Letter to Adult Children

By Georgie Bright Kunkel

Many years ago I wrote a letter to my adult children. I wanted to convey my thinking about letting go of the role of managing parent while accepting the role of friend, mentor and advisor. Here is what I wrote with a slight revision as I have grown in wisdom since I wrote the first draft:

Dear Grown Children:
I have been doing some soul searching about my relationship with you as mother and have begun to get some insights into what relationship I would like to maintain and ways to maintain it. So here goes.
You are unique so not one of you is like the other. Yes, you are separate from me and yet connected through all the experiences and memories that we have accumulated over the years.

Of course, you do not have to be what I wish you to be. I can enjoy you as you are and trust that you can make your own decisions. You need not reflect my way of life but hopefully you will take what I have offered you in the way of guidance and make of it a foundation for living your own life. No longer is my hand on the helm, so to speak. It is time for you to set your own course.

You will be there when I need you sometimes as you can expect that I will be there for you sometimes. Hopefully, you will appreciate the wisdom and experience I have attained and draw from what I have to offer.
By staying close as a family we can go beyond ourselves and become something we might not have otherwise been. If we sometimes disagree we can do so with dignity.

As you discover your own path toward your own future I can drop the reins and relax as a parent. We can be open about forgiving the mistakes of the past and welcome our future in staying connected. Then I can develop a close friendship with you and the children who are dear to you.
Lastly, we only live once so let’s make this trip on earth fulfilling as we stay connected as a family.

Cheers, Mom

For all those reading this letter I hope that you will develop your own style of relating to your own grown children so that they remain in your life with love and acceptance. If you are one of the grown children in a family then I hope that you will learn to accept your new role of adult offspring in relation to your parents.

If family ties are threatened at any time, seek out help to repair the damage. No disagreement is worth losing touch with family. If your parents are gone, adopt some new ones. My mother once said when she turned 90, “All my friends are dead.” When grown children fly from the nest, it is time to make some younger friends so that your grown children do not have to hear that sorrowful cry about losing old friends.

When your children grow up it is the beginning of a new life without childcare responsibility allowing the opportunity for enhancement of your own talents and interests. Hopefully the ties will never be broken between you and your grown children or between you, as a grown offspring, and your parents. Compatible families contribute to peaceful communities. If peace spreads it could change the world.

Georgie Bright Kunkel is a freelance writer who can be reached at gnkunkel@comcast.net or 206-935-8663.

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