People mature as they grow older. As an adult, you are not the same person you were 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. Your desires change, your interest change, and truth is learned over time. Therefore, your understanding changed- and so did your experiences and your perspective on life. In the same sense, your children are changing and growing, and it doesn’t stop once they reach adulthood. As a result, your relationship with them will change and take on different dynamics as well. While it may feel natural to continue to treat your adult child as a teenager, you must learn how to relate to them in a new way as they transition into adulthood. While you can’t force your child to value the relationship, you can foster an environment of respect and boundaries.
Often times, moms (myself included) become frustrated when their child exerts independence and willfulness and refuse to listen to their advice. If you find yourself making statements such as “if only my daughter had different friends, she wouldn’t be so stubborn” or “if only my son would only come around more” then its important to do some self-reflecting. Your words and behavior do impact your child whenever you do get together. Our children are still trying to figure out life and learn from their own mistakes. We can go a long way by allowing a context for that learning to take place. So, the next time your child comes over for a visit, focus on telling them you are happy to see them instead of criticizing their choices.
I was so disappointed and hurt when my son didn’t come over for Thanksgiving, not even a phone call. I was prepared for Christmas to be the same. However, he did come over and came bearing gifts. He brought me some gumbo that he cooked which is one of my favorites. I didn’t call chewing him out for not stopping by or calling on Thanksgiving, I simply prayed. I prayed that our relationship will change, rebuild and most of all that he would confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and walk in God’s purpose and plan for His life. And, I won’t stop praying that prayer. I don’t agree with his choices, but working on building a positive relationship now is what is important to me, regardless of his mistakes, struggles or choices.
Are you a Christian mother? Are you willing to guide your child in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6) in order that they may become functional followers of Christ? Or are you afraid of losing their love once they get out into the world, and are struggling to let them go? While not intruding on their independence may seem like you are not supporting them, allowing them to be adults will actually lead to a more fulfilling relationship. You may even find yourself enjoying this aspect of parenting.