Our children need us in different ways during various points in their lives. When we can tune into their needs, we can offer support in a manner that speaks best to them in profound ways.
As the mother of three girls, who are all in very different stages of life, I am experiencing various levels of needs they each have and quite often. My oldest daughter just married this past summer. She and her husband are just at the beginning stages of their journey in their marriage. My middle daughter is half-way out on her own, somewhere between a teenager and fully independent adult. Finally, my youngest daughter, who is nine years old and in the fourth grade, relies wholly on the support of her parents.
The relationship between a parent and an adult child is a slow transition from nurturer to mentor. I certainly understood this when I became an adult and began to realize the shift in my relationship with my parents after college. However, it seems entirely different now with my children mainly due to the strong emotional connection and bond that we share.
So often, we as parents want to rush in and rescue our kids from pain or despair, like when my middle daughter experienced a job loss. I wanted to make sure she had all that she needed, and I certainly didn’t want her to go without basic needs. I realized that if I just gave her money, she would fail to learn some valuable life-lessons. Instead of choosing the easy road and handing over some cash, I offered her an opportunity. I hired her to clean my house. This idea worked out beautifully as it afforded her an opportunity to earn some money to buy groceries and I got my house cleaned. It was a win / win! [mc4wp_form id=”16061″]
I was able to offer my daughter the support she needed while learning a hard lesson. I was able to help her in a meaningful way while she was able to build her self-esteem and to see that I cared about her situation and not rush in to be “the hero.” More than anything, she needed to know that I was there to support her emotionally and mentally. She didn’t need me to bail her out of trouble. What she needed was to know that she was loved and cared for and that I will always be there to help guide her to her options.
This “failure to launch” phenomenon with young adults that has been transpiring over the last several years is a direct reflection on the parents. Parents filled with fear and anxiety to see their children experience pain or disappointment. I do hope this will soon pass before we have another whole generation with a sense of entitlement. It will take more parents wisely guiding their children with more tough love and allowing them to learn real-life lessons.
The best support we can offer our children at any age is to show them our unconditional love. No matter what situation they may find themselves in, we as parents must create a loving environment in which they feel comfortable coming to us. Whether it’s a mean girl at school, an overdrawn checking account or an unplanned pregnancy, our children need to know that we love them and that they can count on us to be there in their time of need with a warm hug and plenty of godly, sound guidance.