Every season of parenting has its challenges, right? We remember the sleep deprivation with our newborns. The toddler tantrums and potty training. The after-school math homework and tween-girl drama. Driver’s tests, broken hearts, and the “what now?” questions before graduation. Yet as our kids reach adulthood we’re faced with a challenge like no other: letting them go.
Our fourth child is moving away this week to college, so we remember once again that the nest emptying isn’t always smooth or simple! Parenting young adults redefines our place in their lives. We’re moving from a role of authority to one of influence.
Instead of providing for every need and guiding their way, we create space for them to problem-solve on their own. We recognize that while we used to put a Band-aid on their bumps and scrapes, we can’t kiss away the heart pains of breakups or disappointed dreams. We confront the new reality of a quiet house, and we begin the work of redefining our identity and purpose.
“We’re moving from a role of authority to one of influence.”
Rob and I are so grateful for the example of wise parents who have gone ahead of us. They’ve learned the tough lessons of how best to encourage, support, and release their kids into the world. If you, too, are in the middle of letting go of your own adult kids, we pray these resources will help and bless you today.
1) Raise and Release: How to Prepare for Your Kids to Leave the Nest—with Brenda Yoder
Brenda Yoder shares some great advice to help pave the way before our kids walk out the door as young adults. She also speaks into the grief we can feel as moms and dads when separated from the kids we love. Take a listen to our podcast conversation, and be sure to grab a copy of her fantastic book Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind.
2) How to Parent Your Wayward Child—with Mary DeMuth
If your child has not only left your home, but also their faith in Jesus, we know your heartbreak. Mary DeMuth offers a tender and insightful word of guidance in relating to our wayward children. She gives reassurance that God can sustain both our joy and our family relationships through it all. For even more, check out Mary’s book Love, Pray, Listen: Parenting Your Wayward Adult Kids with Joy.
3) How to Let Go of Your Young Adult Kids—with Jill Savage
Letting go is tough. We’re tempted to give in to fear. To enable our kids’ poor choices. To grab for control in their lives. To help us release our kids with courage and grace, Jill and Mark Savage show us a better way forward. This episode will refresh your hope and stir your excitement for this new season in your life. And, Jill’s book is not one to miss: Empty Nest, Full Life: Discovering God’s Best for Your Next.
4) How to Fire Up Your Prayer Life for Your Kids and Experience God Like Never Before — Interview with Jodie Berndt
As our kids take steps of independence, we can feel helpless on the sidelines. Yet God has given us something powerful and important to their lives: our prayers! Jodie Berndt offers a tremendous word of help and motivation to pray over the details of our kids’ lives. You won’t want to miss our conversation or Jodie’s title, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: Trusting God with the Ones You Love.
5) How to Put the Passion Back Into Your Love Life — Interview with Bill and Pam Farrel
In the busyness of parenting, our marriage can revolve around the needs of our kids. Once our children leave the nest, we can wonder what makes us “us” anymore. Bill and Pam Farrel point the way to rekindle the passion and cast a beautiful new vision for what’s ahead in your marriage.
6) How to Let Out the String So Your Kids Can Fly
We’re a few years into this journey of letting go, and we still have many miles to travel. We put our son on the school bus to begin middle school this morning and we drive our fourth child to college in two days. Our oldest daughter is building a life in Costa Rica with her husband and first baby, and our middle daughter is exploring her future beyond college graduation. The moves and transitions just keep coming for our family. In this article, Joanna shares some truths God placed on her heart that have helped us along the way.
Additional Prayer Resources:
Prayer can become the solid foundation for all we do as parents at every age and stage. To help you pray for your kids, we created these resources to put words to the concerns on your heart:
Can We Pray Alongside You?
Is this your season of letting go? Does the future seem bleak, and do you feel alone since your kids left the nest? We pray these resources will meet you where you are.
If we can pray alongside you, please reach out to share. Know that we will lift you up by name. We’d welcome your prayers, too, as we continue to launch our children into the next season of their lives. May we trust God sees them, holds them, and will grow us in wisdom and faith through it all.
Joanna & Rob