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Dear Lifelines: Child at Heart

Updated: May 21, 2020

Dear Lifelines,

I am having trouble with my parents. I am a female young adult and I feel they don’t want to let me grow up. What do I do??


Child at heart

Dear Child at Heart,

It sounds like you are feeling a little frustrated with the involvement that your parents are having in your life right now. As we change through various roles in our lives (child, student, adolescent, employee, adult, parent…etc.) it can be challenge not only for us, but for the people around us as well - such as your parents, in this case.

Although you haven’t shared the specific details of the challenges you are facing, it might help to know that your parents are going through some major transitions themselves as you venture out on your own. They need to come to terms with their rapidly changing world as you make your way into the workforce, perhaps leaving your family home and maybe even attending school in some far-off city. Perhaps they have been largely responsible for you financially, for providing you with a place to live, meals and transportation. If you have just moved out and they no longer need to support you in these ways as you become more and more independent, this can be quite an adjustment for them. They might even feel unnecessary, at loose ends and unsure about the new direction of their role as parents. Eventually they will redefine their roles and start exploring other ways to support you and to enrich their own individual lives by travelling, going back to school, pursuing hobbies, taking on more work or even downsizing into a smaller home.

In order to assist them in transitioning with less fear of being abandoned, there might be a few things that you can do! You might consider making a lunch or supper date with one or both of your parents on a regular basis. This way you can keep them updated with your life as much or as little as you want, but they will know that you are still a part of their lives. As well, you can call them regularly and even think about asking them for advice about different concerns that come up for you. There are videoconferencing options that you can use as well if you so choose to personalize the contact even more. Another idea is to reinforce your plans whenever you leave them - tell them you look forward to lunch on Tuesday or the phone call on Sunday or whenever you can regularly work them into your schedule as a priority.

Hopefully with a few minor adjustments your parents will be able to let go as they see that you are still part of the family and that as you assume this new adult role, you will continue to be involved in their lives and will always be their daughter.

Happy Lunching!


“The best things in life happen when you dare to let go!” Robert Holden from his book, Shift Happens.

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