I am an adult child who sometimes — ok, a lot of times — struggles with the difference between what I need from my parents, and what I actually get from my parents.
I wanted to take a moment to talk about what an adult child needs from her (or his) parents:
Mom, Dad, I need encouragement. I need to know that you’re proud of what I’ve accomplished and that you’re proud of me — even if I haven’t followed the path you would have liked me to follow.
I need the freedom to make mistakes. Please don’t keep trying to protect me from myself — because I promise, I’ll learn from my mistakes!
I need freedom to think for myself. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to ditch what I’ve been taught all these years. It means that the things I believe in will have personal meaning, and I will know to the pit of my soul that they are true. When I have the freedom to think for myself, I believe out of conviction, not simply because I was told what to think.
I need you to support me, even when you don’t agree with me. I’m not asking you to somehow twist your beliefs so I fit in them. I just need to know that even if you think I’m wrong, you aren’t going to disown me.
I need to spend time with you. Time doing stuff. Fun stuff. Family stuff. I need time to enjoy having you for my Mom and Dad, and to enjoy being your kid.
I need you to visit me. That way, I know you really, really want to be around me and you’re not just letting me stay with you when I’m in town because you didn’t know how to say no.
I need you to guide me. Don’t tell me what to do — or even what I should do. I need to be able to come to you with a problem and know that the problem will be addressed in a a fair, non-biased way.
I need privacy. I need to know that you trust me enough that you don’t need to know what I’m doing all the time.
But, mostly, Mom and Dad — more than absolutely anything…. I need love. This doesn’t mean I need you to give me everything I want or to help me pay my bills, or bring me dinner every day- although those things are things that would make me feel loved. I simply need to know that no matter what I do, say, think, feel — no matter how many stupid things I do — you’re going to keep loving me, keep wanting me and keep inviting me over. I need to see you accept the people and things that are important to me. I need to know that you’re going to keep praying for me, thinking of me, calling me, and encouraging me.