When your children are babies, let’s face it. You are so tired you can’t think about the future. As they grow older and more mature, many parents shift back and forth between degrees of “I can’t wait until they are grown” and “Please make time stand still. They are growing up too quickly.” Your thoughts of parenting adult children are few and far between (and the few you have are probably very unrealistic!).
I have known many miserable young adults whose parents are insisting they major in certain fields, live or work in certain cities and even attempt to micromanage everything from their relationships to the clothes they wear. It’s nothing new (although it may be more common today), but attempting to control your adult child’s life rarely accomplishes what those parents hope it will. Instead, it usually drives a huge wedge into the relationship, creating a distance neither really prefers.
I was really interested when offered a chance to review the new book, Blessing Your Grown Children by Debra Evans. Honestly, this is one parenting book I am reviewing based on very limited personal experience. I have seen mistakes the parents of my friends have made over the years. Our own daughter is in her college years, and we have made our own first attempts at encouraging her adult journey – without controlling it. I am not an expert in parenting adult children by an means.
Although the book covers tips for parenting any adult, it does tilt a bit towards parenting adult children who are struggling or going through tough times. I can imagine those with adult children whose lives are going smoothly and are living their faith tend to stop parenting on some level. (Although even those adults probably have a parent or two who critiques every move.) The struggle comes with being the loving parent of an adult who you think can benefit from your parental experience and wisdom.
These books usually irritate me to an extent. They seem to often be written from the perspective of “you were the perfectly wonderful parent whose kid went off the rails inexplicably”. This author tends to focus less on what caused the adult to make choices with which you may disagree, and more on how to handle the realities those choices may bring.
Her advice is practical and easy to understand. The book is filled with tips, scriptures and encouragement. She is firm, but loving in her discussion of the mistakes parents often make and how to correct them. Although there is a lot of useful information to digest, it is a fairly quick and easy read.
Since I have little personal experience in parenting an adult, I can only address a theoretical concern. The author seems to avoid much discussion of sharing your views of God’s Words with your adult children and how those choices that go against God make the parent feel. I’m sure this was partially due to the fact that in some issues she covers, it is more of a preference than a strictly biblical or unbiblical view.
I wish she had spent a little more time though talking about how to have effective discussions about spiritual topics with adult children. As a parent, I am more concerned about “doing” those conversations effectively as the consequences are eternal.
I also found the stories or perspectives from adult children that were shared in the book were at times a little condescending (along the lines of my mom bugged my sister, but then she got a life, so thankfully she’s too busy to bug me). That really was a minor quibble that probably wouldn’t bother me if I were reading the book from the child’s perspective.
If you have or are soon to have adult children, I think you will find this book helpful. Just like many parenting books, it will at least give you some things to think about and discuss with your spouse and children. Being able to have a positive influence on the eternal decisions in the lives of your children, makes it worth taking the time to develop a healthy relationship with them. This book can help you create that relationship.
This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.