Parents Still Lose Sleep Worrying About their Grown Children

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As parents, we tend to spend a great deal of time worrying and stressing about our children. When they’re little, we dwell over any potential or actual injuries or sicknesses. As teens, we stress over whether or not they’ll make appropriate choices and who they’re hanging out with. And according to one recent study, parents of grown children worry about them just as much during adulthood.

In the study, researchers observed 186 married heterosexual couples in their late 50s with an average of two to three children. Researchers asked the parents questions to determine the type and amount of support they gave their children (emotional, financial, practical, companionship, etc.). They also had the parents rank how much stress they experienced from helping and worrying about their adult children.

The parents were asked to answer these latter questions by choosing answers that ranged from “not at all” (stressed) to “a great deal” (stressed). And what researchers discovered from these answers isn’t all that surprising. Parents of adult children are still stressed and still worry about their adult children. The majority of the parents involved in the study lose sleep worrying about their children’s welfare and happiness. Additionally, many of the parents involved still provide financial support of some type to their children.

When we constantly stress about our grown children, are we hurting or helping them? The expression “you never stop being a parent” is certainly true. We worry about our children, even into adulthood, because we care about them and want them to live successful, happy, and full lives. However, there comes a point when parents need to cut the cord. If we constantly coddle our adult children, they will never be armed with the tools to become independent and self-sufficient, particularly in the financial sense.

So should you stop worrying about your grown children altogether? No, and the very idea of that is impossible for most parents. It’s natural that we should stress about our children, no matter their age, but we need to acknowledge that we have prepared our children for adulthood, and it’s time for them to go off and make their own decisions. Plus, now that your children have flown the coop, why not do all of those things that you’ve been putting off? Now is your chance to shine, parents, so go ahead and do it!