips for Parenting Adult {Or Almost Adult} Children

  • Listen.  Learn to listen with an open mind and a non-judgmental attitude. Adult children may not want your advice, they may just want a listening ear.
  • Be patient.  Let them come to you for advice and counsel. If you leave yourself open to receive them, they will know it and they will come in search of your wisdom and loving support.
  • Be honest.  Admit when you are wrong. Admitting our mistakes emphasizes that it is OK to make mistakes and that apologizing for them is the right thing to do.
  • Be sensitive to what is meaningful in their lives. Among the great joys of parenting adult children is learning from them. Learn to appreciate them for who they have grown up to be.
  • Be positive.  Focus on what you love about your child and his or her life. No one likes to be criticized.
  • Say “Thank You.”  When we thank our children, we model the behavior we want and we have the pleasure of letting our children know we are grateful to them.
  • Recognize and appreciate their individuality. Every child, young and old is unique. Whether you chose to accept it earlier, or not, when your child is an adult it is crucial that they have your support and encouragement to be themselves.
  • Nurture the relationship.  Friends do stuff together. They talk on the phone, send texts and spend time together exploring shared interests. They respect each other’s busy schedules, but find ways to stay connected.
  • Offer advice with a disclaimer.  Remind your children that it’s only advice and they don’t need to follow it.
  • Be realistic. Remember that a good relationship is not synonymous with a smooth one and that parenting adult children is a work in progress.

Keep in mind that even though your child has achieved young adulthood, there will still be plenty of opportunities for you to do some good mothering. You may even find that this is the age when you do some of your best work.

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The fact that Britta is now 21, the legal drinking age, does not escape me. As an alcoholic in recovery it is one of my biggest fears that I might somehow pass that awful predisposition down to my children. But I try to look at the positives of the situation rather than waste my time worrying about what hopefully will never happen. On the positive side: Britta has had an up-close and all too personal experience with the devastating effects of addiction to serve as a cautionary tale to her and the rest of my children. She also has been educated in how addiction is “no respecter of persons” and has shown great understanding and compassion for those affected by this destructive disease. I believe her decision to major in Psychology in college was in part influenced by the things she experienced as a teenager watching her mother battle addiction. While she could easily have played the role of “victim”, she instead chose to channel what she learned into a positive path…one where she hopes to help others who are going through the same or similar experiences. I know she will be a formidable force for good in the lives of many, many people throughout her life.

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Being given the opportunity to write about my 21-year-old for Blogust ’13 could not have come at a more perfect time. As I stated earlier, this has been a summer full of major life passages for Britta. Watching my daughter sail through them all with grace and confidence has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my mothering career. I am grateful beyond words that the trials that she has gone through thus far in her life have made her strong and compassionate and know that both of those qualities will serve her well as she faces a bright and beautiful future.

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I am also grateful that throughout her life she has been afforded the privilege of proper medical care. Unlike so many other children in the world, Britta has always had the necessary vaccines available to her that have allowed her to sail through her first 21 years free from disease.

Every child deserves a shot at a healthy life, no matter where they live and yet many children in developing countries lack access to vaccines — often because they live in hard-to-reach communities. With your help, global vaccination programs can stop the 1.5 million unnecessary deaths that still happen every year from diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, measles and polio, and ensure that all children, no matter where they live, have a shot at a healthy life.

During Shot@Life’s Blogust, 31 bloggers, one each day in August, are writing about moments that matter. For every comment on this post and the 30 other posts, Walgreens will donate a vaccine (up to 50,000 vaccines).

Sign up here for a daily email so you can quickly and easily comment and share every day during Blogust! Stay connected with Shot@Life at www.shotatlife.org, join the campaign on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. And be sure to check out Chloe Jeffrey’s post tomorrow.

Thanks in advance for your comments!

This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.  Every comment on this post means a life-saving vaccination will be donated to a child in need!

Read This Next


Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

MORE IDEAS FROM

Bright Ideas

  • One thing that I think is huge for parenting at this age: Allow yourself to learn from them. Lots of things have changed since you were that age. They have important information for us. If they are doing things differently, ask them why. You might just be convinced to change as well. I guess this goes along with being able to admit when your wrong.

  • Jillee-

    My husband is the son of an addict. His father was, and still is, a raging alcoholic, not to mention his addiction to illicit drugs during the ’80s and 90s. Although my husband does have some addictive personality issues, he was able to take the lessons he learned from watching his father go through rehab and use them to make himself a better person. He is determined not to make those same choices that his father did. Being the person that you are, and having the strength to go through what you did, and get yourself help, Britta has learned a valuable lesson. She has learned what strength is. Her choices down the road will come from having watched you go through your ideal. Trust in yourself that you have done well by your children, addiction and all. Peace and hugs to

  • I love your 10 Tips for Parenting Adult {Or Almost Adult} Children! Thank you for the tips and for this campaign with @Shot@Life and Walgreens!

