How to Let Go and Let Your Child Grow Up

Updated on July 22, 2018
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Janis counseled many populations during her career including children and families in need of parenting skill assessment and interventions.

Letting Go of Parental Attachment is Easier Said Than Done

The mother-daughter bond of love and friendship is hard to break when it's time to let her grow up and become a young adult.
The mother-daughter bond of love and friendship is hard to break when it's time to let her grow up and become a young adult. | Source

Letting Your Child Grow Up

As children prepare to advance in school or enter college for the first time, parents are confronted with the reality of the child growing up. The parent is suddenly faced with letting go of a parental attachment held from birth.

This notion of "letting go" can create levels of anxiety most parents could not have prepared for, with an intensity they did not expect. Many report experiencing feelings of grieving a loss.

It is much easier said than done when the time comes to break the parent-child connection which begins the establishment of a child's autonomy and independence.

Whether it's the end of breastfeeding, the first day of kindergarten, going away to college, or walking the bride down the aisle to give her away, it can be a most difficult tug-of-war for a parent.

Children Need to Grow Up and Venture Out on Their Own

Letting your child go is like letting him walk down a dark tunnel without you. But it's inevitable in order for them to venture out on their own.
Letting your child go is like letting him walk down a dark tunnel without you. But it's inevitable in order for them to venture out on their own. | Source

Fear of Letting My Child Grow Up

What is your greatest fear of letting go of your child?

See results

Letting Go in Stages of Your Child's Development

These events in your child's development mark the times when you let go and allow your child to take another step toward becoming a free-standing human being.

The teenage years are probably the most difficult, as you have less and less control over your child's developing autonomy and need to make his own decisions.

Your child begins in earnest to move away from his dependency on you. The poem below, "For My Child," speaks to this struggle and the reconciliation as seen from the parent's point of view.

"For My Child"


I make my plans for you from birth

Carefully carving out your worth


So wrapped up in who you'll be

I neglect your individuality


I want to protect you all your life

Keep you safe from danger and strife


Temptation and pressure attack you all day

How as a parent can I keep it away?


I pray that you'll receive God's grace

And when you need to, slow your pace


Will my guidance be enough?

To guard and keep you from all that stuff?


My goal in life is to see you succeed

What's the best way to plant that seed?


I'll give you the room to make a mistake

I'll trust you with each step you take


I'll tell you "I LOVE YOU" when you make a mess

I'll tell you "NO" when I want to say, "YES."


I'll give you the space to set your tone

Adjust my expectations as you create your own.


[JLE 2006 Poetry Verse Form: Heroic Couplet]

Overparenting: Recognizing Your Dependency Needs

Becoming aware of what's behind your need to parent your child indefinitely is a good place to begin your letting go process. Sorting out those mixed feelings preventing you from letting go is the first step toward understanding and conquering one of the most painful parts of parenting. It requires looking within.

The emotional struggle could be due to your own dependency needs supplied to you by your child. In my work with parents, some have spoken about the strength of the "love bond" between parent and child. This love bond supplies the parent's need for love, affection, and companionship.

They admit how this bond affects their ability to separate from the child, causing emotional conflicts and disruptions in their personal and professional lives. Examples of these disruptions experienced by parents include:

  • Delays in using a sitter to care for the child
  • A frequent need to "reconnect" or check on the child's welfare at daycare or college
  • Being unable to socialize or vacation for long or extended periods of time
  • Relationship conflicts stemming from decreased intimacy and quality time between parents
  • Delayed weaning of child from your bed to his own bed
  • Conflicts about obligations to career choices/commitments to shift work, especially where basic childcare or breastfeeding is interrrupted

Defining Parental Attachment

Letting Go Creates Guilt and Internal Conflict for Parents

The conflicts and disruptions noted above are experienced by many parents, especially mothers. In these instances, primarily occurring during the child's early development, feelings of guilt, conflicts between loyalties, and the internal struggles to make sacrifices can overwhelm a parent.

The truth is, for a parent, there is no other love that compares to the love a mother or father has for a child and the responsibility that comes with caring for and protecting that child.

