Parenting Semi-Adults – What is a Semi-Adult?


I feel like coining a phrase today. Some big named relationship writer will notice the trend to write books helping parents understand the behavior of their adult children. She will write chapters attempting to explain why said children tend to act treat their relationship with the older adults who love them like a Chinese menu. They have a propensity to choose how they will relate to their parents, sometimes like a peer and sometimes like a child. This of course makes the parents kinda crazy because they would make the opposite choices from the same menu, chooses the child over the peer and the peer over the child in a given situation. The big named writer will some how Stumble Upon (hint, hint) this blog and steal the credit for coining the term: semi-adult. Remember you heard it here first.

A semi-adult is a legally of age child still dependent on his or her parents in some way. That dependency includes but not limited to financial, physical, legal or moral in its nature. Because of the child’s dependence, she cannot yet operate as a peer in her relationship with her parents.

College students whose education is being paid for by their parents are the classic example of what I would term a semi-adult. Conflict arises as the child demands /expects the freedom to make decisions without being either willing and/or able to accept the consequences of his action. We had a taste of this as our semi-adult children went though the debit card learning curve.

Conflict can also arise as the parent because of the child’s dependence demand the child remain childish in their relationship rather than moving towards peer status. Constant negative comments on an adult child’s decisions that causes the child to choose some type of avoidance behavior is a good example of parents not understand the nature of a semi-adult relationship. I have to watch myself to avoid this behavior. My daughter has a job and she is meeting her obligations (she even tithes.). She is also on a spending spree. Saving for a rainy day is not yet on her agenda. I am trying (really I am) to respect her as a peer in how she is using her money. I have to bite my tongue so often it is swollen.

There you have it; the term semi-adult can now be admitted into the English lexicon. Will someone please contact Webster’s?

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