The left side of the graphic above illustrates the practices that parents need to strengthen to successfully let go and launch their young adult. The circle on the right side illustrates actions that the young adult can take to move forward with their healthy separation from parents. The two circles are separate but the wavy white lines indicate communication and connection between the parent and young adult when the separation process is successful. These practices are portrayed within a circular framework to indicate that there isn’t necessarily a starting point and that as parents, we need to exhibit these the rest of our lives. After all, we never stop being parents. As such, we never stop needing to understand, love, apologize, forgive, and show backbone with our young adults.
Most parents who come to my workshops don’t come expecting to learn about a practice. Rather, they want to know what to do to help their young adult with a specific problem. It often involves acting out or irresponsible behavior that their young adult exhibits. In some cases, parents are looking for ways to usher their young adults out of the basement. Most challenges that parents face can be addressed by increasing one or more of the practices above. Many parents struggle with love and backbone and need to find a way to demonstrate both. For each practice, there is information and short practice books available through the website parentslettinggo.com.
Categorizing the Practices
Although these practices are not progressive (meaning one does not have to be mastered before another, like the AA twelve steps) we can categorize the practices in the following way:
- Foundational Practices: Understanding our Young Adult, Unconditional Love
- Healing Practices: Apology, Forgiveness
- Launching Practices: Supportive Integrity, Love and Backbone, Growing Apart
The following are some sample questions that can identify a practice you may need to strengthen.
Rate how true the statements below are for you.
- 0 – Not true
- 1 – Somewhat True
- 2 – Moderately True
- 3 – Very True
- 4 – Completely True
_____ 1. I know what my young adult likes or dislikes about themselves.
_____ 2. I know what makes them happy or sad.
_____ 3. I believe they feel loved unconditionally by me.
_____ 4. I have reassured them that they are loved regardless of their behavior.
_____ 5. I have no regrets about my parenting of my young adult.
_____ 6. I believe my parenting in no way has contributed to any current struggles in their life or with me.
_____ 7. I have no hurt, anger, or resentment toward my young adult and their actions?
_____ 8. I have forgiven my young adult or myself for problems in the relationship?
_____ 9 I don’t avoid bringing up concerns for fear of the reaction from my young adult?
_____10. I don’t make excuses for or otherwise, tolerate irresponsible behavior by my young adult?
_____11. I don’t struggle with saying goodbye and don’t feel rejected if my young adult doesn’t reach out to me?
_____12. I don’t resist letting go because I will lose an important role and identity as parent.
How did you do? Pat yourself on the back for high scores. For any low scores consider taking the full quiz under that practice and learn ways to strengthen that practice. Here’s the guide you can use to take a more extensive quiz or learn more about a practice.
- Scores on 1 and 2, See Can You Speak Millennial” ese?”
- Scores on 3 and 4, See Love to Let Go.
- Scores on 5 and 6, See Apology.
- Scores on 7 and 8, See Forgiveness.
- Scores on 9 and 10, See Supportive Integrity- Love and Backbone.
- Scores on 11 and 12, See Growing Apart.
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