Thus, a parent is operating out of pure love, reciprocated by the child, which creates the intense, unexpected love bond that is hard to break.

It's no wonder parents have a tough time letting go and allowing the child to become independent. No event is more significant for a parent to experience that emotional flood of protective love than when a teenager enters college.

The increased reports in the media of violence in public school classrooms, on college campuses, and in places of recreation add to the gut-wrenching fears parents have when faced with having to let go of their children.

Parents Talk About Letting Go of College Bound Children

Tips to Help You Let Go of Your Child

There is no exact way to tackle and move through stages of your child's development. Every child requires different parenting as every parent will do his best based on knowledge, experiences, and available parenting tools.

The following are basic tips to assist parents as they move through the difficult transition of letting go, when that time comes. Starting early will help create a good foundation upon which you can build successes at each critical stage of your child's development.

  • Set boundaries for yourself; practice giving your child space to grow
  • Give your child a chance to master tasks alone and learn from mistakes
  • Trust that the values you've instilled will inform their decisions
  • Acknowledge that you've done your best as a parent and that the hands-on phase of parenting does come to an end
  • Treat the letting go process as a transitional loss and grieve accordingly; see a family therapist if necessary
  • As your child matures, rebuild a new relationship that is less about dependency and more about mutual respect, admiration, and a celebration of a budding, capable young adult

Children Learn to Discover the World on Their Own

Letting go of your child allows her to independently explore and discover the world.
Letting go of your child allows her to independently explore and discover the world. | Source

Questions & Answers

© 2013 Janis Leslie Evans

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    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 weeks ago from Washington, DC

      You're situation is complicated by financial constraints. It seems that you and your children are dependent upon each other financially which makes it difficult to move toward independence. In order for the dynamic between you and your children to change, a major shift in relationships will have to happen. That means one of you will have to decide to step away and become self-reliant. I wish you and your family well. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Lilly 

      4 weeks ago

      I live with my adult children.WE all live together, but seperate, but yet still kind of close.This is due to finances basically. The situation has caused a lot of stress and we can barely talk to one another.I know they would much rather be on their own,I have even tried talking to them about how they might be able to do this.Yet ,its in our best interest to get a house and move ,a house with enough space where they can kind of be somewhat on their own.But,because they have so many issues with each other,and me as well, i'm doubting we can find a big enough place with the small finances we have available now.Neither of them understand how difficult this is for me, none of them really talk to me,when i try to que they shut me down and blame me for our situation , or just try to come up with a worse solution ,like partnering up with another person to get a house. As i have mentioned to them, if they can each find a way to just get theit own small place , that will be best. They honestly dont realy want me around,they tolerate me, but they dont really talk to me.I figure I may as well just live alone.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      6 weeks ago from Washington, DC

      Sounds like she needs more opportunities for autonomy and independence. She may benefit from structured social or recreational activities to increase social skills and interaction with other teens. Look for events in your area either through community listservs, meet-ups, volunteer work, or church groups for her to attend. The bottom line is she may make mistakes or stumble without you but she needs the chance to learn from it. I hope this helps, thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Teen 

      6 weeks ago

      Hello my 18 year daughter is not matured she is not independent. She dosent know how to act like a adult or to do simple task. For she still acts like a 14 year old. What can i do she is smart but she dosent do anything to learn about being independent. I afraid to let her go out cause she dosent pay attention to anything.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      2 months ago from Washington, DC

      It is still early to take it all in, so it's normal to cry for a while. He's your last one to eventually leave home so you're grieving what that means. You will need time to adjust to the void of not having your special "handyman" around. The time will come when your delight about his accomplishments will replace missing him so much. You will realize he's on the right path to becoming an adult and feel so proud of him. Take good care of yourself and let the tears flow as you embrace this major milestone in his life and in yours. Thank you so much for reading this article.

