Parenting Time for Adult Children

You never stop being a parent.

Even when your children graduate high school, go to college, and become adults in their own right, you still want to see them, hug them, spend time together.

What if they don’t want to spend time with you?

Or, what if the time they want to spend with you does not match up with your vision of togetherness? If it’s not frequent enough or when it works best for you?

Whether you are a divorced parent or still married to your children’s other parent, it’s a rude awakening when adult children start calling the shots. But call them they will, as it’s their right to determine what works for their schedule once they go out on their own and build a life.

Adult children of divorce are not bound by parenting time. There is no such thing.

They can choose to spend time at one parent’s house, or divide their time between both. They can choose whom to spend holidays with, how to celebrate birthdays or other momentous occasions, and it may not match one or both parent’s vision of how it should go.

For adult children who live out of town, or attend a college far away, both parents can travel to visit, and the adult child can choose to divide up meals or not share time equally or together. It’s not always ideal, but at that point, they have a say – as they should – in how and with whom to spend their time.

Parents need to realize that the effort they put into building a healthy, connected relationship with their children is a lifelong pursuit. If you didn’t have time for them, they’re not going to have time for you. Think of the “Cats in the Cradle” song – you reap what you sow.

Divorced parents shouldn’t take it personally. Rather than focus on the amount of time you have with your adult child, celebrate the time you have together. Let them know you’re there for them, and any amount of time is important and powerful.

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