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How Boomers Can Love Their "Kidults" by Letting Go

Create "growing" space for your emerging adult child and yourself

by Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D.  |  2036 views  |  0 comments  |       Rate this now! 

Would you describe yourself as the kind of parent who is loving, but still hovering? Typically raising fewer children today, parents have actively pursued an only-the-best policy from infancy on. So far, the twenty-something progeny of Helicopter Parents have reaped the benefits from some of these advantages. Record numbers are attending college and the rate of teen pregnancy is down.

So what's the beef? The question is where Boomers should draw the line: between support and intrusion, encouragement and control, cheering from the sidelines or meddling in the game? Here are some tips to start you thinking about this fine line in the relationship with your kidults.

1.) Giving up old habits of micromanaging is hard. When you watch, worry and hang on, you’re giving your emerging adult children the message that you don’t trust that they can be on their own.

2.) Today’s technology makes it almost too easy to stay connected. Establish a middle ground where you don’t enable your adult children to remain overly dependent, yet they know you’re there if they really need you.

3.) Being too directive -- about college applications, class registration, roommate disputes, job searches, dating partners -- fosters reliance on you at a time when developing decision making skills is paramount to building self esteem.

4.) While financial assistance for the necessities is a parent’s responsibility, it can have a pampering and hampering effect. Beginning in high school, encourage your children to get a part-time job and gain budgeting experience. Your goal is to prepare them to live alone. If they’re unable to manage, boomeranging back home becomes the only option and the whole family pays a price.

5.) Remember what it was like for you growing up? How did you use your personal strengths and become more self sufficient? Put some of these good ideas to work. Mentor your growing children but be sure to also let them learn for themselves.

Watching your children approach adulthood is a bittersweet experience as you see your carefully crafted and longstanding identity slip away. You are facing the challenges that come with letting go and beginning again in a new role. See this transition in a positive light as you begin to reignite old dreams and generate new passions for yourself.

About the Author

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. & Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are co-founders of, a website for midlife women and, a Blog for the Sandwich Generation. They are authors of a forthcoming book about Baby Boomers' family relationships and publish a free newsletter, Stepping Stones, through their website. As psychotherapists, they have over 40 years of collective private practice experience.

Read more by Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D.

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