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The Great Parental Conundrum: To Meddle or Not to Meddle?


Family with adult children

Picture this: you've waved, cried, hugged them, and cried some more as the last child leaves the family nest for a share house in the inner city or jets off to somewhere far away. You close the front door, exhale a sigh of relief, and think, "Job done, kids are grown and still alive."

 

But hold on a second! If you thought that was it, think again. Now, both of you need to navigate the world of Post-Nest Parental Involvement, also known as PNPI. Welcome to the new parenting dilemma: How much should you poke your nose into your children's lives once they've flown the coop?

 

It's a question as old as time (or at least as old as parents have existed and kids have plotted their escape), and it's about time we tackled it. So, grab your cup of coffee (or wine, no judgment here), and let's dive into the awkward world of post-nest parental involvement!


Mother daughter on grass

The PNPI Strategies:

 

The "Helpful" Advice Strategy: Ah, yes, nothing says "I love you" like unsolicited advice! Whether it's about relationships, careers, or their questionable fashion choices, we parents just can't resist offering our pearls of wisdom. Because, you know, we've totally got it all figured out... cue eye roll from grown kids.

 

The Guilt Trip Strategy: Feeling a bit neglected? Just hop aboard the guilt trip express! It's the parental version of passive-aggressive texting: "Oh, it's fine, dear, I'll just sit here quietly and wait for you to call... if you remember that you have a mother/father who loves you, that is." Oh, and my personal favourite SMS, which I send out annually – just a friendly reminder that it's Mother’s Day today… wink.

 

The Detective Strategy: Who needs Jessica Fletcher when you've got a parent with a laptop? From Facebook stalking to Google Location sharing, we’ll leave no stone unturned in our quest to uncover the mysteries of our grown kids' lives. Because, let's face it, we're just dying to know if they're eating their vegetables and making their beds.

 

The "You Do You" Strategy: Sure, we might have a few grey hairs from worrying, but hey, we've raised independent, capable human beings! So, what if they haven't figured out how to do their taxes or change a lightbulb? They'll learn... eventually. Probably.

 

The Freedom Strategy: Ah, the sweet sound of silence. No more nagging, no more lectures, just blissful peace and quiet. It's like a holiday for our vocal cords and a spa day for our sanity. Who knew empty nesting could be so rejuvenating? And the house stays so much cleaner.

 

The Distraction Strategy: With our newfound free time, we can finally indulge in all the hobbies and interests we put on hold during the child-rearing years. Knitting, gardening, interpretive dance— the sky's the limit! Because let's face it, there's only so much Netflix one can watch before becoming one with the couch.


Mother and son hugging

Finding the Balance:

 

It's all about finding that delicate balance between staying connected and respecting boundaries. Regular check-ins, meaningful conversations, and genuine interest in our children's lives go a long way in fostering a healthy parent-child relationship.

 

Embrace the Absurdity:

 

Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all. Embrace the chaos, embrace the awkwardness, and above all, embrace the fact that we're all just winging it in this crazy journey called parenthood. And adulting is hard, even for the grown-ups (that’s us- just a reminder).

 

So, there you have it, fellow PNPI navigators, the great conundrum of meddling vs. non-meddling. Whether you're a helicopter parent or a "they will call" type, just remember one thing: we're all in this together, navigating the hilariously messy world of grown kids and empty nests, one awkward moment at a time. Cheers to us! And hey, maybe it's time for that rolling drunk session with your children (that’s another blog post for another day). Or you could try asking them for a loan to tide you over until payday. It's worth it just for the look on their faces!

 

Personally, I'm the laissez-faire enthusiast. I love my kids and will do anything for them, but if I don’t see or hear from them for a couple of weeks – that’s okay. After all, no news is good news. However, if there is silence for a certain period, I'll make contact and start my message with “are you still alive?” In our family, this is code for, "Call your mother now!"


Two daughters killing mum

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