We’ve all heard the phrase “failure to launch” describing young men and women who don’t make the transition into responsible adulthood. Unfortunately, many parents inadvertently keep their children from growing up due to overprotection and lack of intentionality. Whether your son or daughter is going off to college, joining the military or entering the workforce, how can you be intentional about successfully launching them into a God-honoring life?
Be a good coach
As the parent of an older teen on the verge of adulthood, you are a very important coach. You can motivate, encourage, challenge and advise, but you can’t force feed. You can help them articulate what they believe, challenge their thinking, remind them of the “basics” already learned during earlier years, but the time has come for your child to truly own his or her own beliefs and choices. Provide a listening ear as they wrestle with and possibly question the values they learned as a child. Try to maintain a strong relationship that includes frequent, open dialogue.
Give perspective concerning big questions
During the transition into adulthood your son or daughter will face big questions including: Where should I go to college? What kind of work should I do? Where should I live? What should I do with my life? Who should I marry? Direct your child back to overarching Biblical principles. The last words of King David to his son Solomon (in 1 Chronicles 28:9) provide a model for parents advising emerging adults: “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind.” In the midst of the practical advice parents may offer on setting goals, choosing a job, finding a spouse and so forth, we must also elevate the importance of making decisions in light of the scriptures.
Give a vision for marriage and family
Parents often go to extremes to help a child prepare for college or the workforce but don’t know exactly what they can do when it comes to preparing them for the more important work of marriage and family. While a small minority will be called to life-long celibate service, most young people are called to marriage and family (Genesis 2:18-24). We sometimes overlook how much marriage and family serve as the organizing structure of life and the prime arena for our spiritual development. You have a vital part to play in helping your child leave your nest and cling to their future spouse.
Make the most
While leaving home is a healthy and good process, it can be emotional for parent and child alike. Ease the pain by using the remaining time your son or daughter has at home to create lasting memories. Spend quality time together connecting and talking about the exciting adventure of adulthood.
Set your child up for the best opportunity to succeed and make an easy transition.
1. Plan a special time together to discuss the Before You Leave card included with this kit. Use the conversation to identify areas that might require some coaching before they leave.
2. Choose a particular book or resource to go through together. Schedule coffee dates to talk through specific topics.
3. Write a blessing letter to encourage your child. Let your child know that you are praying for them during this season of transition. A sample letter is included with this kit.
Welcome to College: A Christ-Follower’s Guide for the Journey by Jonathan Morrow
Letting Them Go by Dave Veerman
How to Stay Christian in College by J. Budziszewski
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper
The Freshman 15 by Kate Henderson
True U video series from trueu.org