Do you lose sleep over your adult kids?

blond brother and sister with yellow lab

My kids with Angus more than 10 years ago. When they were young and I worried about other things.

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post. It was during the lockdown and I was in high amped worry mode. I was extremely anxious about my daughter who was laid off and was frustrated because her unemployment was on hold — along with 1.5 million other Californians who were lost in the system. She wrote to her assemblywomen, senators, governor, etc. but nobody helped. She’d call everyday to the EDD and nobody answered the phone. They had an 8 a.m. to noon window where they would accept calls. The one time she got through, the person said they were hired to answer the phone but couldn’t access the system. To this day she is still owed thousands of dollars from 2020. I’m going off track, but here’s what I wrote  in October 2020: I read a fascinating story that said “Study Confirms That Parents Still Lose Sleep Worrying About Their Adult Children.” I am definitely on of those parents who loses sleep and I know my dear friend Gabby, who shared this story on Facebook is one, also.
Even before our children are born, we worry about them. We’re relieved when we count the 10 fingers and 10 toes in the hospital, but we still worry. We’re relieved when they do well on their tests in school and make the team, but we still worry. We worry about safety, about their grades, about what they’ll do for a career, about who they’ll one day marry or if they’ll get married at all. The list of things to worry about feels endless. We hope that our worries will ease as our children get older, but it turns out that’s not the case.
Brother and sister staring at eachother

A photo from our beach vacation two years ago.

Can you relate to this as a parent, too? On my current list of worries is the bad air quality from California fires, my kids driving through the Cyclone Bomb weather, which is a rare event with high winds, rain and even snow, plus their general safety living in the Bay Area. I worry that they are secure in their careers and find their work satisfying and are able to make a living. Here’s more from the story about parents who worry about adult kids:
A recent study conducted by Amber J. Seidel of Pennsylvania State University confirms what many parents already know – you never stop worrying about your children. Her study went on to show that parents actually lose sleep worrying about their adult children. Parents, it looks like we’ll be worrying forever. If your children are already adults, you may already know that to be true. In Seidel’s study, 186 heterosexual married couples with adult children were surveyed. On a scale of 1 to 8, they were asked how much assistance they offer their children. Assistance could include financial, emotional or even chatting on the phone. Choosing 1 meant daily assistance and interaction where 8 was only once a year. The parents were also asked to choose from 1 to 5 regarding stress. In this case, choosing 1 meant no stress, and 5 meant the maximum amount of stress. The third thing these parents tracked was how much sleep they got at night. Moms got an average of 6.66 hours and dads got slightly more with an average of 6.69 hours. The results were not the same for moms and dads. For moms, it didn’t matter if they were the ones offering assistance or if their husbands were the ones offering assistance; moms were stressed out and sleeping less either way. Dads showed a lack of sleep and more stress only when they were the ones offering assistance to their adult children. If their wife offered assistance, it didn’t affect them. This either means that dads are not affected in the same way as moms or that the wives weren’t telling their husbands about the assistance causing the dads to be stress free due to lack of knowledge about the situation.
I found it interesting that the dads didn’t lose sleep if their wives were the ones offering support. Or, like the article said, maybe they weren’t aware of what was going on. But the moms lost sleep regardless who was the main person offering support to their kids. Do you worry about your children too, regardless of their age? What do you worry about most?
brother and sister back to back with pug

A more recent photo in our old back yard with Waffles the pug.

24 thoughts on “Do you lose sleep over your adult kids?

  1. Oh, E.A., I’m with you! Adult matters are so much larger than child ones. The worries just get more serious as they grow. And then grandchildren come and add more child worries too! 😉 I honestly don’t know how anyone survives it without the Lord. When I get concerned to the point where I lose sleep, I realize that I am trying to figure out the answers to their lives and I’m not in my lane. God, who loves my kids, and grandkids, so much more than I, has them in His hands. I just need to pray. And praying not only petitions God to move, it relieves my stress and reminds me where my faith is placed. It helps me rest easier, knowing that God is ‘on the clock’ taking care of them.

  2. I am reminded of a quote by Eckhart Tolle: “Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”. So no, I do not worry. I educate and influence. If i do that right, then I need not worry.

  3. This is something I resonate with.
    It doesn’t surprise me that men don’t worry. Of COURSE, they aren’t worrying. LMAO.

    But seriously, when my oldest daughter left for college, I was filled with anxiety. Why hadn’t anyone warned me that this stage of her life would be the most difficult?? Then I realized I had no control over it. We’ve done our part, and all that remains is for us to be supportive.

    By the way, there should be a class for that. To teach parents how to provide support from afar.

    You will always be there for them, but we can’t make their situation better for them. Just like we have no influence over our own situation.

  4. I worry but not to the point of sleeplessness unless it is something medically related. Like “theearthspins” above, I tried to lead by example and educate as much as I could but ultimately they need to make their own choices and learn from their own mistakes. We do help as much as we can. Two of our adult kids (33 and 24) live with us because it is so expensive in the Bay Area, as you know. Our oldest daughter (35) struggled a lot during the pandemic, both financially and mentally. We are going out of state this weekend to talk to my MIL to see about her moving in with her to care for her (MIL is 96). That may be a good solution for everyone. But I think the bottom line is you’re always a parent.

    • Yes, we’re always a parent. My daughter struggled with her mental health which was the source of my worry. That sounds like a good plan for your MIL. I hope it works out.

  5. I often am reminded of the worries I gave my parents and my brothers gave my parents. Did you give your parents worries or do you think things are intensified nowadays?

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