Copyright

Please note that all posts are copyright. Do not reprint in whole or in part without permission of the author. You may refer to one of my posts in your own writing; simply include the link(s) so readers can be taken directly to my work. Thank you, and enjoy! ~Susan

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Yell

Of course I'm not advocating that you yell at your child, even though that may sometimes happen. It's not easy to hold it together all the time whether you're a parent or just a human being living on this planet. 

Yelling (or screaming) into a pillow is perfectly okay, and no one needs to know. Or maybe you just need to vent to your spouse/partner or a trusted friend. That's okay too, as long as the other party understands what's expected. Are you looking for advice, brainstorming/ problem-solving, or just to be heard? Lay it out to avoid frustration on either side. 

If venting to another person sounds too much like complaining or whining, try writing things down in a journal (print or digitized). Sometimes sharing your thoughts with someone, even if it's just yourself, is all you need to process what's happening in your life and to get a new perspective on things.

Yell. If nothing else, it's good for your lungs. 

What do goats have to do with yelling, you ask? Click and listen:

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Friday, 28 April 2017

eXercise

X is often a challenge during the A-Z Blogging Challenge and bloggers often "cheat," as I have here. 

I talked a bit about self-care earlier in the month (letter L). Today I suggest one particular way parents can take care of themselves, and that is through exercise. The options are as diverse as each person and no matter how averse you may be to the idea of moving, there's an activity to meet your needs. Our bodies are made up of muscles and we were made for motion. Unless you have a muscular disease or condition that prevents you from engaging in physical activity, get off the couch and do something. You will feel better for it! (If you don't feel better right away, give it some time. Everything worthwhile takes time and effort).


Kick-boxing
I will never be a runner, but I enjoy a brisk walk - alone, with my dog, or at home with a DVD (Leslie Sansone is my personal favourite; my son says she's a "meme" at our house). Others may prefer Pilates, a dance class, cycling, or swimming. 

Physical exercise is a way to show your body that you care about it, and also has benefits for the mind. Just twenty minutes can boost mood for four hours. 

Parenting takes a lot of physical and mental/emotional energy, no matter where your child falls on the age/ development spectrum. An investment in your personal health and well-being is wise indeed. You can't take care of anyone else if you're neglecting yourself.


A great song to rock out to
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Thursday, 27 April 2017

Welcome


Welcome your children home. Create a welcome environment for them to come home to.

These days young adult children (and adult children) are returning home and living there longer than in previous generations. This can happen for many reasons: student debt, failure to find employment, inadequate wages, desire to save for their own home/future, addiction, mental illness, laziness.

While we don't want to support a lazy child (this person needs tough love and firm boundaries), and we may not be able to support an addicted one (if she is wreaking havoc, stealing from you, etc.), those with addictions or mental illness do need help. And no one loves them like we do. 

That being said, these are huge challenges to live with and even as you try to get your child the help he needs, you may need counseling for yourself.

But back to welcoming your child: unless s/he is lazy, s/he should feel that "home" is easy to return to. The prodigal son was willing to work as his father's servant, but how much more joyful his reunion when he found his father watching for him, running to meet him, and ready to throw a party.

No, you don't have to have a party. But you do have to treat your child like the adult s/he now is. A welcoming environment includes privacy and respect. While you may charge a nominal amount for room and board (food, water, electricity cost money) or charge rent, s/he should do his/her own housekeeping and laundry.

While we may be happy as empty-nesters and desire our children to launch, we shouldn't make it hard for them to come home. Sometimes it's the best place for them to be as they sort out their lives with our support and encouragement. They may not always listen to us, but we can still play an influential role in their lives. And as their pre-frontal cortices develop,  they may discover that our words and thoughts actually do have merit. How welcome is that?!  
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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Value

Value your children. Treasure them. Remember that Psalm 127:3-5 says
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior's hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

When it's difficult to remember that your children are a blessing (we all have those days!), think about how much you wanted them (hopefully you did), and mine your memory for pictures of joyful times, occasions when they made you proud or made you laugh. Go through your photo albums (physical or digitized). Ask them about their happiest moments as a child or what they liked best about growing up in your family. 

This web page talks about how to make a child feel valued.  While the images are geared to younger children, the ideas apply to all ages. We all have room to improve our relationships. The most important place to begin is at home.

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Understand

I don't pretend to know everything or to remember 100% what it was like to enter young adulthood. Of course, the world our young people are entering today is quite different from that of yesteryear, and that no doubt impacts them.

Still, I think there are a few things we can, or should, understand:

1. Our children are at the point in their lives where they want their independence. They still need us to some degree, but their may be some resentment around that, and some push-back.