    • profile image

      Buffy Trimble 

      2 months ago

      My youngest son just graduated high school last week. I can not stop crying. He has helped so much around the house, never complains. How am I supposed to let him go? I honestly do not see any happiness at all at the end of this. Please help.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      3 months ago from Washington, DC

      Amen to that, Cynthia. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia 

      3 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Wise counsel... I did the 'empty nest' syndrome decades ago for the last time and can appreciate the sorrow some of the parents express here. But you are right.. soon you can enjoy a freedom that you may not have felt for years.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      3 months ago from Washington, DC

      I see how this dilemma is breaking your heart. Unfortunately, there's no way to avoid the inevitable pain of making a decision that will affect everyone. But in order to move forward, a major shift must take place. This may include putting other support resources in place before the major move. I wish you peace in your heart and mind with your decision. At the end of the day, both of you will survive and adjust, if given the chance.

    • profile image

      Cindy lP 

      3 months ago

      My son is 20, just graduated high school, late because of medical problems. He has been renting the basement apartment in our house for over a year with a friend. But pretty much lives on his own. even though they are down there, he has his own entrance. I hardly ever see him, with work and all. We still pay his car insurance, and he is on our health insurance. I was a single mom for most of his life, along with his little brother who is 17. MY husband wants us to move to Alabama to be closer to his family. My son does not want to go. he has a job waiting tables here, a girlfriend who is going to college. He doesnt want to leave her. He likes his job. I am very torn on what is right. I feel like i am starting to resent the GF, because before her he always wanted to leave here. its a very small town, no hope for a real future. I have always wanted to leave but stayed until he graduated. That was our deal because he didnt want to switch schools in high school. If i move we will be 18 hrs away from him. When i think about leaving him behind i feel like he died, I cant stop crying. He does have health problems, he doesnt want to go to college because high school was such a struggle. I dont feel like he can make it on his own. but he is stubborn, and believes he can do it. he doesnt want to come with us but he doesnt want us to go either. He says he wants us to go because we want to, but he also knows it will hurt and because of that he doesnt want us too. he is a great kid, with a huge heart, but how do I decide? this is breaking my heart. I feel like I am abandoning him. I never though that when he grew up and moved out, that I would be the one leaving and that I would be so far away.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 months ago from Washington, DC

      Your children are still relatively young so I know it must be difficult to imagine that they'll leave one day. But it sounds like it's creating more depression than worry about how you'll handle it in the future. I recommend that you consider seeing your doctor for an evaluation of your symptoms and a good therapist to help you manage the emotions. Thanks for reading.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 months ago from Washington, DC

      Glad you liked the article and that it resonated with you. Maybe your new job is right on time and is meant to give you and your son the opportunity to be less dependent on each other. It sounds like you laid a good foundation for him and he'll be fine. You will have to make more of an adjustment than he, as the caretaker mom you've always been. I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to step out into the next phase of development as a parent and let go. It's good preparation for both of you. Trust that you've already provided him with everything he needs to be resourceful and independent. I wish you and your family well, thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Marjankt 

      4 months ago

      Thank you for this article! I am a mom of a 13 year old son. I have telecommuted to work his entire life. My husband previously travelled extensively for his job, which made our relationship more of a single mom/only child type. He no longer travels, but is not as close to our son and feels left out. I was recently laid off and will possibly doing a job with a long commute and off/long hours. I am do afraid if losing our bond and him feeling abandoned at such a critical age/grade. I was miserable in my old job and feel my new one will be something I am called to do. Should I take a job that I don't feel will give me the same satisfaction, but will possibly allow me to be home more? He has friends over all the time and has time to himself, but we are both used to me being right there waiting for anything he needs. Your thoughts on this are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Grace 

      4 months ago

      I’m having so much trouble accepting that my kids are growing up. They’re only 8&9 and I cry everyday. I carry a lot of guilt because I feel that instead of enjoying every moment with them I just wanted some peace and quiet and escape. Now I’m afraid of all the peace and quiet I’m going to get in the future. I wish I would have had this perspective before. I also feel that I’m barely teaching them the right things and instilling good values. I am truly depressed and I feel like I’m in mourning. I want to enjoy these pure innocent years I have left but the guilt and regrets and pain won’t allow me to.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 months ago from Washington, DC

      It is indeed like separation anxiety and grieving a loss. As your child becomes independent, you're also grieving the role of mother which gave you purpose. As your child pulls away, you'll need to find other roles and activities to create purpose and fulfilment in your life. Only time will allow you to adjust to the void. It's gut-wrenching and won't be easy. But you will get through it as parents do everyday. I wish you best, thank you for reading this article.

