Family Dynamics: Transitioning to Adulthood


Lisa Alioto

21 November 2019 14 comments

It seems as though one day you go from being your parent’s child to their adult son or daughter.   It doesn’t seem like much should change, but some things do and some things don’t.   Adulting.. there’s a lot to it!

What changes:

It may no longer be assumed that your parents are picking up the tab for a dinner out.  They may now expect you to start, or at least offer, to pick up your portion of the bill.

While most parents will still be there for advice, they may start taking a step back and let you take the lead on the big decisions in your life.  This can be a bit scary.    When you are used to being able to rely on their experience and wisdom, suddenly being the one calling the shots can be a bit unsettling.  What is key is realizing that your parents have spent the last 18 years instilling in you the good reasoning and decision-making skills that you need to make the tough choices.  They trust in you to now make them; embrace that trust and trust yourself to make them too.

Part and parcel, sometimes your parents will let you make mis-steps, even a bit costly mis-steps.  These mis-steps can create great life lessons.  While they aren’t always fun, know that will provide great value down the line and that your parents are always there in the background for support and to help you get through any tough times.

Sibling relationships may change.  The playing field shifts a bit when you transition to adulthood.  What your younger siblings perceive may be a bit different though.  They may now see you as having all these privileges they feel they should have too.  Don’t hesitate to remind them that with them comes responsibilities.  Being the big sister or brother, you can start to pave the way to their transition to adulthood by sharing this with them.

What doesn’t change:

Your parents will be your parents forever.  No matter how old you get, you can still call them for advice on big and little matters.  They love you and are your biggest fans.   Whether you are 20 or 40, your parents will be there for you, no matter the blunder or the success. 

When you are sick or troubled, they are still always the safe haven they have been your entire life.  While they may step back and let you work through your troubles a bit more on your own, they will still always be there.  There really is no place like home.

Lastly, they will never stop preparing you for life and being there for the tough decisions.  Don’t hesitate to reach out – while they want you to learn to fly, they also are still okay with being your safe place to land, especially in your younger years.   While they may not proactively offer advice as often, they most likely will be more than happy to share advice when asked. 

Transitioning to adulthood comes with many changes.   My best advice is to trust in the great values, experiences, and decision-making skills that your parents have instilled in you.  While some of their life lessons may not have made sense at the time, they will be priceless to you going forward.  Most of all, know that you’ve got this.  You really do!

One last part of adulting… taking advantage of great deals like these!

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14 thoughts on “Family Dynamics: Transitioning to Adulthood

  1. Lovely post – I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Thank you JK – I appreciate your kind words

  2. Great post! I agree with “My best advice is to trust in the great values, experiences, and decision-making skills that your parents have instilled in you.” I think as you get older you start seeing more of your parents in yourself. You realize how much they’ve influenced you and this carries over to how you raise your own children. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are very welcome Ana – thanks for stopping by!

  3. This is so true! The main part is, it is a gradual change, we don’t become responsible overnight, and more importantly, different people mature at different paces based on their different experiences. That’s why it’s so confusing and good to have family in our corner.

    1. All such valid and insightful comments – thank you for sharing Mukti!

  4. Interesting topic! Although I think what changes ranges very differently within each family at each life milestone x


    1. I completely agree – the variation in family dynamics is so broad that these changes can happen earlier, later, in part, or deeper yet.

  5. There’s definitely a lot more to Adulting than I think we’ve all never realized when we were younger wishing we were older. Being the one in charge of everything can be massively daunting and terrifying because making one decision can either be the best one you’ve made and change the trajectory of your life or it could hold you back for a while. It’s a lot of trusting yourself and making sure you see the whole picture of everything before making a decision.

    The missteps are of course great lessons, no doubt! Even if they are super stressful while choosing/making the decision. But the best thing is having learned from past decisions, and getting better at making tough decisions.

    Great Post!

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thanks Sahara – great share and insights!

  6. A great read! Adulting is a change, but a great change. And like you said, our parents will always be there for us, just not necessarily holding directly onto our hands.

    1. Exactly Mai – growing up really makes you appreciate all your parents do for you.


  7. Great post it is definitely a transition that really changes people and I think at the time we don’t realize how life-changing it can and will be on our futures. I know there are a lot of things I would change if I could but I’m glad I ended up where I am now with my own little family. I hope I can teach my girls better.

    1. I’m glad you are in a good place Jenn – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and insights as well.

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