From Parenting to Mentoring

LockflowerI have a wonderful friend who is the mother of six adult children. We were having lunch one day when she made a remark that caused me to burst out laughing. My friend has the kindest heart and the sweetest voice, so when this sentence came out of her mouth-I almost couldn’t contain myself. We were discussing the challenges of parenting adult children when she said, “I have come to the conclusion that the best way to parent adult children is to SHUT UP. Now for some people, Shut Up might as well be a curse word; but I can assure you that it is life-impacting wisdom for any parent of an adult child. If you have not learned this invaluable piece of wisdom and you continue

to try and control your adult children, you may eventually not have a relationship with your adult children.

If your adult child asks your opinion or advice, I advise that even then you proceed with caution. I have always been quick to reply to any question, but my adult children have been a great tutorial in being SLOW TO SPEAK and QUICK TO LISTEN (James 1:19). I know many parents who think they are still large and in charge of their adult children…and I have also observed how far away many of these children have moved!

I was reading an interview of a young movie star who is the age of our daughter, and she was being asked about being a new mom. She remarked about the joys of motherhood, but she also remarked about all the “unsolicited advice” she is constantly receiving. I grinned when I read her remark, because I thought to myself, “She is hearing from adults who haven’t learned the deep lesson of not giving advice unless asked.”

Ken and I have several friends who, like us, only contribute when asked. Several of us as parents of adult children have taken the free time we now have and are prayerfully looking for opportunities to teach, mentor, and advise young couples who are hungry for wisdom and insight that they did not grow up with and who could use some input. The local church is constantly looking for mentors for younger couples. Therefore, instead of driving your grown kids crazy in your attempts to control them as adults, take all those brain cells and holy sweat and pour into hungry couples who really need and want direction for their marriage and their parenting journey. Too often we are trying to feed those who are not hungry and we totally ignore the starving young people around us.

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