    • profile image

      TINA 

      4 months ago

      I am having a difficult time of letting go of my oldest who is graduating early and starting her college career. Everyday is a struggle and all I think of is ..what ifs. This has now made it where sge is pulling away from me and has become quite with all yhese collge plans. As before she would talk to me and we went to see colleges etc. ... how can u deal as a mother with auch a big change. I feel it to be like seperation anexity or grievance for a loss. Its an aweful feeling.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 months ago from Washington, DC

      I hear your frustration. You will decrease your irritation by setting a boundary with how you share with your mom. Provide the facts without expecting approval or acceptance. As you said, your mom will always be overprotective. But you no longer have to engage in the discourse. You only have control over how you engage with her and how you respond. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      Shiquita 

      4 months ago

      My mother is and has always been overprotective, I told her that im going to VI for a day on my bday week and vacation week from my job, she assumed that i wouldn't have any money or plans to go on when i get there! Then hung up on me when i was offened that she could think i could be irresponsible like that in my late 30s she treats me as if im a child still and it's very irritating. I don't even like to tell her anything out of fear of her getting worked up and telling news stories of what happened to other people when they did the same or making me listen to her cheer on her hair customers children for living their lives! I don't get it, i work for the airlines, i want to travel!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      When you see that they are able to survive and thrive without you, you'll be able to trust that they will be okay. But you have to give them that chance. I recommend you find a good therapist to help you address your fears and relinquish control. I wish you well. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.

    • profile image

      Shereeb 

      5 months ago

      I'm having a really hard time right now. I have two kids which one almost died at birth, and now has cerebral palsy. My kids are 21 and 22. I have been very close to them. I will always be. My son wants to go away for 2 and half days to the beach. I literally have cried every single day. I find it hard and impossible to let go. I don't know whats wrong with me. My kids are really good kids. I'm not just saying that either. My problem is everything that could happen or go wrong goes through my mind. I feel like I'm gonna end up in he hospital. I'm having a very hard time. I love these kids so much. They are my world... I could never let anybody babysit them, I hardly ever let them stay away from home, and when I did I hardly slept. But I think the time has come where I'm gonna have to let go. I just don't know how I'm gonna survive it.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 months ago from Washington, DC

      Your worry is justified and expected. Parents will always worry out of love, fear, and concern. However, parents eventually have to let go in order for grown children to make their own decisions, which isn't always the best decision. I wish you peace in your heart.

    • profile image

      Nicole 

      5 months ago

      I'm facing having a difficult time letting go to an extent. I had no problem with letting go for college and all. But when my daughter started doing poorly in school, had to come back after a year, was smoking marijuana and character changed I got worried. I no longer trusted her judgement because she had been lying to me. She's in a toxic relationship with someone and doesn't know how to let go. She feels she's fine but has been under observation in the hospital or hurting herself,and suffers from anxiety now. She says i dont want to lwt her go. Its not that, im just worried.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      6 months ago from Washington, DC

      What you're going through is normal. It was a good first step to share it here. Sounds like making an appointment with a good therapist would be your next step. I hope the article was helpful with getting you on your way to support. I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      Ross 

      6 months ago

      My son is 2. Almost 3. We just took his pacifier and since we did I am legitimately sad. I work about 60 hours a week and my kids are my life. My wife and I have a fantastic relationship. It's just destroying me. My little boy is growing up and it's breaking my heart. I'll think of him growing through the day and just cry. I don't know to deal with this. I always know how to handle everything. I woke up this morning and couldn't give him his pacifier and I broke out in tears. I won't hold my son back because I'm scared of him growing up. I'll always put my family ahead of me in every way but this hurts. I literally ache with sadness when I think about my little boy not being a little boy which I know is far off but not far enough. Is this normal? I try to stay focused on how amazing my kids are and how awesome he is and how proud he makes me. It's just different for me. I really am looking for somebody to talk to. I've talked with my wife but she isn't able to help me here. I don't know what I need or what I'm looking for but like I said this is crushing me.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      7 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      Amiratnakhil 