  • Nice advice – it’s always hard to pick the balance between guiding them and letting them find their own way.

    Thanks for supporting Shot@Life!

  • Congrats to Britta and Neil! :]

    You made a great list of advice. I’m an “emerging adult” but I’m going to put this list into practice toward my parents (in less of a “do this to teach them” way and more of a “this is what you’ve helped me to learn” way). Thanks for the post and for helping Shot@Life!

  • Congrats on your Recovery. Congrats and Best Wishes to your daughter on her marriage. Thank you for the tips and your participation in Shot@Life.

  • Thank you so much for writing this post and supporting Shot@Life! I’ve volunteered on the campaign since the beginning and believe so passionately in the cause.

  • I truly enjoy reading your short stories while you share what you have learned to be most helpful. You write as if you were there chatting with me, you make me feel welcome on your blog as you share your life’s experiences. You always put a smile on my face or a giggle in my heart. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

  • […] August 21: Jill Nystul, One Good Things – Tips for Parenting Adult (or “Emerging Adult”) Chil… […]

  • This post – like your daughter, and like you – is brilliantly beautiful. Thank you so much for being involved with Shot@Life! (And it was a pleasure meeting you earlier this summer at the bbq!)

  • I appreciate the advice on how to develop an evolving relationship with our young adult children. It does seem true that while they may be ‘grown up’ they still have a way to go. Looking back at myself at that age, I realize how little I knew, how I still needed to really work on myself so that I could become more integrated. This helps me be a little more patient and give them space to keep discovering. We are lucky that in this country , most children do get good health care and vaccines so that they can concentrate on growing up!

  • My 18 year old daughter has just embarked on her first year of national service and I have to adjust to the new reality of her growing up and starting her adult life. Thanks for the advice.

  • I find that parenting my adult children is a bit tricky. They both are still in school and live at home. It is very hard to allow them their freedoms while they are still living with us. Any advice? Thanks for your blog!

  • I love this post Jillee! I have an 18 yr old just going off to college, so I really needed this advice! I subscribe to your emails and religiously read every one. Your ideas are just FAB and are so great for today’s busy families! Keep up the good work Jillee!

  • Hey, I know that girl! Jill, it was so nice to see you at BlogHer and to meet your daughter!

    So glad you’re supporting Shot@Life!

    Jen :)

  • My children are 23and 25, and one difference between now and when they were younger is that they actually allow us to parent now! They speak to us, ask for advice, and listen–and most amazingly, appreciate our help!

    Please don’t neglect immunizations for your little ones. We have to keep on top of it to prevent the recurrence of the most devastating diseases!

  • What a timely post for me. My beautiful daughter is 19 and active duty Air Force. She just got stationed in GA 12 hours from home and is newly married as well. I’ve definitely struggled with needing to mommy her AND keep my mouth shut over the last few months. Luckily for me she is an amazing person and we’re doing pretty well.

    I saw another comment said “yay for vaccinations” and I would like to second that!

  • I got married at 19 and now have been married for 12 years now. If it wasn’t for my mom being there for me to talk to, yell at, vent on, etc. I think my marriage wouldn’t have gone very smoothly those first few years. That’s one thing that I’m so very appreciative of.

  • As a recent ’emerging adult’, these seem like great tips. I think my mother tried very hard during that time to employ a lot of them and find a balance between being a friend and parent at the same time,and it wasn’t always easy for either of us.

    Also, your daughter is a lovely bride!

  • Thank you for the tips on mothering our adult children. And thank you for putting this out there in order to help vaccinate the children that would otherwise not get those vaccines. Even if it’s all I can do by just commenting, glad to help.

  • My eldest is 20 and lives and works on the other side of Europe. Parenting an almost adult from a distance is a challenge but has its many rewards. The idea that they are not fully adult until 25 resonates with me…and scares me slightly when I think I had two children by age 25!

  • I truly appreciate your blog, as I, also, have a 21 year old daughter. Her path has not been as smooth as your daughter’s, but we. too, are navigating our evolving relationship. I find she has a keen mind and excellent insights into our lives. I too, have found your key points to be essential. Blessings to you and yours.

  • I have a daughter that just got married last week at 24 and your advice work will work. Thank you for sharing with us and for helping this great cause.

  • A very moving post – as the mum of adult children I empathise entirely – and will second your advice – I feel blessed that my 34yr old still rings mum when she needs to, and am thankful that we got through our “hiccups” to the other side of the teens!! J x

  • Congradulations on your daughters marriage! I’m a mother to two emerging adults. A daughter 26 who is a nurse and owns her own home and just had weight loss surgery. Before surgery she was very insecure about her self and never had a boyfriend or dated much. Now she is like a butterfly emerging and it is a little scary to see her dating and I hope she will make good choices! My son is 22 and has been a challenge in so far as following through on college classes and he seems to struggle a lot and it depresses him. I am going to print the helpful advice in the blog to help me and his father help him so he can become the wonderful man he is meant to be!

