SOURCE: The Gottman Institute
SOURCE: Mark Merrill
Susan and I learned a lot of good things about parenting adult children from our own parents. Looking back, Susan and I agree that they did this very well with us. So we hope that we can build on what they taught us as we move into a season of parenting our five adult children.
Here are a few things we’ve learned about parenting adult children as we are working hard to follow what was modeled for us.
There’s a fine line between giving our grown children advice versus giving them orders. And when any of my kids call and ask for my counsel on something, I try to ask them questions that will help them to come to their own conclusions rather than just telling them what to do. I want to be very involved in navigating them through life without them feeling like I’m being intrusive.
Cell phones, texting, and FaceTime help us stay connected with our children who are in college or working in another city. Susan and I are partial to Face Time because we not only get to hear their voices, but also see their faces. We love to love on them! Even though we’ve got this technology, we know it’s important not to overuse it and crowd our kids. Instead of calling or texting every hour, we try to call when we know they’re out of class or off of work and driving home. And when we do speak, we try avoid asking a million questions about who they’re with, what they’re doing, how late they’ll be out, and where they are. That’s harder for me than Susan! I’m learning to ask general questions like, “How is your day going?” and to be content with however long or short their answer may be.
Encouraging and helping our children is really important to us. But it’s sometimes hard to determine when encouraging becomes enabling. There are no formulas that clearly guide us on this issue. For example, when your child graduates from college and gets their own apartment, should you pay the first month’s rent to help them get on their feet? That might be a very nice thing to do. But when paying that first month turns into paying the second and third month, that may be moving into the enabling category absent extenuating circumstances. Of course, being there for them in times of emergencies or times of need is part of being a parent.
Soon enough, your kids will move into the next season of their lives, get married, and begin having children of their own. As they find themselves in this time of busyness, be sure not to isolate yourself by only offering to let them come visit you. Initiate time together with them by buying that plane ticket or making that drive down to see your kids and grandkids at their home. Make it easy by coming to where they are and build new memories at times that are convenient for them.
Men, you know your wife better than anyone else, and only you know how to best encourage and cultivate her as a woman of God. But sometimes it helps to build off other people’s ideas in order to form your own. Here are 20 ideas that I hope will spark your thinking about how you can date your wife.
1. Attend a wedding. Sit in the back row and spend the whole time whispering memories from your own wedding.
2. Make a list of 10 things your wife loves to do. Each new time you take your wife on a date, do one of those 10 things as your date.
3. Take up a new hobby with your wife; do something new that you’re both excited about.
4. Do the classic date: dinner and a show. Take your wife to dinner and to a movie she wants to watch.
5. Take a 12-month honeymoon with your wife. Relive your honeymoon by scheduling a 24-hour getaway for every month of this year. Each month go somewhere new with your wife.
6. Devote one hour each night for alone time with your wife. Talk about how your days went. Joke around with each other. Cultivate your friendship. Talk honestly about what’s going on in your lives. Help each other. Encourage each other. Pray together.
7. Mark your wife’s birthday, your wedding anniversary, and Mother’s Day on your calendar every year and plan to make those days special.
8. Write a love note to your wife. Tell her all over again what she means to you.
9. Spend an evening stargazing with your wife and talking about dreams you have for the future.
10. Spend an evening reminiscing with your wife about all you’ve been through together and all God has done and redeemed in your life together.
11. Devote the next month to studying a book of the Bible with your wife. Take 20 minutes several nights a week to read, discuss, and pray through a shorter book such as Ephesians or Philippians.
12. Visit your roots. Visit where your wife grew up and where you grew up. Learn more about each other’s backgrounds.
13. Hold your wife’s hand often, in public and in private.
14. Tell your wife that you love her.
15. Tell your wife that Jesus loves her more than you do.
16. Set a weekly date night. Each week rotate going out and staying in for your date night.
17. Cancel work for the day and do something special with your wife.
18. Take dancing lessons with your wife.
19. Cut something from your schedule and use that time to date your wife.
20. Vacation with your wife without your kids, without your work, and without your cell phone and computer.
Adapted by permission from Date Your Wife, by Justin Buzzard, ©2012, Crossway Books.
SOURCE: Bill Bellican
Below are some examples of questions you might use in building your relationship with your child/teen. Prayerfully consider how the Lord might have you work these into conversations at different times. Don’t use these questions like a project where you ask your child to answer all the questions as though it was a homework assignment. Weave them throughout your interactions with your child. Get to know them better. Enter their world. Explore what is of interest to them. This is not a time to fix things or pass judgement. Make it about them as opposed to you. Listen. Learn. Proverbs 1:5 admonishes us: “Let the wise listen and add to their learning.” Seek the grace and ability from the Lord to really listen and add to your learning about your child. Then, you will become wiser with your parenting. Plus, you will be building a great relationship. Finally, ask the Lord to give you the insight and creativity to add more of your own questions to this list.
1. Who is your best friend?
2. What color would you like for the walls in your bedroom?
3. Who is your greatest hero?
4. What embarrasses you the most?
5. What is your biggest fear?
6. What is your favorite type of music?
7. What person outside the immediate family has most influenced your life?
8. What is your favorite school subject?
9. What is your least favorite school subject?
10. What have you done you feel most proud of?
11. What is your biggest complaint about the family?
12. What sport do you most enjoy?
13. What is your favorite TV program?
14. What really makes you angry?
15. What would you like to be when you get older?
16. What chore do you like least?
17. What three foods do you like most?
18. What is your most prized possession?
19. What is your favorite family occasion?
20. What activity did you most recently enjoy?