2. They want to be seen as individuals, not mere extensions of us. They are trying new things, testing new ideas, making new friends. They are in post-secondary education, away from home, in the work force, exploring the world. They are forging their own path and you may or may not like it. In fact, they may not care whether you do.

3.  It's largely (or all) about them. While they may try to make some things all about you (why his or her life sucks, for example), don't take it personally. As previously mentioned (here), their pre-frontal cortices are not fully developed yet, they typically don't have big-picture perspective, and they certainly don't have the understanding that comes from years of experience. Don't engage in a losing battle that stems from a flawed comprehension.

4. While you can try to explain why they need to think of others at times, don't expect them to change (at least not right away).

5. This is the time for excellent, deep conversations about things that matter - faith, politics, the state of the world, etc. As long as you're willing to discuss and not lecture/harangue/ moralize, conversations on less "personal" topics can be quite fun and enriching. You might even learn something worth investigating further!

6. Eventually, your children will become less self-absorbed. It may take a few years and you may have a bit less hair or a few more worry lines, but once they've figured things out and decided who they are (or who they are going to be),  the emotional road will be less rocky. They may still make choices you don't like or agree with, but ask yourself: did your parents agree with all of your decisions? Did you all survive? Are you able to spend time in their company today? Be encouraged that the relationship with your children will also even out. Who knows? You might actually like them again! (And they might like you!)

Key thought: don't take personally your child's growing up process or emotional distance. This too shall pass!
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Monday, 24 April 2017

Trust

We all want to trust our children. According to dictionary.com, trust as a verb with an object means:
  • to have trust or confidence in; rely or depend on
  • to believe
  • to permit to remain or go somewhere or to do something without fear of consequences
  • to invest with a trust; entrust or charge with the responsibility for something
As with respect, trust is something that is earned, not automatically given. Initially, children show us that they are trustworthy by their obedience and truthfulness. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right" is a favourite passage for many Christian parents.  Most would acknowledge that the second verse, "Honor your father and mother..." (Ephesians 6:1-2a) is the expression of that thought for children who have matured into young adults. The emphasis is no longer on blind agreement or the letter of the law, but on showing respect and consideration.

At any rate, not to get sidetracked, while we want to trust our children, they don't always obey and they don't always honour. This seems to be human nature and if we look back on our own childhoods, teen years, and young adult periods, we know that we too were at times deceitful, less than forthcoming, or downright disobedient and rebellious. We wanted to do something "forbidden," we gave in to peer pressure, we listened to the "little devil" whispering in one ear and ignored the "little angel" whispering in the other.

Some children never seem to veer from doing what is right. We need to thank God if we have one or more of those! We should not lose our compassion for parents who are struggling, however. Truly, the rain falls on the good and on the bad, just as the sun spreads its shine evenly over the earth.

Another favourite verse of Christian parents is "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). While this is a general guideline and not a promise (it's a proverb!), we do need to trust in the work we have done to raise our children with faith and integrity. I have heard many, many stories of parents whose wayward children have done a 180 degree turn from wasted living to productive, joyful living. So there is hope!

We must also trust in the work God is doing in the lives of our children. He loves them even more than we do and "He who began a good work in [them] will be faithful to complete it" (Philippians 1:6). If you have an personal experience of God, you know that He is faithful and completely trustworthy. Even if we don't see the evidence right now, we can be sure that He is doing something and when our children do come around, He will get all the credit and all the glory because we will know it was nothing that we did. 

And isn't trusting God what it's really all about?
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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sacrifice

Most parents sacrifice. They surrender or give up something (time, money, effort) in order to benefit their children. One mom I know is doing without material things in order to fly to her home country to set up an internship for her son. She also provides tutoring for all of his college courses at her own expense. To my knowledge she is not financially flush. She doesn't own her own home and only works part-time. She and her husband are often separated by thousands of miles as they strive to give their children a better life in Canada.

My husband and I spent thousands of dollars on our son so he could receive educational therapy after a major concussion affected his cognitive functions. We spent thousands on private school education when our children were younger. We set aside thousands more to help finance our children's post-secondary education. It's not enough to pay for all of it, but still it is a sacrifice when we have our own future retirement to support and consider. The day will creep up on us soon enough.

