10 Important Things Your Adult Children Need to Hear You Say

10 Important Things Your Adult Children Need to Hear You Say

As a mother of teens, I have not yet reached the stage of having adult children in my life. If you are a parent with grown children, though, you have completed your job of raising your kids to the best of your abilities. But this does not mean they won’t still need you in their lives. However, it may be a struggle for you to continue your relationship with your child as your relationship has changed. Here are ten ideas for words that every child needs to hear from their parent.

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  • 1. "I love you."

    1. "I love you."

    Although there are times when you as a parent still need to help guide and direct your child from making bad decisions, your kids must have their basic needs for love by an authority figure met. Even if you said it repeatedly as a child, they still need to hear it from you as an adult. To say, “I love you,” implies that you will always be there for them. Even if you don’t always agree with their life decisions, knowing that you love them is like an anchor that will keep them firmly on the ground as they navigate through life rather than keep their wandering eyes looking for love and affection from those not worthy of their time or energy. 

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  • 2. "You're accepted."

    2. "You're accepted."

    Most of the world’s ills stem from people struggling to find their worth and place in society. As your children, they may have felt that you accepted them for who they were. But for those that struggled with experiencing that as adults, they are looking to other people and things outside of you to feel their worth. If you can look your child in his/her eyes and tell them they are accepted, it will be an extra layer of love they don’t need to find elsewhere. 

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  • 3. "You're my child."

    3. "You're my child."

    Even Jesus received affirmation from His Father. God declares publicly that Jesus is his son in Mark 1:11: “And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’" On the brink of beginning his public ministry, this encouraging word from His father was the soul feeding words He had to cling to, especially when Satan planned to tempt Him. When times get tough, we need to cling to our identity in Christ too. Being an adult presents pressures and struggles children don’t have to experience. When an adult feels alone, it is easy to fill the void with drugs or alcohol. But when an adult knows who they are in Christ, that void is already filled. No longer does an adult need to look to anyone to prove their worth, since they already know they have secured it regardless of the mistakes they make in life. 

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  • 4. "You are important."

    4. "You are important."

    Not only do they need to know they are loved, but they need to know they are valued. It is one thing to know your parents love you, but it is another to feel like they are happy to have you as their child. If a parent doesn’t express that their child is valued, the child can feel like they are floating on a raft in the middle of an ocean with no land in sight. This may cause them to flounder from job to job and relationship to relationship to find their purpose. When a parent says they are important, it can make a child feel that they don’t have to work to prove their value; that is already secure. As God sees us as important and valuable enough to die for, a parent’s declaration of a child’s value can communicate that they are worthy enough to be a part of the family. 

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  • 5. "You are a success."

    5. "You are a success."

    In society, success is often measured by how much money we make, the size of the house we live in or how successful our children have become. But God defines success as simply the level of our obedience to Him on this earth. To hear a parent tell a child they are a success means they don’t have to find significance in temporal ideas that are here today and gone tomorrow. Rather, they can walk in the knowledge that whether they are a stay at home mom or a CEO of a large company, they have already accomplished meaningful work. Children still need this approval even as a grown-up. When a parent says a child is a success, there is no need to fall into the trap of comparison, because there is nothing to compare.

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  • 6. "God loves you."

    6. "God loves you."

    It’s easy to know in your head God loves you, but it is completely different to live your life within that belief. One of the greatest gifts I have in this life is living everyday in the knowledge that God loves me no matter what I do and no matter what mistakes I make. How freeing! The best gift you can give your child is to teach them to live in that same knowledge. 

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  • 7. "I'm here for you."

    7. "I'm here for you."

    Hebrews 6:18-19 says, “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” God’s hope and love for us is an anchor; a parent telling a child they will always be there for them is an anchor as well. A child will feel like they can walk through life with a strong foundation beneath them if they know a parent will always be there to support them no matter what the circumstances. 

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  • 8. "You are special."

    8. "You are special."

    This phrase has a bad reputation in our world today, as some parents think that if they say this it implies a child doesn’t have to work hard to earn anything in life.  But telling a child he/she is special indicates they are uniquely wired with gifts and talents given only to them. To know they are special means God placed them on earth with specific work to do to build the Kingdom. Knowing every day is a unique opportunity to strive to accomplish God’s work in this life is an incredible opportunity. 

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  • 9. "You have a specific purpose."

    9. "You have a specific purpose."

    In Jeremiah 29:11, God makes a promise to His people: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God is a God of order. He created the world in six days. Scripture tells us God orders our steps.  If God knew the number of hairs on our head before our birth and the number of days on this earth, he certainly knows what we are capable of doing for Him during that time, too. What security we have in knowing God has a clear plan and purpose for our lives. We do not need to wander through life with no direction or purpose. When we go to Him, He reveals that plan. But children (even as adults) need a physical parent to reassure them that God has a plan for their lives. It takes great love for a parent to instill in a child a faith to know God will reveal His plan and purpose in His time.

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  • 10. "You are my favorite."

    10. "You are my favorite."

    Growing up, my mother had a favorite child but it wasn’t me. This drew battle lines between my sister and I for many years. I felt I had to work to achieve my mother’s love and approval. It wasn’t until I came to know the Lord in an intimate way that I realized I no longer had to work for a parent’s love, but I already had the love of my heavenly Father. A parent needs to tell each child they are his/her favorite so that the child doesn’t feel they have to work to earn their approval.  God bestows favor on His children because of his great love for them. If a child knows they are your favorite simply because they are your child, it will help them to find their worth in the right place, rather than in temporal possessions, relationships or luxuries. To be someone’s favorite means he/she doesn’t have to work to earn someone’s love and approval because they already have it. 

    Being a parent at any stage is hard. But now that your children have grown, they need you just as much. Make the most of your new relationship by speaking words of encouragement into their lives. Your relationship (and you child) will be better because of it.

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    Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children's Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author's Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more information, please visit her website at michellelazurek.com.