The words adult children may seem oxymoronic, and while the term refers to any child you’ve managed to raise to the age of 18 or beyond, the ones I’m really talking are those kids between 18 and 24 who are technically adults but who still require a bit more raising (even though they don’t think they do). These kids require special handling. On the one hand, you can’t treat them as though they are still kids or even teens who require heavy handed oversight. On the other hand, you can’t assume they’ve mastered all of the skills necessary to navigate life’s land mines without a little bit of help.

Finding the right balance between giving these kids the freedom they need to grow and still being there to support them can be difficult. What’s more, each child will have different needs during this transitional phase. I’ve always felt that the best way to let a child learn to be an adult is to let them make their own decisions and choices, even when they differ greatly from what I would do…while being prepared to be there for them if things don’t work out the way they’ve planned.

The only way kids and young adults will learn how to cope in the “real world” is by gaining experience in it. It’s difficult for a control freak like me to step back, bite my tongue, and let things play out…but the results are often surprisingly successful. If you arm your kids with the coping skills, confidence, and self-esteem they deserve to have, they’ll be able to handle life, even when it doesn’t go exactly as planned.