    Thank you!!

  • Your post reflects the natural progression of my relationship with my mother. Every step of my life has gone through my mom’s gradual stages of giving me more freedom and letting go: letting me be free to make my own way yet she has ALWAYS been there for advice or support, no matter my successes or failures. The key is always be there for your child/children with an open heart and open mind. Your post is very insightful, Jillee. Thank you.

  • I too have a married daughter. Our roles do change as Mothers as we have son-in-laws and their families that we share our children with. Our roles as parents to married children do shift. Thank you for your blog, I enjoy it. Congratulations to you beautiful daughter on her nuptials.

  • As my eldest just turned 19 this blog title caught my attention and I’m so glad I read it. Your love and admiration for your daughter could be felt through the entire article. The words of advice were well thought out. I am a 47 years old and still use the ‘well’ that my mother has provided through the years. As my grandfather said, we never stop learning! And I have learned that your parents can be one of your best resources and am very grateful for it!

    Thanks for the great article Jillee!

  • I read your post with interest. Although my/our daughters are over the age of 25 I am always wondering about the best way to have a relationship with them. It is a Very Important part of my life..and obviously yours.
    Thank you…I seem to be doing a good job of it since I am doing what I “should”.
    I lost my Mom when I was not even a teen and I raised my family by intuition and learning what not to do..that was done to me. Any insight into the sometimes difficult relationship with my adult daughters is worth it’s weight in gold.
    Thank you for caring and for passing on your insight.
    Congratulations for adding another person to love into your family.

    Thank you too for this wonderful blog! I can’t tell you how much I have gained from reading it.

  • It was perfect timing to read the 10 tips to parenting young adults.
    My son, 23 is getting married, another son moved out age 24 and our daughter who had her first baby is figuring it out. Three great kids but many new things to learn for all of us.
    I was at a leadership conference the other week and a speaker said that when you help someone who hasn’t asked for help you are either judging their abilities or trying to validate your own self. I think this can be true for mothers of adult children who jump in rather than wait to be asked for advise or help.

    Finding a good balance,
    DD

  • As the mother of a son who will be married this Saturday and a daughter in graduate school, I have been walking the tightrope of parenting adults. Sometimes they are so independent that it seems as though they forget they have parents and other times they look for comfort or advice when things go wrong. Most times, I think I am managing it pretty well. Thanks for the tips.

  • Ref-Big year for my 21year old, healthy adulthood provided by parenting&motherhood is best biological
    gift to the society.Emerging adulthood should address socio-culture aspects as complete value based education/career/social process responsible for better society development.Parenting at this phase should share life experience/teaching/priority decision for future family/social life with emerging adulthood.

  • Such lovely words and so wonderful to see a parent who recognises they are blessed with the privileged to parent a child, do it well and delivery an emerging adult with good moral grounding that will give to the world. I am sure that your words will provide guidance for others as the walk the rocky road of parenting.

    With so much happening in the world; Chris Lanes needless shooting, the gas attack in Damascus, my heart is often so heavy with sorrow and my mind wonders….why? Who raised the children/emerging adults and even adults that let society down. How do we break this cycle???? Why do people act so badly towards others???

    But this idea is great….paying it forward with good words and support. Vaccines for kids that need it is a wonderful way to make a difference!!! We can only hope that by nurturing and giving to those in need, the world will be rewarded with more GOOD people.

    Thank-you for being passionate to care, parent this emerging adult , because our world needs so many more. Good luck to all parents…raise good kids and love them with all of your hearts!!!

  • Thank you so much for this post. My son went to college last year and has lived on his own since he started. Some days are just hard with the quiet here at home. I miss him so much but would never want to hold him back from his dreams. When I think about him I say a prayer for him and text him to check in. Now I don’t text him every time I think of him because that would get really annoying. I look forward to every visit.

    You are a great Mom. Your daughter is lucky to have you.

  • Beautiful advice…..the next decade will be so exciting for you…my 31 year old daughter is my best friend. She recently had her first child (my granddaughter is 9months old) and just went back to work part time. We’ve gone from the mothering, to the I can do this on my own, back to the Mom, how do you do…. It’s been a great ride….I’ve learned so much from her and am so very proud of the young woman she’s become.

    Oh, and babysitting my granddaughter has brought new meaning to my life as I mother another generation.

  • Good advice. Thanks for sharing it. Lovely daughter and lovely pictures. She resembles you. Best wishes for Britta and Neil; may they have a wonderful and fun trip through life together.

  • Thank you for sharing part of your story and for being part of this amazing campaign. It is very rewarding to know there are people out there like you who share my passion to help make this world a better place every way we can. May your kind spirit lead you and yours down paths of happiness and health always. All the best, Vivian

  • “Be honest. Admit when you are wrong. Admitting our mistakes emphasizes that it is OK to make mistakes and that apologizing for them is the right thing to do.” <–great advice that we try to follow as well. Thank you for role modeling, and for contributing to this fabulous campaign.

