Learning to Accept Change and Stop Worrying
When and how can one stop worrying? My wife and I are in our early 60s. We are a step ahead in that we feel relatively financially secure to meet our needs as we grew older, but concerns and worries about our grown children and growing grandchildren are a constant in our lives.
Is there a time in life that can be worry free?
Worried and Concerned
Dear Worried and Concerned,
To live a life without feeling, even those feelings that are anxiety driven, is to be dead, and we are definitely not ready for that yet.
Realizing, that our grown children are adults and are free to make their own choices and live independent lives, and for us to feel proud of them and their choices, even if they are not ours, is a huge and courageous step for a parent to take. Once you have accepted your children’s choices, you may never stop worrying as a parent, but you will be more at peace if you accept your children and assume they can successfully run on their own autopilot.
When our children were small, taking their first steps, they are off and running. You don’t want them to bang their head on the glass coffee table corner or fall down the steps, but you must give them the freedom to explore and even acquire a black and blue bump along the way. All generations have experienced revolutions initiated by offspring, from the Beatles, to civil rights to antiwar movements. Some have brought fruitful results that changed the world. The next generation has that potential. Many parents feel that their children should mirror their choices politically, professionally and continue in their tradition religiously.
Steps to accepting adult children:
- Accept that you’ve done your best. It may not be the same way you would do it today, given your maturity and wisdom, but you did your best.
- Accept that you can only control yourself. Take charge where you can, in your own life and help out when asked.
- Forgive yourself for mistakes you made. You deserve a happy life.
- Forgive and accept your children for wanting another type of life and consciously admonish yourself to not be angry that they have rejected your principles and have undertaken their own.
For those of us that have the luck to have children that have grown up to be honest, compassionate and hardworking human beings, we should make no apologies to anyone if they did not cave in to the peer pressure of our immediate close environs and they have stepped outside to undertake an alternative lifestyle, unlike ours in small ways or big. Step up and show them love, support their decisions, communicate continuously and tell them you are proud of the kind of adults they have become.