Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Genesis 2:24 says a lot about transitioning into adulthood:
This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.
Whether married or not, leaving parents is such an important part of the process of becoming an adult. Leaving means figuring out how to do things your own way. It means learning from failures and experiencing your own independent successes. It means entering adulthood.As a parent, you have the power to encourage your adult children and coach them to independence. Click To Tweet
As a parent, you have the power to encourage your adult children and coach them to independence. Equally, your words can foster insecurity, build resentment, or enable your kids to remain codependent. We want to be parents who cheer our adult children onto healthy independence while being a safe place for them to turn for wisdom and guidance.
Here are five things never to say to your adult children.
1. When I was your age … (in a condescending way). How you say something is critical. It’s great to reminisce with your adult children but not with an I-know-better-than-you kind of attitude. That spirit can demoralize a young adult who is trying to make it in this new (for them) chapter of adulthood. Let your old war stories be positive and encouraging to your adult kids.
2. It cannot be done. As preposterous as your adult child’s idea might sound to you, let them try. Saying it cannot happen is saying you do not believe in your son or daughter. You can point out what you think are the difficulties and ramifications if they carry out their idea, but don’t kill their dream.
3. I forbid you … When your child enters adulthood, throw this phrase away. This is a ‘never’ with no exceptions. This doesn’t mean you approve all their decisions. With adult children, you need to be out of the forbidding business. The final decision rests with them. As with #2, you can advise – strongly advise – against what they are considering. However it is no longer your place to forbid your child, who is now an adult, to do anything.With adult children, you need to be out of the forbidding business. Click To Tweet
4. You are not excelling as quickly as your sibling, are you? This plunges your children back into grade school vying for mommy and daddy’s attention and approval. Sibling rivalry exists just as easily (and perhaps can be more complicated) in adulthood as childhood. Your children do not need you to perpetuate what they need to grow out of.
5. Whatever your problem, bring it to me and I will solve it for you. You are there for your children in their adulthood as a cheerleader and an advisor should they choose to seek your advice. But you are not a total problem solver. Part of growing up is learning to handle adversity. Working through tough issues develops character. By letting them handle their own issues, you are telling them you believe in them.
You play a significant role in your child’s transition into adulthood. Love them, encourage them and be there if they need you. Give them space to do it their way. Remember, you have never entered adulthood in 2017. It’s different now and will look a little differently than when you and I made our entrance. Seek God’s guidance continually, model healthy choices for them, and keep your relationship open.