Once your child has left your home for new worlds unknown, you have adjustments to make. Often called the “empty-nester” stage, you now need to know how to navigate your relationship with your young adult family member. Yes, you are the parent—and always will be—but the circumstances have changed.
Your young adult needs to have space to explore the new world they are now a part of, whether it’s a college campus, or a new job. But that doesn’t mean you have to exit their world and step back from your relationship.
Author Stormie Omartian shares in her classic book The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children the following points that parents need to keep in mind:
- You need to know it never ends. You will never stop being the parent of the child who no longer lives with you. “Your heart and mind will always be with each one of your children for the rest of your life,“ Omartian says.
- You need to know you can’t fix them. Just as you couldn’t always fix their problems when they were home, you can’t fix their adult problems either.
- You need to know that God can change everything. Omartian points out that we sometimes struggle to know what to do, and what not to do as parents of adult children. But, she says, “You have to believe that while you cannot change anything in your adult child’s life, God can change everything . . . So we need to pray and let God work.”
- You need to know there is only one Perfect Parent. No person on earth is perfect, therefore no earthly parent is perfect. Whether or not you were walking with God when your children were younger, God can show you how to pray for your adult children now. Omartian says, “I am certain that through our prayers, and His love and mercy, God can teach our children the things we didn’t.” And, she points out, even if we were walking with God, we are sure to have missed teaching them some important truths that He can now reveal to their hearts.
- You need to be able to say wholeheartedly, “For this adult child I prayed.” In the Bible, Samuel’s mother Hannah prayed bitterly before she conceived him, hoping to have a child. When she had Samuel, she took him to the priest, saying, “For this child I prayed, and the Lord granted me my petition (1 Samuel 1:27-28). Omartian encourages parents to become fervent in praying for your adult children.
Just because you are no longer in close proximity to your child, now an adult or on the verge of adulthood, does not mean you cannot commit them to God, and trust Him to lead them for the rest of their life.
Stormie Omartian, The Power of Praying for Your Adult Children, (Eugene, Oregon, Harvest House Publishers ©2009).