  • Well done article. I have always said my greatest accomplishment in life is raising 2 thoughtful,respectful well mannered sons. I always made sure that I taught them to cook,clean, do laundry,and even sew a button or hem . I want my daughter in laws to love me !!

  • I am not a proponant of vaccines. America’s overall health for developed countries is 28th in the world. Vaccines from America have been killing infants in other countries. Have you not been reading the news lately ? A great web site for vaccine info is NVIC .We have some of the sickest children in the world and one of the highest death rates among infants in their first year of life. I have been a nurse for over 30 years and i have seen first hand the increasing illnesses and allergies brought on by our health care system. It has gotten worse, not better in the time i have been a nurse. We are doing many things wrong and we need to rethink what we are doing and stop being led by big pharmaseutical companies who spend billions lobbying in Washington.
    I implore you to educate yourself about vaccine safety by going to some of the web sites not sponsered by pharmacuetical companies and read the stories of some of the thousands hurt by some of these vaccines.
    Respectfully yours, J , Espo

    • So how do you merge this opinion with the fact that Polio has been eradicated in the United States? The unhealthy children probably has a lot more to do with anti-bacterial everything than with vaccines. And if you look at the data, states that have the highest percentage of unvaccinated children also have the highest rates of illnesses that can be prevented by vaccines. Health care probably does need a reform, but not giving people vaccines definitely isn’t the answer to keeping people healthy.

  • Hi Jillee,
    You really are a pretty great mother. I had never really thought about how to be a mother to an adult; it really is kind of a weird idea.

  • A close friend told me that a child is lent to us by God. Sooner or later, we have to let them go so that they can spread their wings and go out into the world. This won’t be easy for many parents because they have cared for their children for a long time and are hesitant about letting them go. You have found true courage with all the wonderful things that happened to your daughter throughout summer. Congratulations to you and to your daughter!

  • That was a beautiful post about your daughter and how to be a good parent. Somehow, I wished my parents did all the things that you have listed. But at the same time because they did not do majority of those things, I became the person I am today. I am respectful, truthful, dedicated, and loved. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and advice.

  • As a 23 year old myself, I know I still need my mom to “mother” me! Sometimes I feel guilty that I still need so much help. Thanks for this reminder that it is normal for my mom to still have such a significant role in my life.

  • I was 21 when I first became ill with digestive problems that got progressively worse, and my parents have been so good to stand with me all the way and beyond. I have been fortunate to have them on my side, listening and helping, along with medical technology and knowhow that has amazed me and saved me. I am certainly in support of anything that would aid in others getting better health care as that is one of the main reasons I am still here. For example, I have had a six organ transplant and currently am being helped, to gain weight and get in all the nutrition I need, by a temporary gastric stimulator. I remain ever grateful to so many, and I am glad that those writing want to give back too in several ways.

  • It’s been only a few years since I left this stage, but I can only hope when I’m at the other end (in about 15 years), I do it with as much grace as you described.

  • Today the baby of my four living children turned 17, so it was the perfect day for this post! I really liked your list, but I also believe that at times we do have to stand our ground over issues. Maybe I will have no actual power behind it, if the child in question is over 18, but there are times you still have to make your beliefs known. Those are also the Times it seems that my one son in particular would come back to me and say, “you were right, guess I just had to prove it.” Thank God those earlier times helped later issues when he decided maybe he could take my word for it! LOL! I would tell him to please, let me make the mistake that you can learn from, and now he does.
    As a parent I would much rather my child be smart and learn from my mistakes rather than prove them over again. Sometimes they do. Other times I just hope that the lesson learned isn’t too painful, although at times it has to be. And then I hope I can help them heal from it without too big of a scar. :)
    Yes, you have to give them room to grow, but I never want them to ask me why in the world I didn’t warn them that something was stupid!!

  • Your Britta is beautiful and sounds like she is a beauty on the inside as well. You must be so proud. As a school psychologist, I can say we need more enthusiastic girls to mentor needy teens.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • A timely reminder as my own children are in or nearing this phase of life. It’s been fun learning to relate to them on more of a peer level. And, btw, beautiful bride! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • Thank you so much for your wise words. It did my heart good to see vaccines being promoted. As a public health professional working in communicable disease control, I too frequently see the consequences of not vaccinating. I follow your postings regularly and always look forward to your next posting.

  • Lots of milestones for that young lady. I’m glad someone else is enjoying 2013 as much as I am! Thank you for bringing in the ideas of health care and global vaccination directly into your blog post. It’s why we’re all here right? Excellent post, both for your advice on parenting adult children (be positive) and for reminding us that others in the global community are not so fortunate.