      7 months ago

      Nice

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      8 months ago from Washington, DC

      Very sad story indeed. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

    • profile image

      bluelove 

      8 months ago

      I know someone who didnt let her sons get a driving license. Her sons were in their 20's not working, or going to college. She homeschooled, but I dont think it was much. One son got a job waiting tables, and his mom would drive 20-30 minutes to bring him to work, and then go get him in 5 hrs.! When the oldest got close to 30, the dad FINALLY put his foot down, and said the ADULT had to move. Guess what the mom did? Sent him to live with her mother!!!These boys have been psychologically abused, by a mom whose need to be needed came before her sons! Also, the parents are hoarders, you can hardly walk in their house! Sad, very sad.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      9 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks for taking the time to read, glad you liked it. I suggest you discuss with a family counselor how to blend the best of both parenting styles instead of feeling at odds. Your flexibility and your wife's structure may work well as a parent team, alternating what works best depending on the need. Good luck and keep up the good parenting.

    • profile image

      slickdesi74 

      9 months ago

      Great Article, my dilemma is the parents differ on allowing children to grow, I grew up in a home where my parents allowed me the freedom to explore and travel, my wife was more keep children at home and keep distractions away. My wife and I fight constantly on how to allow children their own space. They are two boys and ages 13 and 15. I provide them support both emotionally, financially, and academically. When the kids want space I discuss their plan and confirm who they are with and what they do, then I trust him to do what he needs. The wife wants to control the tv, phone time, recreation because it's too much. do you have a hybrid solution?

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      9 months ago from Washington, DC

      Sounds like you're on the right track with "distancing" yourself. But it's making you uncomfortable. Keep setting good boundaries consistently as you embrace your autonomy from being parented, without feeling the need to wean her. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment/inquiry. I'm glad you found it helpful.

    • profile image

      Margaret 

      9 months ago

      Thank you for writing this. As the (27 year old) daughter, this article rings so true. I would love your advice or thoughts on how to bring this to the attention of my mother. We've gone to therapy, but I still very often feel her need to over-parent, advise me, warn me about things, influence my decisions, etc. Although I am independent and living out of state, I feel her attachment to being my parent all the time. It's like something I can't fulfill that I need her to find on her own. It makes me distance myself. Would love your thoughts, thank you!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      9 months ago from Washington, DC

      You're quite welcome! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.

    • profile image

      Yuliss 

      9 months ago

      Nice read! I liked taking the poll and viewing the results. Psychology/sociology is very interesting to me, thanks for an informative post with references included!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      11 months ago from Washington, DC

      It's hard not to worry, no matter how old they get. Thanks, Emily, for stopping by and reading the article.

    • Emily0115 profile image

      Emily0115 

      11 months ago

      One reason why we can't let go of our teens is because we're not confident that they know enough about life skills. We worry about them.

      I found this site www.preparemykid.com. I got a Life Skills checklist and a video on how to teach kids life skills. The checklist had about 30 or so skills that I could teach. It was really helpful.

      They have video lessons and both my kids (13 and 16) like the videos because they are short and funny.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      12 months ago from Washington, DC

      Chris, thanks so much for sharing your story about your daughter. I cannot imagine how difficult and painful it must be for you as she appears to have individuated abruptly, i.e., exert her independence. She may also be making it difficult because it's painful for her, too. You are on the right track with letting go. I wish you the best, take it a day at a time.

    • profile image

      Chris 

      12 months ago

      I'm guilty of holding on too long. My daughter and I have been together for 26 years, me a single mother, and her attending 7 1/2 years of college while living st home.

      She moved 3 hours away 2 years ago, but very dependent on me on how to set up a new house and many other adulting things such as what dish to bring to a potluck, what should she wear on a date, etc. So while I definitely grieved hard because of the physical distance between us, we talked several times a day during which I laid out all kinds of advice on every issue. I'm not gonna lie, I was worried she could not survive without me. I still had her let me know when she was home at night.

      Now suddenly, all the rules have changed. She has told me she doesn't want any more advice unless she specifically asks. She suddenly acts as though I've not got things so together - quite a lot of insults.

