You’ve raised your children for many years. You wiped their boo-boos, sent them off to school every day and did everything you could to ensure that they grew into healthy adults. And now that your children are married, you still love and care for them deeply.
You want your children to have a wonderful marriage. You want them to have a beautiful family. You care about them so much!
And so, you might continue to raise your children even though they’ve moved on from your home. You may dish out marriage advice. You may tell them how they should be raising their children. You want them to follow the career path you had in mind for them, because you are certain that will lead to the best life for them.
Of course, you do all of this out of deep love for your children.
But you’re forgetting that your children no longer need to be taught how to live. They still need and want you in their lives, but not in such a direct and constant way.
They need to carve their own path in life. Your children need to figure out what will work best for their marriage. They need the independence to choose how they want to raise their own children.
And while you have the best intentions in mind, when you don’t allow them the freedom they need to live their own lives, you create the opposite effect of what you intended. You create a wedge between spouses. How is a child supposed to react when being put in the difficult position between having to choose between a parent and a spouse?
When you try and teach your children how to care for their babies, you’re not allowing them the chance to learn how to become the parents they are meant to be. Your children are different people with different life circumstances than you had when you were raising them. The modern era presents so many new challenges that you may not be able to relate to.
By pushing your ideas and standards onto your children and their spouses, you’re actually causing them to be worse parents. Because while they are struggling to be the best parents they can be, they have another voice in their heads telling them how things should or shouldn’t be done. They now have to contend with thoughts such as, what will my mother/mother-in-law think if my child dresses a certain way or acts in a way that she deems inappropriate?
The reality is that the more you try and parent your adult children, the more chaos you create for them. You can literally tear their family apart!
As a young mom, I can’t begin to imagine the ache that you live with since your children have grown up and moved on with their lives. But be there for them without stifling them.
Be their supporter. Appreciate them and their spouse for the people that they are, not the ones you expected them to be. Accept that they will make their own mistakes as they go through their life journey and that you can no longer kiss away all their boo-boos.
Be a bubby to their children without trying to mother them. Read them books, play with them, take them on trips. Do things you enjoy doing with them. Your children and grandchildren will appreciate you for it!
Leave the parenting to the parents. You’ve done your share and now it’s your children’s turn. Hashem gave your grandchildren to your children to parent for a reason. Don’t fight Hashem’s ways. Accept it and treasure the gift of being a bubby!
Your children’s marriage will benefit. Your children’s family life will benefit. And you’ll be invited more often to participate in family time with them.
If you’re a grown adult and your parents or in-laws are controlling your life to the point where you feel at your wits end, get some help. You do not have to continue to live with the pain of constantly feeling at odds with yourself. You CAN learn how to take control over your life, even if your parents or in-laws won’t change their behavior.