Are our sacrifices appreciated? At this stage it is hard to know. No one really understands all that a parent gives up until they too are in this same position. In the meantime we recognize that this is what our parents did for us, and what we hope our children will do for their offspring should they be so blessed.
Our parents deserve our honor and respect for giving us life itself. Beyond this they almost always made countless sacrifices as they cared for and nurtured us through our infancy and childhood, provided us with the necessities of life, and nursed us through physical illnesses and the emotional stresses of growing up. ~Ezra Taft Bens
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Friday, 21 April 2017

Respect

While we may not always agree with each other's point of view or belief system, we need to respect each other. This applies not just to you and me, but to ourselves and our children. I know my focus is supposed to be on young adult children, but really a lot of what I'm saying pertains to children of any age.

If you look at the child-friendly version of the United Nations' Convention of the Rights of the Child(the most readable version), you'll see that a number of rights deal with issues of respect (e.g. articles 12, 14, 16). 

What is respect anyway?

As a noun, respect is
deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment; favour or partiality

As a verb, respect is
to hold in esteem or honor; to show regard or consideration for; to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with
-from dictionary.com 
Whether you look at the noun or verb (and I've been approaching the A-Z Challenge using verbs), respect is something we all yearn for. But respect is also something that is earned, not automatically given. It is hard to respect someone who treats others badly, for example. 

If you google 'ways to earn respect,' you'll get lots of hits - some specific to on the job, or in the context of marriage or family. This is one of the best general articles I found. It raises an interesting point about self-respect as well: it's hard for others to esteem you if you don't respect yourself. 

When your children disagree with you, respect their right to a differing opinion and don't be afraid. We can all learn something if questions are permitted and asked. Truth can always stand up to critical thinking.
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Thursday, 20 April 2017

Quote

Parenting's a tough job, even when your children are almost fully grown. When you're feeling discouraged or daunted, quote these words:







If you want corn, don't plant beans!



There will be times when you really need this place!


 
This is a truth worth hanging onto!


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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Pray

Being in God's Word and praying are the two most important things we can ever do. As parents we ought to pray continuously for our children no matter what age they are - for that matter, pray for them while they're still a twinkle in your eye! We have an enemy who seeks to destroy the family but the prayers of the righteous person accomplish much (James 5:16b).

There is never a shortage of things we can pray for our young adults. Here are some thoughts to get you started. Pray:
  • for spiritual protection
  • that their faith would remain strong (or that the Holy Spirit would open their eyes and ears to know Truth)
  • that they would be surrounded by good and godly influences
  • that they would fix their thoughts on things that are good and lovely and pure and not be distracted by worldly pleasures
  • that their desire would be to please God and to glorify Him with their lives
  • that they would seek God's direction and wisdom
  • that any romantic relationship they would enter into would be with someone compatible, especially on the spiritual level
  • that they would find employment suitable to their skills and abilities so they could provide for themselves and, possibly, a family
  • that they would be hard workers
What would you add to this list? 

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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Outlast

Survivor's reality show tagline is "outwit, outplay, outlast," and to some extent this resonates with parents of young adults. By virtue of our years and life experience, we have an advantage over our children. Not that we should therefore spurn their ideas or assume they have nothing to teach us - they do - but there will be days you can't wait for their pre-frontal cortices to finally finish developing.
The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so. 

In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.
~From the Health Encyclopedia
This is where hanging in there and outlasting comes in handy.

As Galatians 6:9 says
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Or, as we also like to say in Christian circles (especially around Easter)
It's Friday but Sunday's coming! 
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Monday, 17 April 2017

Negotiate

As parents our goal is for our children to internalize the values that we deem important, the result of which will hopefully be external conduct that reflects good character. External discipline may result in outward compliance but have no effect on the child's heart. You've all heard the story of the father who repeatedly insisted that his child stand up and when she finally, unwillingly, complied, she stated "I may be standing up on the outside, Daddy, but inside I'm sitting down!" 

If your young adult children are still living with you, you may be able to obtain external submission to your will, but at what cost?

"While you're living under our roof, you'll obey our rules!" may be effective but breed resentment. If your child was living under his own roof, would he still act according to your preferences? If not, is it really that important that he do so now? Unless he wants to do something that is illegal or physically harmful, should you insist on your way "or the highway"? "If you don't like it, there's the door"? What is he actually learning from this?

Instead I advocate for negotiation. Recognizing that your child is now a young adult and that God gave each of us a free will, allow him to make decisions and experience natural consequences. Of course it would be best if you've already been doing this for some time now, but if not, begin. For example, if he's still living in your home and doesn't have his own vehicle, you can negotiate the use of yours. "Yes, you can use the car if..." (if he replenishes the fuel, if he returns it in the same condition it was in when he left with it, if he takes it only where he said he would). If he violates the negotiated agreement, he doesn't get the car next time. He has to find another mode of transportation to get to his destination. Or he has to let you drive him.