      I am glad to know she is ready to take on all aspects of running her house and making decisions but it is painful how suddenly the change occurred and unsure why she is being so harsh. I know now, I held on too long but I can't help but feel as though I've been fired. It's a very lonely feeling. I'm going to try and build a new life but it's very hard.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      12 months ago from Washington, DC

      Sounds like you're really thinking ahead and have a good plan, Andrea. Glad you found the article helpful. I wish you well.

    • profile image

      Andrea 

      12 months ago

      I really appreciate this article as my kids are starting to grow up and I am looking to try and let go. It is really so hard after bonding with them to see them transform and to think of all the not so nice people out there. I can only pray that I have done an adequate job. I am starting to prepare psychologically for it and hope I can move on gracefully to the next stage in their development.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      12 months ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your point of view.

    • profile image

      say so 

      12 months ago

      what a horrible article.

      it brings out all those stupid enmeshed parenting.

      For example why would a parent cry because their child is going to college.... sick parenting that is why.

      when a child is going to college they need even more attention than when they were breastfeeding. this is because they are walking into the world of religious cultists and drug dealers. its the time the parent should even be more involved if you do not want your daughter prostituting herself to buy nice clothes from older monied men who haunt these places. instead of crying a healthy parent is involved healthily in their child's growth.

      this article makes me so sick.

      Many adults are not equipped to parent a rat and they call themselves parents.

      sick pare

    • profile image

      Medeo 

      15 months ago

      This was bad don't do it

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      19 months ago from Washington, DC

      You're very welcome, Irma. Sounds like you're already doing a great job. In this day and age, your fear is appropriate. But with the limits you have set, half the battle of letting go has been won. Thank you so much for reading this article, glad to know you found it helpful.

    • profile image

      Irma 

      19 months ago

      I have a 13 yr old only child, its been realy hard for me to start letting him go out with his friends even just to go to the mall to watch a movie, he claims I'm too overprotected and that he needs to grow up, I'm just scared of all the dangers out there. So I do let him go but of course there are limits because of his age and have communication. I told him if he acts responsabily he can have more freedom and that he needs to earn my trust to let go more. Thank you for the article very helpful.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      20 months ago from Washington, DC

      You are so very welcome, Carolyn. Holidays are the most difficult time when a loved one is away, especially a child for the first time. The reality hits hard when traditions are broken, making the break all the more painful. I hope the article helped you through it, just a little. Both of you passed a great milestone. The good thing is that you do recognize your reward in that he is growing up. I wish you peace and blessings for your family in the new year.

    • profile image

      Carolyn 

      20 months ago

      My 18 yr old and 1st to leave nest went off to university in Sept and then told us he was going travelling for Christmas/New year. It broke my heart but knew it was what he wanted and needed to do. Letting go is by far the hardest and most challenging aspect of parenting. He had such a great time and it was truly amazing to see him blossom so that is my reward. Just hope he's home with us next Christmas lol, thank you for your article, very close to my heart.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      2 years ago from Washington, DC

      Oh, Michelle. What you're feeling is so real, let the tears flow. You have to get through, a day at a time, and trust that the natural process of letting go has to happen. Make sure to find other nurturing activities to fill your time. You'll be fine, hang in there. Thanks for stopping by and reading this article. I hope it helps. I appreciate your visit and comment.

    • profile image

      Michelle 

      2 years ago

      I feel like my world is about to end with a son turning 18 in a little more than a week and graduates soon after. I will repeat this process next year with my daughter. All I can do is cry.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      3 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're right, aesta1, it's an adjustment. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Letting go is always difficult and to decide when with kids is a challenge. Maybe, the relationship changes but there is never a letting go. Well done!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Very touching comment, olog. Thanks for reading, glad to know it validated your experience.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 

