Grown and Flown Because Parenting Never Ends

Grown and Flown

Parenting is a lifelong journey filled with joy, challenges, and personal growth. As children grow into young adults and eventually leave home, the role of a parent evolves but never truly ends. The popular term “Grown and Flown” perfectly captures this bittersweet stage when children transition into independence, spreading their wings and taking flight into adulthood. However, parents continue playing a vital role in their children’s lives long after they have flown the nest.

What Does “Grown and Flown” Mean?

The phrase “Grown and Flown” refers to adult children who have matured into their own selves and left home for college, work, or to start their own families. This stage usually begins when kids are in their late teens and extends into adulthood as they gain independence.

While children reach important milestones like pursuing higher education, starting careers, or getting married, parents experience mixed emotions of pride and longing. There is joy in seeing kids grow into capable adults, yet also wistfulness in letting go of the daily hands-on parenting role.

“Grown and Flown” validates this emotional rollercoaster of witnessing children leave the nest. It recognizes that parents never stop caring, worrying, or guiding their kids. Their support continues, just in different ways tailored to each phase of the child’s life.

Why Parenting Extends Beyond Children Leaving Home

Though children grow up and move out, the parent-child relationship and bond last a lifetime. Here are some key reasons parenting continues even after kids have left home:

Providing Emotional Support

As children enter adulthood, they still need reassurance, advice, and emotional support from parents. During stressful times like relationship troubles, job changes, illnesses, or other life challenges, they often turn to their parents for comfort and guidance.

Financial Assistance

Launching into adulthood can be financially challenging, especially with student debt, rent, car loans, etc. Many parents continue providing monetary assistance to their grown children when needed, which helps them get through difficult times.

Building a Mature Relationship

When children grow into adults, parents get the chance to form a more peer-like relationship, engaging in mature conversations and sharing life experiences. This evolution strengthens family ties.

Celebrating Milestones

From big achievements like graduations, new jobs, or weddings to smaller wins, parents remain invested in celebrating their grown children’s milestones and accomplishments.

Providing Wisdom

Parents can provide perspective and impart wisdom that comes with experience and hindsight. Their advice helps guide adult children through adulthood.

Fostering a Strong Bond During the Grown and Flown Years

The grown and flown stage requires recalibrating the parent-child relationship to one between two adults. Here are some tips to maintain a close bond:

Respect Their Independence

Allow your adult children the freedom to make their own choices. Offer input but let them take the lead on decisions about careers, relationships, finances, and more.

Be Supportive Without Judgment

Your children will make mistakes as part of growing up. Avoid criticism about their choices or saying “I told you so.” Instead, offer non-judgmental guidance.

Stay Connected

Make time for regular check-ins whether in-person, on the phone, or video calls. Share what’s happening in each other’s lives.

Focus on Listening

Rather than giving unsolicited advice, practice active listening when they share problems. Ask how you can support them.

Allow Them Space

Respect their need for autonomy. Avoid smothering them and give them room to manage their own affairs.

Offer Practical Assistance

Offer help with job searches, paperwork, housing, childcare, and other areas where they could use an extra hand.

Share Fun Experiences

Plan get-togethers centered around hobbies, interests, or exploring something new together. Bond over enjoying each other’s company.

Positive Aspects of the Grown and Flown Stage

While emotionally complex, the grown and flown period comes with many rewarding elements:

Witnessing Growth

Seeing your children mature into responsible, caring adults and watching their unique interests blossom is incredibly fulfilling.

Developing an Adult Relationship

You get to relate to your kids on a more peer level and learn about their perspectives as fellow adults.

Appreciating Time Together

With busy adult lives, visits and time together become more meaningful and treasured.

Feeling Pride in Their Accomplishments

Celebrating your children’s achievements, from big milestones to small wins, brings great pride and joy.

Personal Freedom

As your parenting duties evolve, you gain more time to focus on your own goals, relationships, hobbies, and passions.

Challenges During the Grown and Flown Years

While rewarding, this stage also brings its own challenges:

Letting Go of Control

It can be difficult to step back and allow your children to make their own choices without your input.

Worrying From Afar

Not being able to physically watch over and protect your children can provoke anxiety.

Navigating Conflict

You may disagree with some of your adult children’s decisions, causing tension in your relationship.

Feeling Left Out

As their lives get busier, you may feel hurt when your children don’t share things with you right away.

Missing Daily Interactions

After years of constant daily involvement, no longer seeing your kids regularly can feel lonely.

Looking After Your Own Needs

The grown and flown period marks a transition for parents too as their roles evolve. Here are some tips for parents to look after their own needs:

Reflect on Your Changed Role

Think about how you want to be involved with your adult children and redefine your parenting style.

Reconnect With Your Partner

Rekindle intimacy and enjoyment in your relationship now that you have more alone time.

Pursue New Goals and Passions

Take this opportunity to self-reflect and go after personal goals you’ve put off.

Spend Time With Friends

Lean on close friends for support and make time to enjoy social activities together.

Process Your Feelings

Allow yourself to work through the emotional ups and downs of this transition.

Focus on Self-Care

Make sure to prioritize sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and mental well-being.

Join a Community

Connect with other parents experiencing the same transition, like the Grown and Flown Facebook group.


Letting go as children grow up and leave the nest is a poignant and emotional journey, for which the term “Grown and Flown” perfectly rings true. Yet it also opens up possibilities for parents to evolve their roles and relationships in meaningful ways.

Parenting never truly ends. As children embark on their own paths, parents continue providing unconditional love, guidance, and support when needed. By focusing on open communication, respecting independence, dealing with challenges constructively, and looking after personal needs, families can nurture strong lifelong bonds during the grown and flown years.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *