This time of year is stressful enough. Kids are starting back to school. Families resume their homeschooling schedule. But how do you handle the beginning of the school year when your kid is out adulting?
Maybe you graduated your child and he is off to college or starting a new job. Whatever the case, when a child is leaving the nest, it is stressful. We are proud of our kiddos, but that doesn’t mean we can’t grieve. After my eldest went off to college, I had a reprieve of four years before I graduated five in a row!
So here are my tips on handling your kids adulting. I don’t know it all, and you may have some great tips too!
- It’s okay to cry. Better to do this alone, though. We don’t want our kids to get entangled in our feelings. It’s better if they see us rejoicing with them over this next stage.
- Make sure you have something meaningful to do. We moms put our kids first. Often, we are so consumed with raising them that we forget to be a person. Invest time in other pursuits now, even if it’s only a few minutes a day. When your kids grow up, you can expand your purpose. Maybe you start writing a few paragraphs a day or dabbling in photography or [you fill in the blank].
- Invest in other women. When your kiddos are mostly grown, you have some time to follow the Biblical instruction for the older women:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.Titus 2:3-5
We don’t like to use the word “old” or “older.” How about “more mature” and “with more life experience?” Whatever you want to call yourself, now is your chance to say, “I get it. Me too!” to those younger moms.
4. Invest in others, period. I remember the days when I walked around in a stupor. I changed one diaper after another. I read stories, made meals, and cleaned up afterwards. Then one evening, I sat on the couch and realized that all my kids were off doing other things, from part-time jobs to extracurricular activities. I could breathe. I could think. This also began the season of being able to invest in others. My niche is the foster/adoptive world. Yours may be different. Find out what your outreach is and invest in it.
5. Go to your child. Don’t expect them to come to you. When your child is out in the world adulting, whether they’re in college or married with kiddos, this is the time to go to them. Don’t sit on your couch wondering where everyone has gone. Instead, take them out for lunch or coffee. Drive to their home. Make an effort to keep the connection. It’s difficult enough for them to manage this new life. Make it a bit easier by going to them instead of waiting for them to come to you.
6. Expect your relationship to change. We spend so many years disciplining our children. We give them advice. We make sure they do their chores. We keep them on track. As they grow into adults, we will be tempted to keep telling our kids what to do and when to do it. We have the best intentions, but it’s not going to work. It’s okay to give advice when they ask for it, but otherwise, take a step back. Your child will move into a new role: friend and, sometimes, advisor. It’s a great new phase of life!
7. Pray. Place your child’s name in these scriptures and pray them aloud:
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.Ephesians 1:15-21
8. Don’t give up on them. Even if they wound you emotionally over and over again, be on their side. Forgive and move on. Go back to #7 and pray!
9. Be ready to go to battle spiritually for them. Who else is going to do this for them? This is our job no matter how old they are! See #7.
10. Keep living and enjoying your life. If your kids are wounding you emotionally on a regular basis, this is a toughie, but hang in there. It’ll be well worth it. Jesus came so we could have an abundant life. It’s important to Him, so it should be important to us!
Want more tips and encouragement for navigating this season of life? At The Gathering on September 7th, I’ll be presenting a workshop titled “Transitioning Into the Teen Years and Beyond.” Grab your ticket here.