  • She sounds like an amazing young woman. Congratulations to all her recent life event/changes. Must be an incredible feeling to watch your daughter blossom into such a lovely young person.

  • This is such a heart felt blog, as an adult daughter that married young I can relate to the changing relationships mothers, and mother-in-laws face with their new young adult daughters. I would say giving plenty of space for growth and independence is the greatest thing my parents have given me, because then, they were always there when I needed them to be. If they had hovered over me, I wouldn’t have felt liKe they were a good source for refuge.

  • My mom and I are estranged right now all because of her constant criticism and judgement. I wish she had read these rules 6 months ago. Best wishes on earning vaccines!

  • Congratulations Britta!! :) And as the mother of a 19 year old son, this emerging adult relationship can be very hard. Here’s to “mothering” just a little while longer :)

  • TY Jillee…as always, your content, style, TRANSPARENCY, wisdom, and candor have made a terrific presentation! By your example, you demonstrate how to celebrate your gifts, while acknowledging your weaknesses and how you move through them, or even “use them for the forces of good”…you are a rare woman Jillee, and we appreciate you!!

    I had three philosophies in raising my children…
    1) I love & will be devoted to YOU…not as an extension of my myself, but as YOU and all that YOU are–strengths and weaknesses both. I will forgive you (as He forgave us), and I will stand next to you as YOU accept responsibility/held accountable for what you do.

    2) I am raising YOU to be a “successful” adult…this means a law abiding good citizen who can keep a job, & have successful relationships in your personal life & work life; these are the foundation of a “good life”.

    3) and finally…”If God had intended you to raise yourself then you would have been HATCHED FROM A EGG, and not entrusted to ME. Your not gonna make me look bad.”

    Yes…I live my life with a sense of humor (and irony too, LOL!).

    Lastly…like you I was transparent with my children about mistakes (and how I made them) and successes (and how I pulled that off)…not because I LOVE to talk about myself, but to share how I came about knowing what I know. Neither of them repeated my mistakes, but managed to make their own (LOL!)…yes, they accepted responsibility & the consequences and learned by it all…I call that success :-)

    Today…I am more of myself then I ever was when I was actively being their “24/7” Mom–I have activities and interests and successes of my own (Yea Mom!). They are my adult children, who are my favorite friends, who share their lives, and we root for each-other always…they for me (and my new husband), and us for them. One of those children announced they were having a baby at the beginning of Senior year (not a highlight)…and that little girl (adore HER!) & her Mommy are now part of this “2013 Walton’s Family”.

    “Lather, rinse, repeat”…

  • Thanks Jillee. Very timely advice as both my children are emerging adults. I have always said that parenting gets harder the older the children are. All excellent points to keep in mind.

  • I absolutely ADORE your daughter’s wedding gown. So original and beautiful. As an ’emerging adult’ myself I can totally relate to still holding on to your youth but needing to flourish as an adult. Parent’s are so integral to this! Thanks for such a beautiful post!

  • My 30 year old daughter lost her precious dog this morning, the first one she calledat 5:30am ? MOM. My 26 year old has 2 babies 2, and 14 months, who she calls for advice? MOM
    My 21 year old just received her LVN license after a one year program, who got her her first job? MOM

    No matter their age, they still need their mama’s. Great advise Jillee…..Wait till the grand kids start arriving,, it’s really awesome!!!!!

    Like that I don’t have to cook and clean as much, but all three still bring me their tough laundry jobs. My nickname? The Laundry Fairy! LOL!

  • Thanks for such a great post. It is hard when they grow up and move on. We are so afraid for them and don’t want our kids to have any of the bad things to happen to them. It’s called Love.

  • What a great reminder, beautifully written and thank you for sharing. Just and add on though this is a great reminder that your list doesn’t end after 25. It’s a great reminder for all the continuing years because mothering never ends it just gets better when you remember these tips.

  • My goodness – you sound like such a wonderful mother…and I remember the time when I was experiencing these same times with my daughter and then just last year with one of my granddaughters. Your advice is so on target…advice that I need to remember as I continue my relationship with my grown children and now grown grandchildren with whom I have a very close relationship….just so tempting sometimes to try to make things happen “my way”.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • As the Mother of adult children, I love your tips and have to remind myself often, they are adults now. All any of us can do is the best we know to do at the time :)

  • Our princess ballerina just turned 21 and moved out to be closer to work and friends. I know she’s a beautiful capable young woman and I am so proud of all oh her accomplishments. I know she will make wise decisions and ask for help and advise when she needs it. But her daddy is having a hard time. I think I will have him read this post. The leash and chock collar are keeping him under control for now, but oi vey, he’s such a jewish mother.

  • I am 46 and my mother still “mothers” me. :D This used to drive me absolutely crazy because I just wanted to be my own person. But now I just sigh and roll my eyes because I am old enough to recognize her mortality and that soon enough, she will be in another place and I wish she was still here.

