StepMom Magazine — Teaching Young Adults to Choose Wisely

I’ve often wondered why moms don’t talk about the fact that parenting gets more challenging the older children grow?

There’s some unspoken code out there that parenting primarily ends when a child turns eighteen.

It’s a lie.

The parenting “stakes” only increase post high school…and I’m glad to see moms addressing this important issue.

Whether you’re a mom to a pre-schooler, middle-schooler, or post-high schooler…you’re committed for life, which is why I’m happy that StepMom Magazine gave some space to moms (like me) who are attempting to teach their young adult children to choose wisely.

Here’s an excerpt taken from my book, Still Going It Alone

Where are you heading? Do you know? Have you made plans for the upcoming years? The next twelve months? This week? Today? Important questions that deserve adequate time and attention. “Whenever you exit planet Earth, your grave will bear a marker of time – a tombstone or memorial plaque. What is found on most? The dates of your birth and death. Life is what happens in the “dash” between the two.” David H. McKinley in The Search for Satisfaction.

If you know where you’re heading, you’ll be of much greater help to your offspring as they traverse the murky waters of post-high school educational and career choices. No matter what our age, moms and kids alike, make decisions every single day. And yes, it takes courage to risk entering new and untested territory, but that’s yet another facet of mothering isn’t it? That innate ability to “hand-off” the baton of confidence to our teens and young adult children is instinctive to motherhood. While moms cannot always tell their children how to determine which course to take with 100% accuracy, they can help them to develop sturdy decision-making criteria and critical thinking skills to better equip them. In short, moms impart the know-how so that their young adult kids “know-how” to address the pivotal and ongoing life choices.

From experience, moms also recognize that lacking “on paper” goals…those passing “pipe dreams” frequently die a quick death at the first sign of opposition or the slightest, most incidental setback. Everyone knows someone whose dreams are routinely larger than life, these individuals are colorfully over the top with excitement, enthusiasm, and are enthralled with the “idea” of some far-removed notion of success. While it’s fun (and amusing) to watch such theatrics, if we’re honest, we’re pretty certain very little by way of actual results will ever come to pass. We’ve borne witness to the same song and dance too many times before and while we resist reacting with a sort of subdued, mild cynicism, it isn’t always easy to join in with the fleeting momentary hilarity either. There’s just too much to lose.

Mothers want to inspire their kids to dream big…while simultaneously equipping them to practically reach these same objectives. Look at history, (both the grand and the small) for a more tempered response to “dreaming.” Clearly, it is those individuals (and nations) who take careful account of their gifts, talents, abilities, resources, and limitations that most often achieve their intents. Sure, there are setbacks, risks, and sacrifices…but for the person who knows his destination, these wrinkles can be pressed through, ironed out, and smoothed over because the end goal (written in black in white, remember) is an ever-present reminder of what is at stake.

Writer David McKinley believes that, “Life reflects design, sequence, and order.” Thus said, finding practical ways to work toward our target means settling down with one hand firmly grasped on reality while balancing our other with the most hopeful of possibilities etched in our brain. McKinley asks, “Are you living “on purpose,” or have you given your life over to the random acts of occurrence – wishing, hoping, and yearning...” Good question for every mom to ask, first of herself, and then model to her children.


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