Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Parenting Young Adults

So, Brian and I sat alone at the dinner table last night - a scene which is occurring more frequently these days - contemplating our role as parents of young adults.
Do you remember when your children were little and you felt completely responsible for their lives?
How about the days when they came to you with important questions, and you wondered if you were giving the correct answers? (You know, like, "Why is the sky blue?")
When it broke your heart to see them fall, because you didn't want them to be hurt?
When their tears brought on your own?
Maybe you're in the midst of those days right now.
Let me tell you, as a mother of 22, 20, and (almost)18 - not a lot changes!

Brian and I sat at the table discussing how our parents interacted with us when we were that age, and questioned - should we follow their example? Or take a different route? We deliberated life decisions each child, er, young adult is making and wondered how much input we should give. There were practical behaviors to be debated and common actions to consider. We weighed the pros and cons of offering advice, or letting them figure things out on their own.
And we frequently came back to the same conclusion:
I don't know.
See? The thing is, just like when they were little we feel responsible for their lives. Sometimes they still ask important questions (Albeit, more significant than why the sky is blue.) and we aren't sure of the correct answer. We still don't want to see them fall, because they're our kids! And we don't want them to be hurt. And the tears? Yeah. Same effect these days as then!
Still, we know from personal experience that we can't give them life experience by telling or showing or relating or cajoling or, or, any other way. Some things they've got to do on their own. And they might fall. And there might be tears. And we might want to step in and kiss the boo-boo and make it all better. But they aren't little children anymore, and we've got to learn how to parent adults.
Thankfully, we aren't in this alone.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

James 1:5
I remember hearing a quote when I was in the midst of late-night feedings, dirty diapers, temper tantrums and all the throes of having young children.
It went something like this: Parenting isn't for sissies.
Yeah. Like I said above. Not a lot changes!


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