They warned me about having an infant. Sleepless nights. Colicky babies. Emotional craziness.
They warned me about toddlers. Exhausted from chasing little legs as they dash toward whatever catches their eyes. Grabbing hands before they reach into danger. Stepping on toys in the middle of the night.
They warned me about elementary age. Dropping them off that first day of school. Adjusting to teachers. Learning to get along with other kids.
They warned me about the pre-teen and teenage years. Searching for who they are. Dealing with mean kids. Schoolwork we don’t understand. Peer pressure. School pressure. And let’s face it, sometimes we look at them and wonder where in the world they came from and what happened to our sweet little baby?
But they didn’t warn me about parenting an adult child.
To me, this has been the hardest to maneuver.
We’ve lost any control we had in place to protect them. In some cases, we have to give up the dreams we had for our children. Because now, they are their own person. They make their own choices. And more often than not, they don’t want our advice or help.
We have to wait for them to come to us before we can offer correction, encouragement, and even speak Truth.
And the hardest is when you see the train wreck ahead because of some of their choices, but you cannot save them from it.
Often times, we have to sit back and allow the heartache and trial to take its course, and pray like crazy they learn from it.
It’s hard. One of the hardest things I’ve had to do as a parent.
We look at our adult children and still see the innocent babies they once were, and our greatest desire is to wrap our arms around them and protect them from this big bad world.
We want our rules firmly back in place. Because our rules were there to protect them, right? But we can’t. They’re grown. And they must deal with the consequences of their decisions.
I say this will make them a better person, but then I find myself not truly believing it. They don’t have to learn. They don’t have to make the right choice next time. I can’t ground them for the rest of their life if do it again.
We can start to doubt our parenting skills. What happened? What did I do wrong?
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6
When they are older… There is no specific age given. Just “when they are older”. It doesn’t say when they move out on their own. It doesn’t say when they are twenty-five, thirty, or even forty years old. The timeline is not ours, it’s up to them and God. But when we raise our kids to know God, His truth is deeply embedded inside of them. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can take that away.
“So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 AMP
God gave us His word to train, direct, and speak to our children while they were still young, and it WILL accomplish what He desires when they are older.
We have all been given the gift of free will. We don’t have to make the right choices and sometimes we don’t. We still disappoint Him. We still walk into sin. We still find ourselves broken before the Lord.
But God loves us so much that He won’t give up on us, or our children.
What’s the best thing to do with our adult children? Accept them. Love them. And pray. (And then pray more.) And KNOW that no matter how much we love our children, God loves them more.
We must trust that He will take care of them. Because they are His children first.
Do you have an adult child? What advice can you share to others walking into this unwarned territory of life?