6 Tips for Parenting Big Kids

As our kids grow up, become teenagers, go away to school, and become young adults who work and live lives of their own, parenting them becomes different—and in some ways, harder. 

This week’s topic is inspired by the content of my newest book, Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood, newly available on Amazon and at Ave Maria Press.

1. Don’t take it personally. 

When big kids choose things you would not, and even when they reject some of the things you have given them, it can be hard to remember not to take it personally. But truly, they are often seeking new experiences and learning things for themselves, and it has very little to do with you. 

2. Pray.

This is such an important way that we are called to continue to love our kids as they grow up. When they are older, we find we have more time and energy that we can devote to praying for them. Every big kid needs a prayer warrior mom! Pray them through hard times and pray for the grace to give them the support they need.

3. Respect their space. 

This can be hard to remember because they are OUR kids, after all. We changed their diapers and got them through braces! And yet, big kids have a right to their own space, their own privacy, their own lives. Call them before visiting and respect the lives they have made that are separate from yours.

4. Set standards in your home.

Whether you have college kids home on break or a young adult child who is living with you for a time, it can be tricky to navigate “house rules” when they are used to living independently. But you can set basic rules for consideration of others, cleanliness, shared living spaces, and communication. This is just basic consideration for others when living together.

5. Ask about their lives. 

Not in a pushy or demanding way! But do ask about their work, their classes, their friends, and their dating life. Connecting about these things that are important to them will become an important part of how you can understand and support them during this different phase of motherhood.

6. Listen more, advise less.

Unless your kids are asking for your advice, hold your tongue. Let them know you love them, you are praying for them, and that you are open to hearing whatever they might need from you. But, unless they ask for your advice, you should not offer it. The surest way to get a big kid to avoid telling you things is to become bossy about his life as a result of what he tells you.

At the end of this week’s show, I read the first chapter of my newest book.  Giving Thanks and Letting Go: Reflections on the Gift of Motherhood is a book in which I share from my heart about the very real changes, challenges, triumphs, and joys of being a mom in an “emptying nest.”



  • February 20-23, 2020: Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, Anaheim, CA
  • Saturday, March 7, 2020: You’re Worth It Retreat at Precious Blood Parish in Jasper, IN
  • Saturday, March 14, 2020: Women’s Conference, Fresno, CA
  • Saturday, March 28, 2020: Women’s Conference in Norwich, CT
  • Saturday, April 18, 2020: You’re Worth It Retreat in Windham, NH
  • Want me to come to your community to speak or give my retreat, You Are Enough, based on the themes in my book? Get all the information here!



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