Adult Children Don't Come With Parenting Manuals

parenting books for adultsI had a terrifying parenting moment yesterday when I was listening to NPR. Apparently there's a new book out called How to Parent Your Adult Child. God help us. We can't even figure out how to parent our kids once they're responsible for themselves? Yikes. Here's a hint: Let them go. But Gail Parent, the author who is not using a pseudonym, says as soon as she mentioned the title of the book everyone had an issue. Really?

Listen, I don't believe that parenting ends once the kids are out of the house, but I do believe that obsessively reading parenting books should.


Advice in career, money, and even love (but no TMI, please!) is something I would feel privileged to share once my kids are old enough to make their own decisions. I hope they come to me, but I also hope they have enough confidence in their own abilities and strength to move forward. After all, that's why I'm parenting now, to create smart, capable, independent people. If I haven't done it by the time they reach maturation, perhaps I've failed.

I just asked two five-year-olds about this topic, and they both say they will be more than capable of making their own decisions once they are adults. You know what? I believe them. My daughter asked me if my own mother still "tells me what to do" and the fact is that yes, sometimes she does. Do I like it? No. Do I need it? Rarely. Do I appreciate the fact that she cares? Of course.

Which is perhaps, what Parent is trying to negotiate here. The line between being a helicopter parent and allowing your child to make her own mistakes and triumphs. But my fear is her audience will be filled with the helicopter parents who really don't understand they can't go on a job interview with their 21-year-old. So maybe those parents do need a book. Or perhaps they should just put the book down, and let go of their adult child. It's more than time.

Do you need a book to parent your adult child?


Image via MegaBu7/Flickr

Read More >