Parenting Adult Children

It has been a busy summer for Caryl and me. Four weeks ago we celebrated as our second daughter was married to a wonderful man. This coming Saturday our son will say his vows to a wonderful woman. And during the weeks in between we celebrated our youngest daughter’s graduation from high school. It is hard to believe that all our kids are now almost legally adults even though we have recognized them as adults and treated them as adults years earlier.

Parenting adult children is something that every parent will face. The day will come much quicker than you ever expected and it is much easier to face if you are prepared for it in advance. But let me be honest, even with the anticipation and preparation it does require change on your part. I have learned to appreciate the truth in Genesis 2:24 in a deeper way as Caryl and I are learning to be parents of adult children.”Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Most parent-adult child conflict results when the parents fail to make the changes required. Yes, your child may not be handling things maturely but I believe the responsibility is on the parents. This is especially important when our children become married. The one truth that stands out to me is that the proverbial apron strings are cut the day your child says “I do.” This involves cutting financial as well as emotion strings. God views this couple now as a new family. It reminds us that while the parent-child relationship still exists, it changes. This new family stands beside the old families the husband and wife come from. Yes, the couple is to honor their parents but the parents need to respect this new family.

One of the greatest challenges that parents can face is the allegiance of their child to their new spouse. This of course only becomes a problem when it conflicts with the wishes of the parents. Yet the Bible states that the, “husband will cleave to his wife.” This reminds me of the change of allegiance from the parent to the spouse! The new couple is responsible to make decisions In their best interest while respecting the family relationships. Yes, they will make mistakes. Yes, they will do things differently than you might. The important matter is to grasp that the couple’s will trumps the parents. The parents should be free to make their desires known with no strings attached and should leave the final decisions to the new family to make.

One of the greatest joys for parents that can make this transition is the new relationship that develops between them and the child and their child-in-law. It is not an easy transition but it is necessary for a good relationship. I would encourage you to give some thoughts to this transition in the life of you and your child who will be an adult much sooner than you can imagine.

Pastor Joe Parkinson

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