    Nevertheless, I should post this on my refrigerator because I have a 27 year old and guess what I’ve become? You got it, my mother. :D

    Charlotte

  • As a very proud mother of 3 adult, and a 9 yr old girls, and one 7 yr old grandson… Any information any one can pass on to help others out during the trials and tribulations of all life’s stages is more than welcome into my days! Learning disabilities have plagued all three of the older girls and they have all become successful anyhow with hard work and determination. It is definitely difficult not to be opinionated when you see something happening you don’t feel is right– and I personally have a knee jerk reaction at most times– however I am learning to shut my mouth as they are proving all the time that they are mature and are indeed adults now…. they simply tell me “I just need you to listen”… so I shut my mouth with that casual reminder… ..I’ve been learning something new from my kids since the day they were born– and still learning.. :-)

  • Thank you for sharing. Your tips for parenting adult children are just what I needed to read. I have a son that is 20 years old, and I am really trying to be more patient, and positive, to listen more, to stay connected with him….all of what you put on your list. Congratulations to your daughter for all of her wonderful accomplishments this summer and I am wishing her a long healthy, happy marriage!!!

  • Very well written. Best wishes for your daughter and new son-in-law. What a blessing to have such a wise Mom who respects her emerging adult with grace and unconditional love. Cheers!

  • Thank you for your advice and counsel on this and many other subject. I thin it is fabulous that by making one comment I can make a difference in some many children’s lives. Thank you.

  • I am very pleased that your daughter has not become an alcoholic. I am also an ACA but succumbed and started drinking at 15. I quit the year I turned 40, and the disease wreaked hell in my life. Thank God I will mark my 24th birthday this year (I am actually 64)! Of course I realize now that it was my choice to start and continue drinking, but that disease is very powerful! Best wishes to you all…

  • As a technical “adult” now I still look to my parents for help and guidance. They have always been my rock and even though their girls live far away we always make time to connect everyday and it helps all of us.

  • Wonderful post. This is all important stuff for me to keep in mind for my children down the road (mine are 2 yrs and 4 months old).

    I hope that the goal of 50,000 vaccines is reached!

  • This blog is timed with exactly my daughter and our lives. My beautiful daughter Anna just turned 21 and also just got married. I knew that some of what I was able to share with her growing up had taken root when she asked that her birthday present be a special sale for men’s suits – 4 for one – for her husband. She shows much kindness, sharing and understanding and has a tender heart. As she has had many challenges with learning disabilities, I am grateful that despite those frustrations she is growing into a woman I admire and like. What a gift!

  • Great post! Jillie, your daughter is beautiful, and it sounds like the two of you have a beautiful relationship. Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

  • You never stop being a mother, ever. Now you get the joy of being more of a friend than a teacher, although the teaching role never ends.
    Yay for vaccines!!

  • What a wonderful reminder that we need to be there for our young adults and support them without overprotecting them. My daughter just left for college this week, so I am getting to experience this first-hand. Sending out prayers for all the parents who are doing their best to let their “babies” go out into the world to make their own way!

  • Excellent advice. Not always easy to follow but the principles are absolutely true. As the Mom of your daughter-in-law, I so appreciate knowing that she has you to emulate on a daily basis. I couldn’t ask for a better mother-in-law for her, and can’t forget the Hubster! What a great father-in-law he is for her too! Brings peace to my soul knowing she has so many family members there who love and care for her and will be there when I can’t be. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss her terribly, but I can have confidence that she’s in good hands. I know I made plenty of mistakes raising her, but I think she turned out to be an intelligent, vivacious, insightful, loyal, dedicated, spiritual and delightful, beautiful adult woman. Being close to having her 27th birthday, she’s no longer “emerging”, she’s made it! Unfortunately, she’s really terrible about calling me and keeping in touch! Lastly, I couldn’t ask for a better son-in-law either! She made the perfect choice in an eternal companion and that means the world to me. Love you guys! Miss all of you! Hope this helps with the vaccine program! I’m a huge believer in having your children vaccinated from infancy. And as a “mature” Senior Citizen, I encourage other seniors to get a Shingles Vaccine! Just had mine last week. Didn’t hurt a bit and it’s great knowing I won’t get shingles!

  • A beautifully written expression of a mother’s observarions and advice which mirror many of my own thoughts. Often the best advice we give is not with our words, but with our actions lived daily on the stage called life. May one little person somewhere in this world benefit from the ability to fight at least one dread disease because of this humbly delivered comment. I am so grateful for all the health options I and my family have been privledged to experience.

  • That is one big year! I know you will be happy later that you took the time to chronicle this major turning point in your daughter’s life. Best of luck to both of you.

