The big sigh of relief some mothers feel once their children are grown can turn into long periods of distance as kids chase their dreams and try to figure out the best paths for their lives. It might take years before adult children realize the support and camaraderie that have in their parents, and come around asking for friendship.
Making the shift from parenting to friendship can be a bit difficult to navigate, as it’s in our nature to maintain some of our parental authority. However, once our kids are grown and on their own, our relationship with them cannot remain the same. That’s why we need to be in-tune with the signs and signals that our adult children are asking for more of a friendship than a child/parent relationship.
If you’re in a new season with your adult children, and aren’t quite sure how to move forward, consider these ways they might be asking for your friendship:
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1. They Are Asking for Time
One of the biggest ways our adult children ask for our friendship is through our time. The days of teenage-hood, when they kept us at arm’s length, are over. Suddenly, they are coming around more often and actually wanting to hang out with us.
For moms who aren’t used to this new behavior, or who’ve gotten used to their time alone, this can be a challenging request to meet. However, it’s crucial we take the time to invest in our kids and be the companion they need for the season of life they’re in.
Here are several meaningful ways to spend time with your adult children:
- Learn a new skill or hobby together. (Think art classes, self-defense classes, or graphic design classes.)
- Start walking, hiking, or biking together. (This is a great way to spend time together and stay healthy.)
- Have regular movie nights. (Don’t forget the popcorn and sodas!)
- Schedule monthly coffee dates. (Be sure to listen more than you speak.)
- Find a Bible study you’ll both enjoy. (Here is a list of studies to consider.)
For even more ideas, check out this post: 40 Fun Ways to Bond with Your Adult Kids.
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2. They Are Asking for Advice
You probably remember the adolescent years when you felt like your advice went in one ear and out the other. It was a frustrating time for sure! But now, you find your adult children calling you or texting you for bits of wisdom and direction.
This is the time to share your life experiences, mistakes, and victories with your child. As they call on you more and more, offer the wisdom they need for the situation they’re in. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t have all the answers. (None of us do!) Simply listen well, and offer direction as God leads. Most of all, pray for your adult kids as they try to navigate a dark and scary world.
Here are specific ways to pray for your adult children:
- Pray for their hearts toward God.
- Pray for wisdom and direction.
- Pray for their peace.
- Pray for their safety and wellbeing.
- Pray for God to strengthen your relationship with them.
If you feel at a loss as to what advice to give your adult children, consider the points made in this post. Again, it’s okay not to have all the answers. What’s important is that they see the value in what you have to offer.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)
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3. They Are Asking for Validation
As our adult kids leave the nest, they might not fly in the direction we hope. Watching them make mistakes and figure things out can be painful and worrisome. However, there will be a time when our children start asking for validation. They’ll want to know that everything is going to be okay, and that no matter what, you still love them.
As Christian parents, it’s best to validate our kids by reminding them of who they were created to be. This way, we aren’t validating their sin choices or wrong behavior, but we are assuring them of our love, and God’s purpose for their lives.
Here are a few specific ways to validate our grown kids without compromising our faith:
- Point out their God-given strengths such as compassion, servitude, and loyalty.
- Acknowledge their feelings while steering them towards God’s truth.
- Commend them on a job well-done.
- Encourage them to seek God in all things, and know that He is with them.
- Offer words of affirmation—words that build up their faith and life.
The prophet Jeremiah received validation from God in Jeremiah 1:5, when the Lord said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew a you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
God’s validation of our kids is far better than any we can give. That’s why, assuring them of the Lord’s purpose for them is so important. If your adult children are seeking your approval, offer what love and support you can without deviating from the truth. Hopefully, your unconditional love and friendship will draw them closer to you and the Lord.
You probably know your kids better than anyone. As you watched them grow up, and did your best to raise them, you know how they give and receive love. Keep these things in mind as they reach out to you for friendship. After all, this is a special time you don’t want to miss.
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