This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Parenting and Adult Kids, Interview with Stacey Lane Clendaniel. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Parenting and Adult Kids, Interview with Stacey Lane Clendaniel
We are joined on this episode by our beloved Stacey Lane Clendaniel. If you are part of our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group or follow us on Instagram or Pinterest, you know Stacey. She is the friendly person behind the friendly posts and conversations!
Almost all of Stacey’s kids are adults now. (Her kid number four graduates from high school this year.) Therefore, she is having lots of hands-on experience learning to be the parent of adult kids. After all, they are graduated and grown, so how to you healthily handle the relationship now?
Stacey and her husband have seven children between them, ages three through thirty. Most of those are adults now. She homeschooled her biological kids through graduation. (Except her son who is graduating from military school this year. He had asked during high school to try out a military prep school, so Stacey went along with it.)
Also, Vicki’s five kids all graduated from homeschooling high school. Not only that, they are all old enough to be college graduates and totally out on their own.
We have had questions about what it is like when the kids are graduated and grown. With that in mind, Vicki and Stacey decided to share what they have learned about being a parent with adult kids.
Of course, we always say there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. Not only that, but there’s not ONE kind of adult kid and not ONE kind of parent of adult kids. However, here are some things we have learned so far.
The operative word for parenting and adult kids is: CHANGE
One of the hard changes is letting go of the role of “I’m the mom who rescues and protects”. Instead, when our kids are adults, we have to let these grown ups be grown ups! They need to make their own mistakes and ask their own questions.
Not only that, but we need to let our adult kids handle their own problems without barging in. Stacey gives an example of her son calling her with the report that he has flat tire. Stacey’s first impulse was to dash to where he is and help. However, her husband reminded her that if he is in a safe location he can handle it. He knows how to change a tire. Therefore, he reviewed the process over the phone with her son and her son did fine.
Talk about what you both need as your relationship matures
It is a good idea to talk with your adult kid about what you both want the relationship to look like at this point in life. Stacey gives the example of her oldest going off to college. She was happy that he felt good about being on his own. However, she did miss him and asked if they could schedule a fifteen minute phone call once a week. This gave her a chance to get updates and him a chance to discuss anything that was on his mind.
Also, discussions can keep expectations clear when they are home again. For instance, our kids in college are often home for the summer or for a while after they graduate. It is a good idea to clarify what you need for them and what they also need while they are home.
As her kids have become adults, Stacey has worked on not being a “heavy equipment mom” who is rushing in to fix things OR giving unasked-for advice. She has become more the listening kind of mom. Stacey has learned that: “I’m not their Holy Spirit.”
On the other hand, she has found she needs more mom-support from her peers. That way she can know that she is not the only mom learning how to be the parent of adult kids.
Stacey also has learned not to be a “Control-zilla”!
Work on ways to connect during this new phase of life
This phase of our adult kids’ lives requires new ways to connect. Find out what THEY like to talk about and are interested in. Ask them about those things.
Also, find tangible activities you can do together and enjoy as adults, such as cooking for special meals. Stacey has found: If you feed them, they will come. She cooks every Friday night and several of her adult kids will drop by!
Another idea is: Have a family text thread for fun conversations and gif-sharing.
Remember: We cannot guarantee the outcomes
As homeschool moms, many of us have hoped that the wonderful atmosphere of homeschooling could help our kids have perfect lives as they grow up. However, in truth, we do not control the outcomes.
We have to let go and let God. We will always pray, but we must allow God to handle the outcomes.
That often means that we must let go of our “rules for the universe”. (Vicki says we all have our rules for the universe whether we are conscious of that or not. For instance, Vicki says her rule for the universe is: Everyone she cares about should be okay, all the time. Of course, she is not God, so she cannot run the universe, so must let God handle all those things.)
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