  • I love the advice you posted! Excellent! Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ll have to print it out and put it up where I can see it plus carry a copy with me until I have it memorized! My sons are both grown and married, ages 30 & 25 and both happy so I’m hoping I did some things right as they were growing up. We’re still close and I enjoy that so much. My daughter in laws are wonderful young women and we have a good relationship too.
    You & your daughter are beautiful women and I wish you, your daughter & her husband all the best in life1 Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos! You’re a wonderful mother! Thanks for sharing your story and for helping to give kids the vaccines they need! : )

  • Thanks for sharing. It seems, not too long ago, I was an emerging adult. It has been longer than I care to admit. As the mother of one myself, I’m finding it hard to let go. thanks for your advice and reminders of what I am doing right and what I still need to work on.
    I’m so glad to live in a country where health care sees to preventing disease. My parents remember standing in line for the polio vaccine. My mother remembers an absent brother who was recovering from polio in a hospital. My uncle remembers six months in an iron lung and years recovering from this disease. He says it’s by the grace of God he pulled through without any lasting effect from this horrible disease. I remember chicken pox. My husband remembers it from when he was four. My children don’t.
    What a blessing.

  • An eleventh tip for you and (hubster).

    Congratulate yourselves for reaching the point to successfully launch an ’emerging adult’ into the world.
    Knowing that you’ve done the job you set out to do twenty-one years ago makes the transition easier.

  • Thank you for sharing your daughters story and beautiful wedding pictures! I also married at 21, and 6 years later am still in love with my husband + four kids (all fully vaccinated). I hope to give other young families the same opportunity to raise healthy children by supporting Shot@life and Blogust participants. Once again thank you!

  • Great post! Thanks for all the good advice. As the mother of an only child (son) who is 24, very independent and about to be married, I find myself facing all of these things. Appreciate and enjoy your daily blogs!

  • Thank you so much for this article. My oldest daughter just turned 20 and finding that delicate mothering balance has been tricky at best. I truly appreciate your shared wisdom and think I will print off your tips to have handy when I need them.

    Your daughter is beautiful and best wishes to her and her husband and to you during this new phase in your lives!

  • Thank you. This is a beautiful, moving and loving post. Congratulations on your recovery and on turning into such a caring, sensitive parent.

  • Thank you for your blog post today. Great tips! As a mother of a soon to be 21 year old son, it is hard for me to remember that he’s not my little boy anymore!

  • Thanks for this timely post! My 20 yr old daughter is in the process of moving out and my almost 18 yr old son is a senior. Finding time together is becoming more and more difficult!

  • Thanks Jillee, I love this post about its contents and also for the gift of vaccines. Thanks, I wonder if having life altering experiences at 21 have any affect on the growing brain? I did and it made me change fast in a hurry not so childlike but definetly more of an adult. Take care and congrats to you and your daughter . Hugs C

  • Jillee-I look forward to reading your email Every day. This is the first time I have ever commented on any blog,email,website , Internet, etc. but I felt propelled today.
    Thank you so much for all the sharing you do. You have made my life better and the lives of so many others better I am sure. Congratulations to you and your family on your daughter’s wedding.- Beth

  • I have a daughter who is 46 and my best friend. I have one who is 44 and does not speak to me nor her sister (very long story). I am trying to exhibit patience and letting her know I am here when she is ready to return. I miss her so much but pray and believe things will change someday. Thanks for the reminders.

  • What a thoughtful and insightful post on parenting an “emerging” adult (sometimes I feel like I’m still an emerging adult!). My sons are 13 and 16 and already I can see the need to back off and let them become who they are (with love and guidance of course). Thanks for this.

  • I love adult children – they are helpful, loving and enjoy our company. Watching them tangle with some of lives issue show how much they have learned from us and others. They continue to be a project in progress. Wonderful.

  • You father and I are very proud of you, Jill! We have loved you through EVERY trial you have experienced, and our lives are better for having done it. We see the Hand of the Lord in your conquering the extremely difficult times that were a major part of your life at one time, and we can clearly see the growth you have made in overcoming them. You have dealt with them, conquered them, and put them behind you, using this newfound energy of yours, to now help your beautiful family and so many others throughout the world. We are extremely proud of you Jill. You are a wonderful daughter, wife, mother, and friend to all.
    May the Lord continue to hold you in the Palm of His Hand throughout the rest of your life, that you may always be an emmisarry for good.

  • Beautifully written! My husband is going through his own battle with alcoholism and I hope that my 3 daughters can grow and learn from his experience too.

  • Our kids are all in their 40s now. The joys and pains are still there. And yes, we still parent in different ways every day! But they also parent us a little too. It’s a nice exchange!

  • Love your Blog and this post. I just sent my only child off to his first year at high school and my thoughts have drifted to the day that he will no longer need me. I will file this one away to remind me how to be there for him as he gets older.

  • This is a lovely photo essay and a wonderful tribute to your daughter. Thanks for sharing Jilly! There is something wonderful about seeing your child reach the age of 21 successfully. Here’s hoping that more moms in the world will have this chance with better healthcare for their children.

