Being on the sidelines is exactly what I'm talking about when I use the term 'spectator'. It's a common metaphor to describe the stages of parenting. To start, you're in the game, on the field with them. As they go into teenage years, you're the coach - helping them from the sidelines, giving them good techniques, showing them the ropes and giving them a safety net. Once they enter adulthood, you're in the stands, spectating - cheering them on and encouraging them while they play their own game unassisted. Spectating doesn't mean uninvolved - it means you're not making the decisions for them, you're supporting their decisions.