10 Dos and Don'ts of Helping Your Child Learn to Adult
- Steve Arterburn Author and Founder of New Life Ministries
- 2022 27 Apr
Let’s face it. Adult children are moving back home in droves.
In fact, 1 in 3 adult children, ages 25- to 34-years-old, live at home according to a new report from the Census Bureau. Out of the millennials who live at home, 1 in 4 don’t even work or go to school. In other words, 2.2 million millennials live at their parents’ home without making any progress to become an adult.
But millennials aren’t the only ones with problems. Truth be told, parents play a big role in this phenomenon. Instead of letting their kids take responsibility for their lives, they try to rescue them. And the more times parents rescue their children, the harder it will be for their adult children to grow up.
If your millennial child is having a hard time learning to adult, here are some do’s and don’ts to help them.
1. Do Let Your Millennial Take Responsibility
“For each one should carry their own load.”—Galatians 6:5
As a parent, you need to stop blaming yourself for every bad choice that your child makes. Your adult child is responsible for his or her own life. It is, however, your responsibility to love them and raise them to become an adult.
2. Don’t Criticize or Compare Your Millennial
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”—Galatians 1:10
Don’t scold your adult child for their mistakes, or compare them with their siblings. No one likes someone with a holier-than-thou attitude. Let your child know that you love them, and that they don’t need to look to you for approval. Instead, encourage them to look to Christ.
3. Do Tell Your Millennial About Your Own Mistakes
“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.”—Psalm 145:14
If you want to connect with your millennial, tell him about a time in your life when you messed up. But don’t stop there! Let him know about what you learned from your mistakes and how Christ helped you during difficult times in your life.
4. Don’t Enable Your Millennial
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”—Galatians 6:7
Allow your millennial to experience the painful consequences of their irresponsible behavior. If your adult child lives with you and has done anything to break the law, let him know that he has to face the consequences of his actions. He can go seek professional help or you can contact the authorities, but he can’t live at your house.
5. Do Pray For Your Millennial
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.”—Colossians 1:9
Don’t take over for your millennial child. If you do, it will hinder their success and enable them to be more dependent on you. But pray for them each day and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.
6. Don’t Protect Your Millennial From Failure
“If you falter in a time of trouble,how small is your strength!”—Proverbs 24:10
Teaching your millennial that it’s okay to fail is one of the most important things that you will ever do as a parent. When they have to face the consequences for their irresponsible behavior, they grow and mature. So instead of paying for their bills, let them know that they will have to get a job and learn to manage their money.
7. Do Let Go of Your Millennial
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…”—Galatians 5:1
Letting go of your adult child means giving them freedom to live their life how they want to. Ultimately, you are not responsible for your child's choices in life or his behavior. Instead, you want your child to take responsibility for his own life and depend on Christ to give him strength.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Honest with Your Millennial
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” —1 Corinthians 13:6
Have an honest, open talk with your 20- to 30-something and say, “We made a mistake…we goofed! We love you; however, we failed to raise you to become an adult.” Let your child know that you won’t bail them out anymore, and ask them to come up with a plan for how they can become self-sufficient. Finally, follow-up with them to make sure that they are really taking steps to get out on their own.
9. Do Set a Deadline for Your Millennial
“The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” —2 Thessalonians 3:10
If your millennial is still living at home and is not making any progress toward becoming an adult, give them a 90-day deadline to get a full-time job and find another place to live. But if they are still living at home in 90 days, make sure that you follow through with consequences. This means that you’ll need to change the locks, move their belongings outside, and don’t give them any food or money. Remember, the Bible is clear: you should not reward bad behavior.
10. Don’t Keep Rescuing Your Millennial
“A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;rescue them, and you will have to do it again.” —Proverbs 19:19
It’s easy to try to rescue your millennial child from any problems that he finds himself in. He may even ask you for food, money, and a place to live because he knows how to manipulate you. But the more you rescue him, the more trouble he’ll get himself into because he knows you’ll always be there to bail him out.
Is it easy to parent a millennial child who is struggling to become an adult? No! But with a few biblical principals in place, you can help your millennial learn to adult in no time.
If you need help parenting an adult child who is struggling, we can help! Call us at 800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433). We are waiting for your call. Or visit us at newlife.com for information about our many books, CDs, counselors and weekend workshops.
Steve Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show, New Life Live! the founder of Women of Faith conferences and serves as a teaching pastor at Heartland Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Steve is a bestselling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle and Healing is a Choice. The above excerpt is from his book Is This the One? Simple Dates for Finding the Love of Your Life. Steve resides with his family in Fishers, Indiana.
Image courtesy: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages
Publication date: May 31, 2017