Release Your Child to Embrace Independence
Be a good coach
As the parent of an older teen on the verge of adulthood, you are a very important coach. You can motivate, encourage, challenge and advise, but you can’t force feed. You can help them articulate what they believe, challenge their thinking, remind them of the “basics” already learned during earlier years, but the time has come for your child to truly own his or her own beliefs and choices. Provide a listening ear as they wrestle with and possibly question the values they learned as a child. Try to maintain a strong relationship that includes frequent, open dialogue.
Give perspective concerning big questions
During the transition into adulthood your son or daughter will face big questions including: Where should I go to college? What kind of work should I do? Where should I live? What should I do with my life? Who should I marry? Direct your child back to overarching Biblical principles. The last words of King David to his son Solomon (in 1 Chronicles 28:9) provide a model for parents advising emerging adults: “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind.” In the midst of the practical advice parents may provide regarding big life decisions like education choices, choosing a job, or finding a spouse, we must elevate living a life of faith that is guided by making decisions in light of the scriptures. We must remind our children in these crucial moments that nothing is more important than knowing, and being known by God.
Give a vision for marriage and family
Parents often go to extremes to help a child prepare for college or the workforce but don’t know exactly what they can do when it comes to preparing them for the more important work of marriage and family. While a small minority will be called to life-long celibate service, most young people are called to marriage and family (Genesis 2:18-24). We sometimes overlook how much marriage and family serve as the organizing structure of life and the prime arena for our spiritual development. You have a vital part to play in helping your child leave your nest and cling to their future spouse.
Make the most
While leaving home is a healthy and good process, it can be emotional for parent and child alike. Ease the pain by using the remaining time your son or daughter has at home to create lasting memories. Try to do things that your child wants to do or is interested in. As you do them, spend quality time together connecting and talking about the exciting adventure of adulthood. Seek opportunities to dialogue about the things that they are excited about and the things that they are concerned with. Find ways to communicate to your now grown child that you love them and believe in them… both verbally and non-verbally.
Set your child up for the best opportunity to succeed and make an easy transition.
- Plan a special time together to discuss the Before You Leave card included with this kit. Use the conversation to identify areas that might require some coaching before they leave.
- Choose a particular book or resource to go through together. Schedule coffee dates to talk through specific topics.
- Write a blessing letter to encourage your child. Let your child know that you are praying for them during this season of transition. A sample letter is included with this kit.