Your child has graduated college and is living on his own. You are a proud parent – proud that he landed a job, found an apartment and is managing his life. You want to do the happy dance but something is holding you back. Where do you fit in now? How can you parent so that your son or daughter can successfully maneuver #adulting? We asked a sample of parents whose kids have been out of the nest for some time and these are there keys to successfully parent adult children.

  1. Keep quiet about the small things. Dirty socks on the floor of his apartment? She’s spending her money to go on an expensive vacation? Not your place to tell him to pick up his clothes or tell her to save her money. Wait until your child asks for your advice before you give it freely. Don’t worry, your opinion still matters and they will ask for help when they really need it.
  2. Invite them on a vacation. Try to plan a family vacation yearly. It doesn’t have to be an expensive island, just something nice that brings you together. Their demanding jobs, living on a budget and managing their lives can be stressful. The opportunity to be with the ones they love most, in a peaceful place, may just be the medicine they need
  3. Ask significant others to holidays. If your son or daughter has been dating someone for awhile, it is always nice to include the boyfriend or girlfriend in your family holiday plans. Even if they say no to be with their own families, the gesture won’t go unnoticed by your child.
  4. Be honest about your own financial situation. It is good for young adults to understand and take lessons from parents about money. Setting up bank accounts, finding a financial planner, learning how to navigate their rent and bills are all things they will be focused on in their new lives. A healthy conversation about the systems you use can be a lifesaver for your kids.
  5. Don’t smother them. If they live in another city, they will want to come see you and friends who may have stayed home. Let them lead. If they want to be with friends, just ask them to carve out a few hours of family time. Talking about expectations in advance will make them less stressed and you happy that they want to spend time with you.
  6. Be a good listener. (See #1.) As your child is trying to navigate this new life, they don’t need parents to tell them what to do, but they do need us to listen. If your son has a bad day at work, or your daughter’s washing machine broke, let them air their grievances. Even though they don’t need you to fix their problems, your kids know you will understand.
  7. Send daily short texts. As much as you miss your grown kids, a part of them misses you too. They miss the ease of life at home, where everything was taken care of in one way or another. A quick “hi” text daily is not overkill and can help our child feel safe and loved.
  8. Visit and spoil. Whether your son is 15 miles away or your daughter in another state, be sure to make regular trips to visit. Take him or her to dinner, stock the fridge with groceries, take a trip to the drugstore together to buy new shampoo and cleaning products. These little things go a long way.
  9. Be a cheerleader. It is important to be positive as they are making this life transition. Tell them how proud you are of them as much as you can, without smothering them (see #5.) It might be a long time (it might be never) before a boss or coworker says these words so step up and do it so they feel good and keep doing all the independent things they are doing today.
  10. Don’t ask about dating. If your child has any information to offer, he or she will tell you. In addition to the stress of a new job, finding someone to love can be equally agitating. Let your child navigate this part of life without adding to the pressure.