  • Beautiful post… both gentle and powerful in its message. To have mothered a daughter with such grace, confidence, understanding and compassion is a tribute to you and a foreshadowing of her future. Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter, personal bits of your life and your perfect “tips” for parenting emerging children. And thank you for your great care of our bigger world, too, with your support of Shot@Life…

  • Britta made a beautiful bride! Best of wishes to her! Love your suggestions. I, too, am at the same stage of life with adult children. It’s important to let them learn from their mistakes and not be too quick to jump in.

  • […] August 21: Jill Nystul, One Good Things – Tips for Parenting Adult (or “Emerging Adult”) Chil… […]

  • Your daughter is beautiful! And what great advice. Parenting does change when they become adults, and marriage changes it even more. Being open, being willing to listen, and being willing to admit when you don’t know, or you’re wrong, are so important to maintaining a close relationship with your adult children. Thank you for reminding all of us that parenting never really ends. It just changes.

  • Jillee, what a gorgeous post! Congrats on your beautiful daughter’s marriage and all her accomplishments. I loved how you described adult parenting as “some of your best work yet”!

  • Such wonderful advice so well and lovingly delivered. As my son approaches 21 (in a couple of days) I have been reflecting on how similar the relationship is evolving to the one I have with my mother. At 51 I still go to my mother for advice and venting and she does the same with me. I am enjoying this evolving relationship with my son and cherish it just as I have each stage of his life, even the more challenging ones. There will always be bumps along the way because that’s life and relationships but the growth and change happen naturally in the rite time if you let them and I have decided that despite my personal regrets (for lack of a better word) the way our relationship is evolving is an indication that we did a good job with the fundamentals, my husband and I have always been a good balance. Obviously you and your DH have done the same and will continue to reap the benefits. I so enjoy experiencing life with my son and thankful he shares it.What a wonderful opportunity you and shot@life have given me to celebrate that joy!

  • Congratulations on a job well done. Your daughter looks very happy with Neil. I have two teen girls, so I’m not far behind you. Thanks for the wonderful advice.

  • A good friend of mine once advised me that at this time of life, as parents, we must become a WELL and not be a GEYSER. Allow them to come to us for help and information and not just blow our thoughts and opinions all over them. When I do this, it seems they come around moss often.

    • I love the well/geyser comment above!

      Jillee, thank you for this great article! I become an empty nester this week!! (Sort of) my 22yr daughter graduated this yr & moved to Portland. My 20yr son lives with her to finish college. This week I take my 18yr old twin boys to seperate colleges. Far away also. Bring on the tears! But I have found your advice to far to have worked.
      I said “sort of” because we became foster parents this past year. So we will have little ones off and on :)
      Yay for the vaccinations!

  • As what I guess is defined as an “emerging adult” myself (although I have been married for 3 years and have a little one of my own!), I appreciate these down-to-earth parenting tips. I think part of growing up is realizing our parents may not have been “perfect” and neither are we — we are all here to love and support each other the best we know how to, and I hope my Babygirl grows up feeling secure and confident in the advice I have to give when she is my age :)

  • Thank you for supporting the vaccine program.
    Congratulations to your daughter AND to you as you now have a son-in-law!
    Thank you for blogging as I get so many good tips from you and your friends~

  • I struggle with this everyday…having 2 daughters 21 and 23 I was a awesome mom
    (i think) but not so sure about a awesome mom to adult children. Thank You for this post its nice to know I’m not the only one.

  • This is great advice for the relationship between parents and their “almost adult” children. If the relationship started on good grounds from early childhood, it should be easy to implement this advice.
    Your daughter is beautiful, by the way. Married life has its challenges for everyone, so it is wonderful that she married her best friend!
    All the best to you and your family!

  • I was JUST saying I needed some good tips on this exact topic. With an 18 year old (out of the home) and three little ones (5 and under), I catch myself still Mommying WAY too much cause I’m always in Mommy Mode….and I will always see her as my baby!

    Thanks Jillee

  • Thank you for your candor, your advice, and for sharing your beautiful daughter with us. And thanks to Walgreen’s and Shot@Life for everything you’re doing for kids aroudn the world, so they can grow up to be emerging adults themselves.

  • I have always referred to my children as junior adults…I would like to add that the relationship you have with your parents is an additional lesson.

  • Thank you so much for this post and for helping get vaccines! You are a wonderful lady and a blessing to us all. Your daughter is beautiful and I pray they have a long and happy marriage.

  • I cleaned out my subscriptions yesterday but left yours and two or three others. You always have such a wonderful outlook on life. Thank you for teaching me. I have an teenage granddaughter and you insight will help guide me.

  • Thank you for sharing such a personal and special time of your life with us, your readers. I appreciate your transparency and value your life experience, Jillee. With regard to listening more than speaking, I have learned to tell myself that “my opinion is much too valuable to be given away for free.” That way, my children and I both benefit!:)