First, recognize and respect your difference view of the world. Remember, your child comes though you, but they are not you. They have their own thoughts. Your child is not here to live your unfulfilled dreams. They have a view of the world that is all their own. Their style, likes, and dislikes are all unique to them. You will benefit them more by helping them to realize their own dreams and by helping them obtain the tools needed to bring their dreams into fruition. This is where your role as mentor comes in. Allow them to learn how to respect the differences in others by the way they see you respect their differences.
Secondly, share your wisdom and insight without being critical. Although your child is an adult, they can still benefit from you as a life coach. You have experiences that will help them down the road. The most successful parents are the ones who can give insight without being critical. When you criticize (critter-size) your adult child, you end up making them feel small. To prevent this from happening, make a conscious effort to keep their life goals in mind. Think about the role of a coach. They are on the sideline giving directions. They help the individual to see things that are not always apparent to those that are in the game. As a coach, you have insight that will help them live a successful, productive life. If your wisdom and insight is focused on helping them to fulfill their purpose in life, they will readily accept it.
Finally, give your adult child over to God. If you do the vital inner work necessary to spiritual and emotional parenting, then relinquishing your child over to the Lord, transitioning them into adulthood will be easier than you might expect. Once you place them in God's hands, you will no longer feel compelled to use them as a means of working through the unfinished business of your past or as the focus of your future desires. They will be free to realize God's plans for their life.
Plus, by placing them in the Lord's hands, you acknowledge that you are not able to be with them in all times in places, nor do you have the ability to understand or fulfill the desires of their heart. God is faithful, and he will not allow them to be tempted above that which they are able to bear, and with the temptation, he will make a way of escape for them (1 Corinthians 10:13).
There is help for the parents of adult children. It is found in the word of God. Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. Now is the time for you to work on building or restoring your relationship with your adult children. As the parent, you should take the first step. Sit down with your child. If needed, admit your imperfections and commit them to a perfect God — who will guide, guard and govern your sons and daughters in ways you could never carry out on your own. I now meet regularly with my adult children and daily, I take them to the Lord in prayer. I get help and guidance from the Lord that as a coach and mentor, I pass on to them. I pray the Lord's blessing over you and all of your children. May they grow up and out of your house to live strong, productive lives!
Timothy Houston is an author, minister, and motivational speaker who is committed to guiding positive life changes in families and communities. For questions, comments or more information, go to www.tlhouston.com