I have a friend whose young adult children are a couple of years older than mine. She tells me they still do what she says. Frankly, it concerns me. As much as we have the wisdom born of years of experience and may "know best," I'm afraid that when children of such parents are out on their own, they'll have little desire to visit or engage with their folks. They may also look for partners who tell them what to do since they've never had the opportunity to act on their own decisions. This can cause them to enter abusive and potentially life-threatening relationships.

At this stage in your young adult's development, please don't try to control. Instead, work together, negotiate and let them experience the results of their choices. This will go a lot further in building the kind of bond you surely want to have.
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Friday, 14 April 2017

Live

As I'll mention in my 'sacrifice' post, most parents give up certain things in order to benefit their children. They recognize that once they have a child it's no longer all about themselves.

We have to be careful, though, that we don't neglect our self-care, and that often happens as well. It should not. You can't really look after anyone else satisfactorily if you're neglecting yourself. If you're still in the early stages of parenting, now would be a good time to correct this mistake. If like me, your children are young adults and you've set your own wants and needs aside for too long, now is the time to live. Now is the time to thrive.

Your children don't want you to live your life vicariously through them. They want to have their own lives, apart from you, in which they make their own decisions about education, career, relationships, accommodation, etc. 

Today is Easter Friday. Traditionally, on Easter weekend we get together with my mom and sometimes other family members to celebrate Christ's resurrection with a special meal. I have just learned that my daughter doesn't want to go out of town to my mom's church. My son is no longer certain of spiritual things and is indifferent about the occasion. I have decided that regardless of what they do, my husband and I will go to my mom's. I am an only child and she has no one else close enough (geographically or emotionally) to share the holiday. 

Just as your children want their independence at this life stage, it's important to have yours. You can still help and support them as necessary, but don't get in the way of their moving forward into adult lives that are distinct from yours. 

Take a class
You only live once on this earth. Make sure your time here is well spent. Follow your dreams, travel, enjoy your work and hobbies, engage in meaningful volunteer/service work, develop your relationship with your spouse and friends, get involved at your place of worship. These are things you'll still have when your children leave home. Your lack of clinging will make visits a joy and not an obligation.

If you need something to move your heart into the right place, this song may be just the ticket:

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Know

We know our children fairly well when they are younger, but what about as they get older, develop friendships outside the home and have wider influences than just Mom, Dad and close family? 

Parents may still be important, but parental viewpoints are exposed to greater scrutiny as our children grow and receive input from others who may have widely divergent views and values from our own. Teachers, peers, friends' parents, the "culture" (television, social media, what the accepted norms are), etc. all impact our young people - their worldview, what they think, how they approach life. Without our realizing it, they can become people we no longer really know. 



Older children and teens can internalize things as they digest new information and test it against what they've been taught at home. They may feel that Mom and Dad won't respond well to challenges or questions. No matter how open you think you are, if you hold very strong opinions or have a tendency to overreact, their withholding may be unfortunate but legitimately self-protecting.

Knowing your child as s/he grows older requires keeping an open mind and an open door for communication. That means being willing to discuss alternate ideas, admit what you don't know (but are prepared to investigate) and encourage critical thinking. No one should accept someone else's assessment of truth without checking it out for her/himself. That's just going along for the ride.

We've talked about communication a little bit already (communicate, hear, inquire) and finding out who our young adults are requires plunging the depths. But there are some fairly basic things you should also 'know' about your child that are not too hard to find out:


  • who are his/her best friends?
  • what is his/her favourite colour?
  • what is his/her favourite meal?
  • who is his/her favourite musical artist?
  • what is his/her favourite book?
  • where is his/her favourite place in the world?
  • what is s/he passionate about?
If you don't know the answers to these elementary questions, they're a good place to begin.
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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Joke

My son is a big Bee Gees fan and today's letter reminds me of "I started a joke, which started the whole world crying..." His friend gave him a hoodie for Christmas that reads "I started a joke, which started the whole world laughing..." I'm not sure she realized she monkeyed up the ending or if it was deliberate, but that's more like it!

Laughter is huge. It might even be said that the family that laughs together stays together. Certainly it's a lot more pleasant to be around people who laugh than people who complain and whine and grump. Even when people are going through hard times, they can still (usually) find something to laugh about or respond to a joke with a laugh. At funeral visitations or receptions, you often hear laughter as people share humorous stories about the deceased. Laughter can be very healing. It takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to cry or frown.

Laugh with your young adult often. Build happy memories. It will go a long way in encouraging them to connect, even after they've left home, as they remember you (and their times with you) fondly.

