When Do I Get to Stop Parenting?

by John Jensen
CRBC Cube Director/Men’s Pastor

I am the father of two boys and one girl. The boys’ ages are twenty-five and twenty-three. Both have full lives. One son has a full-time and a part-time job. The other is married and a full-time Doctor of Physical Therapy student. The girl is twenty years old, and due to special needs, will live with us forever. They all are great. They all also drive me nuts at times.

I was a bit naïve when the boys graduated from high school. I assumed that the majority of my parenting was done. I thought that I would field the occasional question and then watch a ball game with them. This could not have been further from the truth! The parenting situation had simply changed from developing life skills to making life decisions. It actually got harder after high school and into life and college. Finances, relationships, life paths and social media choices all got real in a hurry. To quote the great news anchor from San Diego, Ron Burgandy, “Well, that escalated quickly. i mean, that really got out of hand fast.”

To be completely honest, I was dreading the day that I was not needed as a parent. I now believe that this day is actually never coming! Be careful what you wish for! Parenting an adult child is more challenging and a little more fun at times. It is also worse at times. I don’t always get to see their successes and failures, but the phone calls come and make my heart happy to see their names pop up. We get to talk through the sticky stuff, and I get to hear their excitement about the good things that happen. 

A lot of parents do not want their kids to grow up. I think they feel they will miss the bond or the hugs or just the child. In my experience, this does not seem to be the case. Give them the space to grow and fail and experience on their own. That is what is going to happen after high school. You can rest assured that when the process repeats itself as an adult, they will come back to talk it out with mom and dad. Apparently, parenting never ends!

John Jensen