      3 years ago from USA

      This is an excellent article that I can certainly relate to. It was very hard letting go and watching one of my children go off to college. However, on the other hand, he was ready to go and I could he was ready. I'll never forget the day he actually got in the car and left for school.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      I'm so glad to hear that, grand old lady. It is my pleasure to help. It really makes me feel good that I've made a difference for someone with this article. Thank you also for enlightening me about the struggle in Filipino culture regarding this topic. I appreciate your visit and generous comments.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      The last two points you made are particularly useful. In the Philippines, it's not uncommon for grown children to still live at home, sometimes even after they have married. Mostly, it's because of economics. A basic salary won't buy you an apartment and furnishings or even a car on installment. So the challenge is having a child who is 23 in your house, and giving her the space she needs to let go. I realize I never had a mourning period and my husband and I have to go through that. Also, rebuilding a different relationship is most helpful advice. Thank you for your wisdom. It's so hard to research a topic like this on google and finally, after a few years, this article comes up. It's so helpful.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Glad you enjoyed the poem, Treasuresofheaven. Thank you for stopping by and reading this one which so many parents can relate to at this time of year. I appreciate the votes, too.

    • Treasuresofheaven profile image

      Sima Ballinger 

      4 years ago from Michigan

      This was a good read and good information. Our kids do know more than we give them credit. My oldest son, who commutes to college, needs to be more independent than we have allowed him. He is going to make a big change before the summer is over - and I applaud him. I enjoyed the poem, it was very inspiring. Up and Useful!!!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Well said, Raine. I appreciate your visit and comments.

    • Raine Law Yuen profile image

      Raine Law Yuen 

      4 years ago from Cape Town

      interesting hub. I think it gets easier with the second child. I often hear my children commenting about what a child said to the kids in their class about their own parents when they feel overprotected. also that parents should keep in mind that when children feel smothered they may start to resent you. I guess the trick is to keep a balance. To trust that your child knows best what is right for themselves. Just think back to when you were a child.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      I appreciate your feedback, Anita Saran. Culture definitely plays a role in the course of a child developing into an adult. Thank you for stopping by and reading. I wish you the best with your son.

    • Anita Saran profile image

      Anita Saran 

      4 years ago from Bangalore, India

      Nice hub janshares. My son is 21 and going to college and it's time for him to move out on his own. Relatives think that's callous but I think it's essential for his development as an independent adult. In India, we tend to latch on to our children longer.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you very much! :-)

    • kgmonline profile image

      Geri MIleff 

      4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Very useful article. Great job! :)

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're welcome, swilliams. Glad you related to it. I know it's easier said than done. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

    • profile image

      swilliams 

      4 years ago

      This is a tough one Jan. I faced letting my daughter go. She married young I like my new son-in-law but it was a hard adjustment. Thanks for the useful article! Very Well Done!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, AMF, for reading and sharing your experience with coming into your own with your parents. I do hope it helps someone else take a confident stand and maintain a good relationship with their parents.

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      4 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      Janis, I had a situation with my parents that took me years to to figure out. They would invite me over for supper and then tag-team me, leveling all kinds of criticism at me; I got to the point where I stayed away for several months. Then I decided, this is ridiculous; I can't stay away from them for the rest of my life; I need to figure this out. The next time I saw them they started in again, and I said, mildly, "I disagree; I think I'm doing a really good job handling things under some difficult circumstances." They stared at me like I had two heads. After that, whenever they said something critical or hurtful, I would say calmly, "I disagree," and then say something positive about myself. They very quickly got the message that I wasn't going to accept their criticism, and it stopped. I don't know if this will work for you, but it might be worth a shot.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      4 years ago from Washington, DC

      Very powerful what you've expressed here, Kristine. I appreciate you sharing about what this hub has triggered for you. It is so important for children to become free and independent and not full of resentment. My heart goes out to you. I hope you make time for yourself. Thank you for reading this hub.

    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 

      4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Janis, this is a wonderful Hub. I am over 40 and currently care for my Mom. I find it difficult at times because she lets things come out of her mouth to me like she is talking to a 12 year-old, and I snap back. Unfortunately my brother has passed away, and my sister stays clear, so I'm stuck. My Mom never retired from anywhere, she just went on vacation and never went back to work, and all she has is less than 1,000 dollars a month social security - she made no preparation for her future. She is unable to live on her own. I encourage all parents to give much space to their children so later on they will not resent them.

