It’s easy for us to look back on our college and young adult days and only remember the late night fun, friendships, sporting events, and parties. Even though we did experience many of the fun things during that season, it is also a time of many transitions as a young person adjusts to being an adult. It can be a confusing and stressful time. It is a time when young people are trying to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their life. Many times relationships are hard, and they are trying to juggle a job and school work. Sometimes finances are tight and that can be stressful as well. These years are not as care free as we sometimes remember them to be.
As parents of children who are in this season of life, it can be a wonderful opportunity for us to look for ways to serve and encourage them. Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of it being a time when there is conflict and distance that begins to form in our relationship, we took advantage of the time and did all we could to pursue our children and become their biggest support system and cheerleaders?
- Surprise them by cleaning their room during a week that is particularly busy (exam week, a big paper is due, they are working a lot of hours).
- On a particularly busy day, do their chores for them.
- Have their favorite snacks available.
- Leave their favorite candy bar on their pillow.
- Even if they are at a point where they do their own laundry, occasionally do it for them just to bless them.
- Take them on a spontaneous lunch date.
- Bring them a snack when they are studying.
- Bring them a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning when they are getting ready for work or school.
- Make sure that they know that your home is always open for them to bring their friends over.
- Allow them to have “study parties” in your living room.
- On Saturday mornings, make an effort to keep the house quiet so they can sleep in a little.
- As they run in and out of the house in between work and classes, make sure to tell them you love them, that they are precious, and ask how they are doing.
- Ask how you can pray for them.
- If they don’t do well on a paper or test, take them out for coffee or ice cream just to encourage them.
- Ask them how you can serve them to make a busy day more bearable.
- Work hard to get to know their friends.
- If they are hanging out in your home with a friend, treat them to Starbucks!
- Text them and tell them you miss them, love them, or am praying for them.
- Try to treat them with respect. They are young adults.
- Work hard to learn how to relate to them in a new way, since they are getting older. Read good books for tips, or talk to women who have gone through this season already.
- Arrange a weekly family time to make sure you are connecting as a family.
- On Saturday morning make their favorite breakfast, since most mornings they are grabbing breakfast on the run.
- Keep your eyes open for good devotional books or Bible studies that you can buy for them, to help encourage them to be in the Word.
- If they are struggling in a particular area, respond with grace and calmly take the time to discuss how you can work together to grow in that area. Let them know you are on their side and want to help them. Try not to lecture but to work together at coming up with a plan.
- Look for opportunities to talk with them and find out what is going on in their minds, help them sort through their thoughts. Be available.
For young adult children who are in college or don’t live at home:
- Send a care package, or letter stuffed with a gift card, on a monthly basis.
- When they come home for a break, clean their room and have a small gift waiting on their pillow. Make their favorite meal. Have a “welcome home” sign hanging on the front door.
- While they are home for a break, make sure you are as available as possible to them. This is precious time. Make them WANT to come home again.
- If it is their birthday, and they live too far for you to go visit, send them a “birthday party in a box” care package!
- If they are close enough for a day trip or weekend trip, make the effort to go visit them monthly. Take them out for dinner. Get to know their friends.
We have an amazing calling as parents. It doesn’t end just because they become young adults. There are so many fun ways we can bless our children and bond with them as they are growing up. They are unique people who need us to encourage them and support them as they transition into the next season of life. They are individuals. They are not us. We need to remember that and find ways to help them succeed in becoming the people they are meant to be. It will make such a difference!