Spend more time listening than advising. I tend to have all the solutions when I need to just listen and be a sounding board. Avoid lecturing. If I don’t listen, my child won’t talk to me.

Be available but don’t hover. During high school late nights were Joshua’s  preference for conversation so that’s when we would talk. Now I just try to remind him I’m here but not hover over his life, expecting intimate details of his activities. I am grateful for the time he gives me and pray that he knows his family is still interested and committed.

Tell him you love him and are proud of him. I miss longer heartfelt conversations but sometimes a text is all he has time for. I text him saying I’m praying for him or miss him or whatever is on my heart. 160 characters or less!

Choose the relationship over being right. So many times we want to prove we are right, but does it really matter? The relationship needs to be more important or your young adult will find someone else to share his life with.

If you haven’t laid the foundation before it is less likely they will take your advice now. When our children are younger we make decisions that will affect them the rest of their lives. Some are within our control and others require deliberate intentionality on our part. Working outside the home, educational choices, outside activities, amount of tv/computer/phone time, etc.  are all areas we should give thought and attention to. These formative years are fleeting and demand an enormous amount of energy. You will not regret the love and time poured into your children.

Pray for them. Sometimes we think prayer is the last resort, but it should actually be the first. Ask God to send people into your young adults’ lives that will be wise and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. Ask how you can pray for them. Actively pray with them.

It took my son more than an entire semester to spread his wings, taste and experience adulthood and return with appreciation to the safety of home and the family that will always embrace him. It was a long few months and I missed him deeply.

This is one of the texts my son sent to us recently from school: Just want to say thank you guys for everything you do for us. Sitting here at Wendy’s and just thinking about the sacrifices you have made and the things you have done for us. I have so much to be grateful for, but you guys hold the top. I love you mommy and daddy. There are no sweeter words.

Adapted from an article which originally ran on Marty's Musings. Used with permission.

Marty Walden is passionate about sharing her life, faith, dreams and adventures as a DIY, crafty, bargain hunting, homeschooling, memory keeping mom of both biological and adopted children. You can connect with Marty through her blog Marty’s Musings, email, facebook, twitter, pinterest or google +.

Publication date: March 19, 2013