Guest Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Graduation season causes parents to take a look at the bigger picture of life regarding their children. It is another milestone on their journey to adulthood. It is also a reminder that both the parents and children’s roles need to be gradually changing. The parent can help the child through this transition by letting go just a bit along the way. More responsibility, more decisions left to the kid, more recognition that you know she’s no longer 12.
Letting go is not always easy. Not always painless but so necessary as your child takes another step toward adulthood.Letting go. Not always easy. Not always painless but oh so necessary as your child steps into adulthood. Click To Tweet
3 Reasons Why Letting Go Is Critical to Your Child’s Success:
1) Their faith in God becomes their own. Responsible parents continue praying for their children and modeling Christ for them. However, spoon-feeding exactly what the child needs to believe should morph into discussions about the Lord while letting the child work out his own salvation as Paul suggests in Philippians 2:12.
As you let your child struggle with certain concepts about God, he can discover why he believes something with the answer not being just because mom and dad told him so. For example, he knows what you say about right and wrong. Now it’s up to him to choose for himself.
You are there for him of course if he needs you; but the discovery process – his discovery process – is critical. It becomes his own faith as you let go.
2) Their decision-making skills develop. Years ago I counseled a man who was crippled in his ability to function in the simplest manner. After talking just a few minutes it was clear that he could not do any basic thing without his dad’s approval or deciding it for him. His whole life centered around his father. Get this: the man I spoke with was in his FIFTIES!
Don’t be this dad. Do you really want your child to be that helpless that far into adulthood? I thought not. Let go of your children’s decisions along the way. Give them more and more of the decision-making power that needs to be theirs. If you have a young child, start early. Give them decisions appropriate for their age. For example, let your first-grader choose if she wants to wear flip flops or sandals. The blue t-shirt or the red one? Then, as she gets older let her decide more and more about her life. You want your child easing into adulthood, not crashing into it. Pushing age-appropriate decisions in her direction can help.
Decision-making is essential for your child as she approaches adulthood. Don’t deprive them of this. Rather, bless them with this opportunity.
3) They sense the confidence mom and dad have in them. Your daughter will be thinking, “Mom and dad really think I can handle this situation on my own. That’s a little scary but exciting, too!” Or, “Mom and dad are letting me work through this issue with my professor. I am getting less exact direction from them while more of this problem is on me to deal with.” (Welcome to adulthood, kid!)
Letting go says to your emerging adult that his parents believe in him. The parents are also saying, “You are growing up and we celebrate that development by letting you go a little bit more.”
Shouting “You can do it” from the grandstands is one thing, but letting go shows them you mean business in thinking your kid really can do it. It screams the confidence you have in her. (Plus, we all know how much louder actions speak than mere words.)Shouting 'You can do it' from the grandstands is one thing, but letting go shows them you mean business. Click To Tweet
If you struggle with the idea of letting your children go, spend some time in prayer. Acknowledge that your kids belong to God and entrust them to His care. Ask Him to give you wisdom in knowing how to let them go responsibly.
Push through the hard parts. As a parent, you can do this! Let go and watch your children blossom into the adults God meant for them to be.