What Adult Children Need – And Don’t Need – From Their Parents

What Adult Children Need – And Don’t Need – From Their Parents December 5, 2023

Earlier this year, my three-part series for parents of empty nesters looked at how we parent adult kids when they are grown and gone. But what do our adult kids themselves say they need? Read on to discover a few additional – and essential – action steps. 

For years, we build activities, budgets, and family outings around our kids. And then they move out. And then maybe they move back in. (More on that in a minute.) 

Whether our adult kids are living on their own or are back home, it’s tempting to be focused only on our perspective as parents. (e.g. “We just found equilibrium again as a married couple, and now our son wants to move back home??!” or “We taught her how to handle finances – what did we do wrong?”) 

But what about their perspectives? 

In my series for Empty Nest parents this fall (see part 1, part 2 and part 3), we explored how to respect adult kids’ boundaries and switch our mindset from counselor to coach. But the essential next-step question is: what do they most want us to know?  

Our team reviewed external research studies and conducted an informal, anonymous survey of adults ages 19-24. (Although we sent it far and wide, we suspect that many who actually took the survey by the deadline were the young adult kids of team members, and their friends!) Four action steps clearly emerged from what these young adults said.  


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