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5 New Year's Resolutions for Parents of Adult Children

Gina Smith

ginalsmith.com
Published Dec 20, 2023
5 New Year's Resolutions for Parents of Adult Children

Before I'd begun reading this Psalm, I had been missing my adult children and longing to see and connect with them. They are busy living their lives as they should be. I am so thankful that they are doing well and being responsible, mature adults. But occasionally, when there are longer stretches of time between when I connect with them, I will begin to long to spend time with them and get caught up on what is going on in their lives.

While reading through Psalm 1 recently, I was struck by verse 2, which says, "But his delight is in the law of the LORD…." Before I'd begun reading this Psalm, I had been missing my adult children and longing to see and connect with them. They are busy living their lives as they should be. I am so thankful that they are doing well and being responsible, mature adults. But occasionally, when there are longer stretches of time between when I connect with them, I will begin to long to spend time with them and get caught up on what is going on in their lives.

As I read Psalm 1:2, the word "delight" stood out to me. In this passage, we see a person who delights in the law of the Lord. The person "bends" towards God. Their inclination is to meditate on God's Word because they want to. They don't just give God's Word an obligatory, short reading or an occasional glance—they spend time there because they cherish the time spent with God, and they truly delight in being in His presence. 

After reading Psalm 1 and meditating on what the word "delight" means, God brought to my mind that He invites me to meet with him every day and, in the same way that I long to connect with my children, he longs to connect with me, He grieves when I don't take the time to meet with Him in the same way I grieve when I haven't been able to spend much time with my children. He desires that I delight to spend time in His presence. 

But what does God do even if I have been too busy to spend time with Him or have forgotten how important nurturing our relationship is? He continues to invite me to meet with Him. He continues to pursue me. There is no condemnation, only a loving invitation. This is an example of what I need to offer to my adult children. I need to continue to invite them in without saying anything that might make them feel guilty if they've been too busy to reach out. I need to ask God to show me how to pursue and bless them. 

We never stop being parents, no matter what age our children are, but our role in their lives does change. It can take some time to adjust to our new role as parents of adult children, and I think we need to give ourselves room to learn, knowing we won't do things perfectly. But, being reminded of how we should "delight" in spending time with God has set me on a journey of finding out what it is about God that would cause a person to delight in spending time with Him. I want to follow the example of the perfect parent and ask Him how I can live those things out with my own children. 

How can we live out our role as parents of adult children in a way that will cause our children to "delight" in spending time with us? What can we do so our children don't show up just out of obligation or guilt? I think a lot of it might have to do with how we communicate with them. Learning how to do this takes time, prayer for wisdom, and knowing how God sees and relates to us, His own beloved children.

With this in mind, I have written 5 New Year's resolutions for parents of adult children who want their children to "delight" in spending time with them.

senior dad and adult daughter baking together laughing

Photo credit:  ©GettyImages/Image Source

Resolution 1:

I will seek God and ask Him to show me how to best interact with my adult children in this season. I will ask Him to help me emulate Him, the perfect parent. 

It's normal for a parent to want to connect with their child. Our culture does all it can to destroy that bond in the same way that the enemy tries to distract us and keep us from spending time with our Father in heaven. We can prayerfully learn how to best interact with our children in a way that glorifies God and blesses them. 

Resolution 2:

I will continue to serve and bless my adult children with no strings attached and no expectations, but only because I love them. 

All our expectations and desires are not necessarily wrong. Ideally, the relationship with our children should be a two-way street. But, getting into the mindset of serving and blessing, without an agenda, but only to love like God loves us, is the best place to be. It will remove any pressure we might be tempted to put on our children. 

Resolution 3:

I will prayerfully pursue my adult children. 

We must be prayerful about all we do and say as we relate to our children, not only because we want a good relationship with them but because we are called to reflect God in all we do and speak. How does God pursue us? He gives constant invitations, never condemnation. In the same way that God is with us, we must learn to pursue and invite them in because we love them and want to bless them, and never use guilt or condemnation to manipulate them to do what we might want them to do. 

adult son hugging dad fathers day forgiveness

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/seb_ra

Resolution 4:

I will pray and ask God to create an atmosphere in my home and interactions with my grown children that causes our time together to be a "delight." 

God meets us where we are at, loves us unconditionally, and is patient with us as we learn and grow. He leads me beside still waters, restores my soul, and prepares a table for me. He gives me rest, refreshes me, and provides for my needs. When we remember what God offers us as His children, we will delight in our time with Him. If we emulate what He does for us, there will be an atmosphere of delight in our relationship with our children.

Resolution 5:

I will do my best to leave my children better than I found them.

When I take the time to spend time in the Word of God, nurturing my relationship with Him, I leave that precious time with Him better prepared, in every way, to face the day. Isn't that a wonderful way to view our time with our adult children? They are in the thick of getting established in their jobs, starting and raising their family, buying a home, and paying bills. It can be overwhelming when you enter the adult world and realize everything waiting for you. When they enter our home, we can make it our goal to do what we can to encourage and refresh them, helping to give them a little fuel that will enable them to enter back into the real world. We don't need to give advice or tell them our opinions (unless asked!). We can pray and ask God to show us the best way to bless them in the moment. He will show us what to do.

In the same way God sees and interacts with us, we can learn to see our children as people who need to feel secure and know that they can always count on us. They need to feel supported and loved unconditionally. (in the same way we do!) They need our compassion and understanding. In the same way that God says to us, "I've got you, child of mine. I see what's happening in your life and what you need. You can find rest in Me," we can see our own children, no matter their age, and have that same heart attitude – if we will ask God to give it to us.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/DGLimages

Gina Smith is a writer and author. She has been married for 35 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For 25+ years, she and her husband served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, where Brian was a professor and dean of students. They reside right outside of Washington, DC, and are the parents of two grown children, one daughter-in-law, one son-in-law, and one granddaughter. She recently authored her first traditionally published book, Everyday Prayers for Joy, which is available everywhere books are sold. You can find Gina at the following: Website: ginalsmith.com, Instagram, and at Million Praying Moms, where she is a writer.