Raising Older Children By: Danielle Murphy February 21, 2022
Raising older children can prove to be a challenge. Hormones, testosterone, and all the feelings and thoughts that pummel them at that age can be overwhelming, both to them and to us! Oh, how desperately we need the Lord’s grace in navigating this very precious and tender time with them—as we attempt to help usher them into the adult world.
It can be easy to become an overbearing parent. Naturally, we want to see our children succeed and not make the same mistakes we did at their age. Sometimes, though, that manifests itself the form of control. As our children get older, we are literally changing gears from being a parent of a dependent needy child to a maturing teen, and that can be difficult to adjust to. It is good for us to be aware that as they are entering their adult years, what they need the most is someone who is going to come alongside them in a gentle way to help guide them. They need to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that our motives are good and sincere towards them. We must be careful not to demand from them that they do everything our way, which quickly feels restricting and impersonal on their part. We must graciously move from a place of complete authority, to a place of mere influence, and make that transition as respectfully as possible.
As our children are coming to a place in their lives where they no longer must heed our advice, per se, it is ideal to have a relationship with them where they desire our advice and opinion. They need the room to grow on their own, with opportunities to fall along the way and face real consequences. It can be heartbreaking to watch our children go astray from the truth we so faithfully led them in, or even just make careless mistakes. Trust in God, who has greater love for them then you do, and be sincere in your pursuit of them. Do not have an agenda of “looking good” to other people. Kids are great at recognizing hypocrisy. If your relationship is strained already, they need to know that you truly care about them and not just your reputation with others.
It is vital during this time to do all that we can to keep the communication lines open on our end. All the years prior with them also come into play. Have you proven yourself to be trustworthy and not judgmental? I have heard it said by psychologists that sometimes people will ask you what you think about a certain situation just to examine how you react, and then transpose your reaction onto their relationship with you. Are you harsh towards people, or are you a person marked by grace and compassion? It may be the deciding point whether or not they trust you enough to open up about the deeper parts of their lives.
If you find yourself in a broken relationship with your children today, I want you to know that it is never too late to humble yourself and repent before them to restore your relationship with them. We serve an awesome God who stands ready and willing to work on your behalf to restore all broken relationships! Submit yourself to Him and prepare to be amazed at all that He can do! Click here to return to the Parenting Column