    • Rebecca Furtado profile image

      Rebecca Furtado 

      4 years ago from Anderson, Indiana

      Very nice hub. I can relate to those feelings of the empty nest. I just sent my youngest off to live on campus. I am resisting the urge to call more than once a week.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for those comments. I really appreciate your taking time to stop by and read it.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 

      5 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      This is an important topic to discuss. People often don't plan for it I think. I recall hearing it spoken of when my son was in preschool, for the first time. I mean talking about letting kids go, raising them up knowing there will be times to let go. I think that helped me some. It is hard now, as mine are getting so big, and this world is a pretty scary place. Thanks for sharing.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you for sharing those wonderful comments about your experience. It sounds like you've done an excellent job with your children. I appreciate your stopping by and reading this hub.

    • LongTimeMother profile image

      LongTimeMother 

      5 years ago from Australia

      I have had such an exciting, challenging and rewarding adult life that I am excited for my children to have the same opportunities. Even at an early age I started talking about "when you're an adult ...".

      My adult children make me very proud, and I am sure my youngest will do the same when she leaves home. What makes me most proud is the way they face the world with confidence and a determination to make the most of every day. :)

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you, Rosetta, for your wisdom-filled comment. I appreciate your visit.

    • profile image

      Rosetta 

      5 years ago

      As a great grandmother with 3 generations under me, I learned early to tell my children, that things happen everyday, some difficult and some easy. Learn to change those that you can and live with those you can't. It is called LIFE. I learned and they learned, I am still learning as they are also and LIFE is great. Thank you so much for sharing this and I especially love the poem.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Of course, you are absolutely right, DDE. You never truly let go. I hope this article will help parents to live better with the new relationship with their children and not grieve for too long.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Letting go for me was not hard but for my husband yes, off-course he is still my lovely baby and twenty it may sound ridiculous deep dow parents still look at their children as babies even when grown up it is always some little concern that makes you want to feel at ease

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      You're welcome, toptengamer. I appreciate your visit and taking time to read it. Glad it resonated with you.

    • toptengamer profile image

      Brandon Hart 

      5 years ago from The Game

      It's hard sometimes isn't it as in some ways it's so easy to be controlling when that's not always the best for them. As a parent of 4 children I appreciate your insight!

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thanks for liking the poem, tobusiness. That means a lot coming from you. :-)

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Ha ha, thanks for that, Mhatter. Glad you stopped by.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you very much, jabelufiroz, and for taking the time to read it.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      You've summed it up perfectly, Faith Reaper. Thanks for your visit and votes, grateful for the sharing.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      5 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      A wonderful hub, letting go will always be a tough thing to do, but let go we must. I loved the poem, especially the last couplet.

      Awesome

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. For me it was easy, as mine were so screwed up. But my mom needed money once in a while.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Oops, that should be cord! Cut the cord.

      Sorry for the faux pas there!

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • jabelufiroz profile image

      Firoz 

      5 years ago from India

      Informative hub on Parental Attachment. Voted up.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      Yes, it is very hard, but we must cut that chord at some point, to allow them to grow and find their own way in this world and let them know that we will be there no matter what, if they ever need us. No subject is off-limits and our love is truly endless indeed!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Lol, harmony155! So true with many. Thank you for your visit.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      AMFredenburg, excellent points. I appreciate those comments. Thank you so much for reading, voting, and especially sharing!

    • harmony155 profile image

      harmony155 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      My husband is 34 years old and his parents still feel like they "own" him!

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      Jan, this is such important information; I've seen both my sisters as they accepted their children's adulthood and have ended up being good friends of their adult children, with respect on both sides. Parents who won't let go are missing out on an important stage of their own development as human beings and the possibility of a deep and abiding relationship with their grown children. Voting up and sharing.

    • janshares profile imageAUTHOR

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      5 years ago from Washington, DC

      You speak truth from experience, you're absolutely right. Thank you for reading this one "hot off the presses."

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jan, my son is twenty-eight and I'm not sure we, as parents, ever totally let go. He is still my little boy and I constantly struggle with letting him make his own decisions and mistakes. :) Great hub with serious food for thought.

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