Parenting Adult Children

Parenting 103.33321111 (The course that never ends!)

There are certain things they prepare you for when you learn that you’re going to be a parent. Things like childbirth, or what to do when your baby has a fever and/or diaper rash. Unfortunately, there’s many other things you don’t hear about until you experience them. Back in my day, we called up a friend for advice. Today, people Google. For what it’s worth, here’s my advice.

Let me start from the beginning. I remember when our sons were infants. They were about 3 years apart in age and I was absolutely fascinated with those early years. One of the sweetest moments was when they first made eye contact with me and turned their head as if they were following me across the room. It absolutely squeezes your heart. Their first bite of baby food, the first time they learn to roll over without any help, and their first tooth were especially memorable moments!

Although I loved that stage, I couldn’t wait for the day when they would crawl, take their first step, run, ride a bike, write their name, play in sports, develop friendships, be in school, discover their gifts, love God without any prompting, develop a bond with their brothers, go to college, find the one, get a good job, marry the love of their life, have children, and so on. Some of those things have happened, and some have not. As a parent, you have these hopes and dreams for your child. You not only want the best for them, you want them to experience a better life than what you had so you do everything in YOUR power to help them not make the same mistakes that YOU did. But God reveals time and time again that HIS plan is best – and that no matter what choices they make, He’s got it. No problem is too big for God, and when your child is far away, God is still with him. Trust Him.

Whoever thought a parent’s responsibility ends when your child reaches adulthood has another thing coming. It never ends- at least it shouldn’t. Just like your love doesn’t stop the moment your child yells at you, hits a rough patch in school, develops an attitude that you embarrass him or her when you say certain things – like I love you – out in public. Love is an amazing thing. One day it can make you feel like you’re on a mountain top, and the next day your’e sitting in the valley. Those experiences reveal one thing – love is real.

Oh YES, your responsibilities cHaNge once your kids move out, get married, or have children. However, you still have a roll to play. It’s not a time to close your eyes, cross your fingers, and hope for the best. Step back and bite your tongue, maybe, and absolutely stop trying to control their life. If you truly want to help your child, then pray for them. Every day.

What I’ve learned over time is that they need to know you are always there for them – even from a distance. Let them know – at the very least through a text message – that you’re always available to listen, provide wisdom when needed, and that you love them – even during the most difficult times. Just like our Heavenly Father does for us.

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