[lôn(t)SH, län(t)SH]: set in motion by pushing it or allowing it to go; to send on it course
This is the end goal of all parenting. One day that baby you brought home from the hospital who was totally dependent on you for everything, will be an adult. An adult who will take on the responsibility and privilege of making decisions independent of you. While they are home, we prepare them for the launch. When they are grown, set them in motion. What does that look like? What is your role as a parent of an adult?
Look for the what is done well and encourage. Finishing college, job hunting, moving to a new city can be daunting task mixed with excitement, anticipation, fear and apprehension. Adult children need to be reminded of what they do well and encouraged to continue to practice those skills and talents.
Advise respectfully. Your adult son and daughter is now of an age that each is responsible for their decisions. They can no longer be commanded or controlled. When exactly is that age? The Bible gives some hint through varies references such as Numbers 1:3, that twenty years of age marks the beginnings of adulthood. They have opinions and ideas. Listen to them. Help them consider the consequences of their options. Share your ideas and the Biblical principle behind them, knowing he or she has the choice to heed or disregard. Remember that ultimately, your son or daughter is responsible to God for decisions that are made.
Under your roof still. There are numerous reasons why your adult son or daughter maybe living back at home – continuing college, seeking that career job, physical injury, saving for marriage. Whatever the reason, make sure to establish clear cut goals for that time at home. Have a plan. Review it regularly to assess progress and adjust as needed.
Never stop praying. The most valuable gift you can give your adult son and daughter is to seek God on their behalf. God is the only one who knows what is best for him or her. And He is the only one who can change a heart to be willing to trust, seek and obey Him. It is our great privilege to pray for our children their whole life long.
Change. Remember that your interaction with your adult son and daughter is to be different than it was when they were children. You are no longer the responsible party who demands obedience but a advisor who offers wise counsel. You have the opportunity now to be a friend. Embrace that change.
Helping with finances. It is a difficult decision whether to help your adult son or daughter when financial assistance is requested. A guiding principle would be to consider what is needed to truly help. Sometimes experiencing the consequences of a poor financial decision is what is needed to learn to handle funds more appropriately. Other times funds may need to be granted along with instruction and accountability. Ask God to help you discern what would be the best course of action for your adult son or daughter at the time.
If your children are young, training them now with the launch in mind. If you have adult children, set them in motion trusting God work in their hearts and yours.
This blog was written by Sonja Jackson, Licensed Professional Counselor at Compassion Counseling. She currently sees clients at the North Richland Hills location. Click here to learn more about Sonja!
Information gleaned from You Never Stop Being a Parent, Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children by Jim Newheiser and Elyse Fitzpatrick. Learn more about the book here You Never Stop Being A Parent