Helping My Emerging Adult Child Get Ready for Independent Adulthood
As parents, it is our responsibility to provide our children a Biblical worldview that is real and practical, not religious and cookie-cutter.
Ready? Set! Go! This is the classic instructional phrase for the sports world when athletes move from preparation to action. Is it coincidental that the first step to action is “ready?” Absolutely not! In preparation mode, we are getting ready to do something or be somebody. We are just practicing. Game time is forthcoming.
I must admit, readiness is an interesting concept. Many things we do like going on our first date, starting college, or becoming a parent, we’re not technically “ready” for, and we really don’t practice before we set our feet forward and go. It is more like, ready or not, here I come.
As a parent, how do we prepare our kids to get ready for adulthood? These days, the timeline for an emerging adult who is full-fledged, independent, and pays their own bills has stretched into the mid-20s and beyond for many families. This failure to launch for emerging adults is a phenomenon that is said to be attributed from economic and sociocultural changes in our world.
Emerging adulthood refers to this period between adolescence and adulthood, a college graduate, a child who opted out of college and chose to work, and a young adult who is a parent, to name a few.
Whether our emerging adult children are still living at home or on their way to being on their own, they need basic life skills such as cooking, washing, cleaning, and understanding how to pay bills along with concepts of money management. If parents don’t raise their kids knowing these and other basic life skills, without them they can make or break their ability to run their own lives.
Life skills aside, most emerging adults will either learn on their own, learn from a peer, or invest hours looking at YouTube or TikTok videos.
My greatest concern for emerging adults is not life skills, but will our children be able to maintain a close relationship with Jesus and defend their faith in all situations. As parents, it is our responsibility to provide our children a Biblical worldview that is real and practical, not religious and cookie-cutter. It is true that we will always be our children’s parents one way or another. It is truer that we should work ourselves out of the job of raising adults who love God and love their neighbors. It is imperative that they become adults who understand the difference between observing rote religious practices and engaging in an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.
Our faith is continuously tested, and the reality is the same for our children, perhaps even more intensely in these times when secular humanism continues to spread like wildfire. They won’t handle situations like us. They won’t face exactly what we have faced in life. But how will they handle life’s trials and tribulations? How will they handle life’s blessings and allurement?
We must raise them up with a Biblical worldview if we expect to have a fighting chance at them living out their faith in this world. The home is our children’s first school and the most impressionable learning environment.
Thankfully, there are many helpful things we can do now to help prepare our child’s faith for adulthood.
Ensure our children are Biblically literate.
Sometimes we think that because our children go to church with us while living at home, they will maintain a relationship with the church. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We should focus on showing them how to have a genuine relationship with Jesus, not with a faith-based organization. We should model through our own lives what it means to live for Jesus and be His disciple. Teach them the Bible. Have family devotion that requires reading the Bible. Use the Bible to help them resolve their issues and make decisions.
Teach them the essence of prayer.
Prayer is a Christian virtue that is highly underrated and underutilized. Scripture is the best place to refer our children to both learning how to pray and knowing what to pray. For example, Philippians 4:6 teaches us not to worry, but to pray about everything. Matthew 6:6 teaches us to pray to God privately because He cares and He will answer the cries of our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 teaches us to pray continuously. When we anchor our children’s prayers with scripture, we not only show them how to rely on God, but we also help them to become biblically literate.
Teach them to make decisions.
Making proper decisions is a necessity for every adult throughout their lives. One of the best gifts we can give our children is modeling we are capable of making good decisions, and to ensure we are not dragging out our decisions because of fear or anything negative. In a relationship with Jesus, we will need to show our children how Jesus was a good decision-maker.
Jesus didn’t drag out His decisions. He didn’t live with regrets, remorse, or retreats after He made a decision. We can teach our children how to rely upon the Holy Spirit who lives in them. He will teach them how to make decisions whether through speaking to them from the Bible, godly influencers, or through their own intellect.
We don’t have to fear making decisions. I recall 2 Timothy 3:14’s principle of continuing in what we have learned based on our values and beliefs, knowing we can trust our biblical foundation. This is a major life lesson for our children because they will have to become confident in making decisions while moving forward without regret, remorse, or retreating.