Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Mother raised the kids to be independent. Now what?

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have always tried to raise my two children, now 17 and 18, to be independent. They were allowed to make a lot of their own decisions -- for better or for worse (although I, of course, gave them guidance when they needed it).

Guess what? It worked! Now they don't need me or choose to be with me for more than 10 minutes a day, in general. Eating dinner only takes seven minutes, apparently. Then, "I have homework to do."

The older one is in college and hacking her way through life's challenges in ways that befuddle me but still seem to keep her on the general path toward adulthood.

The younger one is a great student, responsible and trustworthy, but basically a roommate who forages in the kitchen at midnight.

I know they love me; they tell me reasonably often, and I get hugs now and then.

I am an active person, always with a little project or taking a walk. They NEVER want to do anything with my husband or me unless it involves food or some unusual activity like going to a comedy club.


Museums, movies, TV series, hikes? No way. They are in their rooms, at work or off with friends. I worry about their socialization and lack of activity, even though they're physically just fine.

They are going to be gone for good before I know it, so my question is this: Do I let them continue to live their own lives for better or for worse, or do I occasionally force them to do things with us and ignore the complaining?

It's obviously easier for me -- and frankly more enjoyable -- to just do what I like without having to force others along and listen to their complaining, but I also feel like I'm just giving up and not parenting well.

What do you think?


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