I now have a young adult son who is heading for 21 in January, and a teenaged daughter who is anticipating turning 15 in May of 2022. Well, the truth is none of them are really anticipating, they are truly baffled with the fast pace of time.
However, the point of this article is that over the last two years, I have been making a special effort to communicate more effectively with my kids keeping abreast with their intellectual changes. You see their ability to think, plan and execute their own affairs has matured and continues to mature. Consequently, when it comes to making plans I have been trying to keep them informed practicing inclusion, accommodation and compromise.
It is important to remember that as our kids grow they too would have plans for the day, they too would have recommendations for solving problems. They too would need their personal time and space. Our role is to groom them to thrive and succeed without a heavy reliance on us as parents. If we can keep this reality in mind, we would be ready when the adjustment is necessary.
Maybe you have not been adjusting well and feel a bit guilty. The good news is, it is not too late. You can seek to improve today! Here are some practical ways to support your teens and young adults as they discover themselves and grow to understand God’s purpose for their lives.
Avoid giving commands but rather respectfully ask for assistance.
Invite suggestions for solutions to problems you are trying to solve rather than proceeding to solve them on your own.
Whenever you are thinking of planning family events or activities ask them what they would like to do instead of telling them about your plans.
Respect their privacy; it is time to stop storming into their rooms without notice.
Avoid giving advice already given. Once you have told them before, trust them to act appropriately when the time comes.
Do not interrupt them when they are speaking to you assuming you know what they are about to say next.
When the hard questions come, put the escape answer “because I say so” to rest. It is time for real answers.
Never treat them as errand boys or girls, treat them as adults or to-be adults that needs to be given the opportunity to say “yes” or “no”. Once you have raised them to assist at home and to see helping others as well as asking for help as a critical aspect of their lives, they would know how to respond.
It is now time to provide guidance, not rules and instructions and in so doing explain how every choice or decision leads to consequences that would contribute to the quality of life they would later enjoy or detest. When your kids become teens and young adults, parenting begins anew. Unlike the sentiments of others, teenagers and young adults are still desperately in need of our love and guidance.
If we are able to adjust our parenting as our children get older, we would find that our relationship with them would transition smoothly into a beautiful friendship where our children feel safe to express their emerging emotions, desires and fears. Our teens and young adults would feel understood and supported.
What practical tips can you share to effectively parent teens and young adults?