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7 Surprising delights of watching your kids become adults

adult child parents

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Cerith Gardiner - published on 04/02/24

Guiding your offspring through childhood can be exhausting, but the rewards are endless.

For some parents there are certain stages in their children’s lives that they enjoy more than others. While those “terrible twos” can be very challenging, the anxiety of watching your offspring navigate the teen years can be pretty exhausting, too.

Personally, I’ve felt fortunate in that I’ve watched my four kids go through the different life stages and have always been ready for the next step. (Although I can’t deny that there is nothing quite like the newborn stage and I wish it could have lasted a little longer!)

Yet something I wasn’t quite prepared for was the enjoyment I get from my eldest children now that, at 25 and 24, they are fully-fledged adults.

Therefore, to encourage frazzled parents to hang on in when times are tricky, here are just a few things I hadn’t expected to enjoy so much from my eldest children.

Their opinions

This is a surprising one, but sometimes I sit back and listen to them chat to each other. They have such solid ideals and strong opinions about society and are not afraid to share them. While I don’t always agree with them, I love that their so passionate about what they believe in. I love their reasoning, and I love that they feel free to share their thoughts to whomever will listen.

Their awareness

Children in their teen years are notorious for being rather selfish: It’s something that doesn’t come as a surprise to most parents. Yet as they mature and understand some of the pressures of adulthood, they’re more aware of what life is about, and appreciate what it might have taken to raise them.

I must admit my heart skipped a little the other day when my eldest son told me he was taking me out to dinner as he knew I’d been really busy, and it was his treat. Although it was a very generous act, I was more delighted in his thoughtful gesture and his consideration of others.

Their influence

I’m particularly grateful for the fact that my oldest children understand that their younger siblings look up to them. It’s not that I want them to feel responsible for their little brothers, but I want them to know that they can be a very influencing force in their lives, and I’d prefer it if it were a positive one.

Thankfully, my two big kids take this rather seriously and are always mindful of their younger brothers, teaching them and encouraging them how to behave responsibly. I have to admit, it’s sometimes a real joy to sit back and watch them in action — especially as they’ll listen to whatever they tell them!

Their responsibility

As a parent we never stop being anxious about what our children are going through, and will always try to make things easier for them. However, as they become proper adults, it is truly wonderful to see them take responsibility for many of their life choices. While sometimes I have to bite my tongue and let them make their mistakes, to know that the choice is ultimately theirs to make is a weight off my shoulders … especially when it goes well.

Their humor

The one thing I’ve always tried to encourage in my children is to try and see the funny things in life. It’s something I appreciated myself growing up with an Irish father who has the art of telling jokes as a story — sometimes long — that will have you in stitches in the end. And now that my kids are older, their humor has definitely developed that we can all have a great giggle together.

Their knowledge

It’s sometimes difficult to keep abreast of everything that is going on in the world. However, you can always rely on your kids to keep you posted. The great news is that as they get older, they really acquire knowledge about things that are truly interesting and that can make for some great conversations. And naturally, they’re often really are up-to-date on the latest technological advances that you’ll end up using and thanking them for later.

Their new adventures

One of the beauties in life is we never know where it will take us, and who we will meet. And that’s just how it should be for our children. As my son accepts new career challenges that will seem him move continents, I can’t help be excited for his unknown life ahead. Of course, I won’t lie, it also allows me to go and visit him somewhere new.

And that’s possibly the best thing about being a parent: being steered into the unknown by your children, whom you’ll love at every stage of their lives.

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Catholic LifestyleFamilyParenting
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