Rearing young adults is more challenging than raising toddlers!

Photo courtesy of Rodrick Conner

Hey there! Hope all is well. Today I would like to hang out with all parents that have raised or are still raising newborns, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

In my opinion, rearing young adults is way more challenging than raising toddlers. Although at times it seems like babies and young children can suck all of the life out of you, they both fear and respect you to the utmost. They are at that age where they accept and receive your guidance with little to no hesitation. Once they begin to grow up and come into their own self-awareness and ideologies, they are a little less accepting of your authority over them. Your expectations and rules are now annoying to them and it’s very probable that they will become more stubborn and problematic.

Photo courtesy of Teshorn Jackson

Having two young adult children (twins might I add), I’ve already had my share of challenges. One day while sharing my frustration, a wise mother expressed her understanding. She said, “When they are babies they are on your lap, but when they are teens/adults they are on your heart. As they get older and you start dealing with all kinds of problems, it makes you think about when they were babies and small children that you held on your lap. Back in the early years, you had more control over everything they did. As time passes you then realize how much you miss that. Once they are older you can’t control as much especially when they are no longer living in your house, so then everything they do weighs heavy on your heart.”

Also while dealing with some tough times with my young adult children, another experienced mom empathized with me. She started by telling me that I was not alone with the issues I was dealing with! Then she left me with the same wisdom in another version by saying, “When they’re little, they step on your toes. When they’re bigger, they step on your heart.” Being a mother to teens and young adults, I can most definitely attest to this. When my sons were babies, I was so ready for them to be able to walk and talk and do more things on their own. Then I remember going through the phase of venting to my mom about how hard it was to get anyone to babysit so my husband and I could hang out alone and go on vacations. She would always say, they will be older before you know it. The next thing I know, my husband and I were dating more often and leaving them home for a few hours at a time. Finally, when the twins reached their late teens, we were comfortable enough to allow them to stay overnight while we went away for vacation. I would call my mom in astonishment, “WE MADE IT, WE MADE IT!” While it did not happen overnight, once it hit me that we’d reached the next level I was so overjoyed! However, with this next level came new obstacles that almost trumped the joy I had about finally getting there.

Photo courtesy of Teshorn Jackson

This level is the transition from late teens to early adulthood. In this season you may start dealing with that phase where they want to be their own person while still living with you. As parents, it is good to give some leniency and begin to trust that everything you’ve taught your children will prevail. However, it can be tough sometimes when you think of the repercussions they may face should they not follow the blueprint you’ve given them. That fear and wanting to protect them can become overbearing for young adults and cause them to resent you and become a little rebellious. On the other hand, you wish that you could get them to understand how important their decisions today will impact their future. This stage of life can be rigorous and cause a lot of tension in your home. For me, this transition has been challenging, but not every parent feels that way. Sometimes even two parents in the same home have differing opinions.

Not only did I want to have this conversation with you all, but I thought it would be beneficial to hear from the other half that has played a major role in raising these young adults alongside me. It’s the ONE AND ONLY LOVE OF MY LIFE…Mr. Lady B, lol, also known as Ejuan Bowman! While I feel like the younger years were easier for me to handle, now that our sons are older he has a totally different perspective.

Ejuan does not believe that the latter years are as difficult as I do, but rather believes that you must constantly evolve with the changes. He says, “Generally speaking it feels like it’s harder, but really it’s just a different approach that you have to take. You have to be able to adjust to parenting just like you do with marriage or any other relationship. For example, at 2 AM you have to deal with preparing a baby’s bottle while also knowing that you have to get up at 6 AM to get ready for work. Fast forward 20 years, instead of dealing with bottles you may need to have some late-night, challenging and thought-provoking conversations with young adults that will determine if they fail or succeed.”

While my husband is typically not a man of little words, that’s all that I can pull from him at this time, but no fear, we shall do this again. I currently have another topic already in the queue that he must give his input on. It’s another parenting discussion, so stick around for it. It’s going to be goooood!

Until then WE will leave you with this…At the end of the day, whether you agree with me that there is a difference in rearing young adults versus younger children and babies or you’re more in alignment with Ejuan and believe that you have to evolve with the transition, we both want you to remember this one thing. You are not raising kids to be kids, but you are raising kids to be successful adults that are capable of making decisions as an adult would. Endure all seasons including the early mornings of warming baby bottles and the challenging late-night conversations with your older children, and stay the course through it all. Soon enough they will be on their own and hopefully have become the responsible and successful adults that you have trained them to be.


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