Thanksgiving is fast approaching. If you’re the matriarch of the family, chances are you’re responsible for hosting a large feast for the whole family. The question is: Are you flying solo slaving in the kitchen or are your adult kids pitching in to help alleviate the burden? The answer to that question will indicate whether your adult children are in fact adults. Here are some other indicators:
1. Your kids ask how YOU are doing from time to time
The parent-child relationship is largely one-sided for the first 18 years of a child’s life. But by the time they fly the coop from high school or maybe even college, they start to realize their parents are people with needs, too. So they ask how you’re doing and if there’s anything they can do for you. They ask about your interests, your hobbies, your dreams. You are no longer an extension of their need.
2. You are no longer a walking ATM
The days of being asked, “Hey Mom, got a twenty?” are OVER. By this time, junior has a job and learning to pay for rent, car payments and (gasp) even his own toilet paper! I remember the time I moved into my first studio apartment. I was sitting on the john and thought, “Oh man, I’ve got to buy EVERYTHING around here!” Yup. In the growing up years, your parents become smarter by the day.
3. The family cell phone plan is just for Mom and Dad
Don’t get me started on how many twenty-somethings are still mooching off their parents and crying, “It doesn’t cost THAT much to keep me on your family plan, can’t you do me a solid and help me out a little? I promise to call you every week!” When you start charging them for their portion of the plan or boot them off the family plan entirely, they realize that unlimited texting comes at a cost!
4. You go out for dinner on your birthday… and your kids foot the bill
In days past, when the family’s gone out to dinner, it’s typical for the parents to pick up the tab. And that’s all well and good… but the tables should turn when your kids land decent jobs and you go out for your special day. When the bill comes, they should offer to treat you to a nice meal after all you’ve done for them.
5. Your kids stop blaming you for their poor choices
The true mark of maturity is realizing you alone are responsible for your mental, emotional and financial health. Your parents (hopefully) did what they could, albeit imperfectly, as they raised you. Maybe some collateral damage was incurred along the way and as you rehash how much your parents screwed you over as a kid, you feel they owe you an apology for the decisions you’re making today. That’s wrong. Once you hit 21, you’re in the driver’s seat. Believe it, own it and move on.
6. Holiday traditions change
When your kids have kids of their own, they may insist on creating some unique traditions within their little families… and it may not include you. That’s okay. Give them Christmas morning with their kids and negotiate a lunch or dinner with you. You had 18 years to dictate holiday traditions with your little ones and now as they launch families of their own, it’s time to support their wishes… while still keeping room in their hearts for you.
7. Instead of trying to fix you, your kids honor you
It baffles my mind when I see kids make their parents’ health, hobbies and marriage their business. It’s totally not. Maybe your parents are perfectly content watching FOX News all day and shouting at the television. To you it might be a complete waste of brain space but if your parents are happy, let them be! A mature adult realizes their parents did their job raising you and it’s not your job to now raise them.
Featured photo credit: Gabriela Pinto, Flickr, Creative Commons, June 6, 2011 via creativecommons.org