Launching your Child

I had given an overview of a family lifecycle in a blog post previously. On this post I diving deeper into the 2nd last stage of this lifecycle viz. the launching of your child into the big wide world. In the launching stage of the family life cycle, the children have reached the age where they are in the process of making the transition from home as the primary location of their life to living life as independent adults outside the home.

The stage of launching adult children begins when your first child leaves home and ends with the “empty nest.” When older children leave home, there are both positive and negative consequences. If your family has developed important skills through the family life cycle, your children will be ready to leave home and handle life’s challenges. Free from the everyday demands of parenting, you may choose to rekindle your own relationship and possibly your career goals.

Developing adult relationships with your children is a key skill in this stage. You may be challenged to accept new members into your family through your children’s relationships. You may focus on reprioritizing your life, forgiving those who have wronged you (maybe long ago), and assessing your beliefs about life.

If you struggled with previous life phases, your children might not have learned from you all the skills they need to live well on their own. If you and your partner have not transitioned together, you may no longer feel compatible with each other. But remember that you can still gain the skills you may have missed. Self-examination, education, and counselling can enhance your life and help ensure a healthy transition to the next phase.

This is a time when your health and energy levels may decline. Some people are diagnosed with chronic illnesses. Symptoms of these diseases can limit normal activities and even long-enjoyed pastimes. Health issues related to midlife may begin to occur and can include:
High blood pressure (hypertension).
Weight problems.
Heart disease (coronary artery disease).
Stress-related illnesses.

You may also be caring for ageing parents in this phase, which can be stressful and affect your own health.
Specific goals to reach this stage include:

  • Refocusing on your relationship without children.
  • Developing adult relationships with your grown children.
  • Realign relationships to include in-laws and grandchildren when your children begin their own families.

Tips to Prepare for the Day You Launch Your Child:

  • Pray with them and for them.
  • Try to make sure they leave on good terms.
  • You can’t script their launch or your reactions.
  • Remember, they are moving out, not moving away from your relationship.
  • Manage your expectations.
  • Don’t put a lot of requirements on them to call you or come visit.
  • Shower them with confident boasting words. They need to know you believe in them.
  • Let them know you’ll always be there for them.
  • Accept that your life is changing, and that is normal.
  • Find little ways to communicate your love for them.
  • Children are supposed to grow up and make their way in the world. They don’t forget what you’ve taught them. Allow them to figure their new life out.

However, you may still have time and so here are 7 things another parent blogger Monica Swenson recommends we can do now for a successful launch later:

1. Spend plenty of quality time with your children while they grow up!

2. Allow them to develop increasing independence.

3. Teach them life skills early.

4. Help them develop a secure identity.

5. Make sure they are ready. (and consider a gap year.)

6. Get them connected to community.

7. Make sure you have a life of your own!

I am still far from this stage but I know one day I will surely find myself there. What I know is that this stage will be a culmination of everything you have done as a parent. For now I will follow this advise.

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