A few pertinent quotes on the subject. No doubt you've heard one or two of them before:
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. Kurt Vonnegut
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Victor Borge
When people are laughing, they're generally not killing each other. Alan Alda 
Hmm. There are some world leaders and organized groups that could learn a lot if they'd only listen. 
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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Inquire

I've heard it said that if you want to make friends, ask people about themselves. The theory is that everyone likes to talk about themselves and if you show an interest in others by asking questions - inquiring - they're inclined to view you positively and want to spend time in your company. If you're not just asking, but actually hearing and genuinely interested in the response so that there's also some interaction back and forth, even better. 

This applies to your young adult children as well. To build your relationship, show an interest in their lives. Not by being nosy or probing, as if trying to get them to reveal their hidden secrets, but in an authentic caring way.

Here are some examples to get you started:

"I miss talking with you. What's new and exciting in your life?"
"You've been my heart lately. Are you okay?"
"I've noticed that you're spending more time ____________. What do you enjoy about ____________?"
While your young adult may say "nothing" is new and exciting, or she is simply "fine," don't be discouraged or retreat back into your old way of communicating. Keep your tone non-threatening and light and continue to show that you are truly just wanting to connect and have a conversation. That you love her and want to know her better, to be involved in her life adult-to-adult. You will always be her parent, but you want to also transition into being her friend. I know some young people already consider their mother or father their best friend, but I'm not sure this is the general rule.

If you insist on continuing to parent your young adult rather than developing a bond between two adults, your young person is less likely to come to you with his questions, problems and concerns.

Don't use your advanced years (LOL) and wealth of experience to lord it over your children, but inquire about their lives from the position that you really want to know who they are. No matter how well you think you know them, I can assure you that there are layers of complexity just waiting to be explored. Strive to find the right questions to reveal them.


Do you agree? What questions do you find effective as conversation-starters?


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Monday, 10 April 2017

Hear

When I talked about communication several days ago, I failed to mention its three main components: speaking, listening and understanding (interpretation). 

Though we sometimes distinguish between listening and hearing, Dictionary.com defines "listen" as 
to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear
and "hear" as
to listen to; give or pay attention to 
so the two are really interchangeable. 

In my earlier post I said that we need to listen twice as much as we speak. Everyone wants to feel heard and when you're talking, trying to get your own points across, you're often not listening. Even when the other person responds to what's being said, we may not hear her but are busy formulating our next thoughts. 

This week try this: when communicating with your young adult child, don't ignore or gloss over what he's saying. Intentionally focus on and attend to his words. Take your time responding. Reflect back what you think you heard. Paraphrase his thoughts then let him expand, elaborate, correct. You just might learn something new. You just might build your relationship and take it to a new level.


Blindness separates us from things, but deafness separates us from people. ~Helen Keller
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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Give

When we think of giving, we often think of money or tangible things. While it can be okay to give monetarily or materially, it may not always be for the best. If you have a young adult who is challenged in his ability to steward his resources well, or who tends not to care for her belongings, you may be doing him or her a disservice in giving this way. Essentially, you are contributing to his/her dysfunction/irresponsibility and need to step back so that life can do what it does best: teach valuable and memorable lessons.

What are other ways we can give?

We can give our time, energy, attention, affirmation and affection.

Are you familiar with the 5 love languages? Put forward by author Gary Chapman in the mid-1980s, the "languages" are 

  • gift-giving
  • quality time (another word for focus)
  • words of affirmation (blessing/encouragement)
  • physical touch (aka affection)
  • acts of service (or as I put it, energy)
Mother-daughter stroll
You could take your young adult out for lunch and meaningful conversation or join with them to do an activity they enjoy (bowling, hiking, escape room, for example). 

You could ensure you're giving her lots of positive feedback. This can be verbal, on post-its placed where she can see them, on note cards that come in the mail, in e-mails, etc. The possibilities are endless and the main thing is to do it!


You could give him hugs if he'll still let you (if his love language is physical touch, chances are he will!) or just make a point of touching his arm, patting him on the back, fist-bumping, etc. Hey, whatever it takes!

You could do her laundry if you see she's swamped with assignments and studying for exams, offer to drive her to work on a rainy day, make his favourite meal for supper, do his taxes. The service and frequency are up to you. You don't want to usurp their responsibilities on a regular basis as a way of teaching them they're off the hook, but to do something like this occasionally - as an act of love and/or observation that they could use a hand at a particular moment in time - will be most appreciated and welcomed.

Speaking of acts of service, if anyone wants to come over and clean my house, you are more than welcome. Even if I'm not a young adult. As blessed as it is to give, it's a blessing to receive also.

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Friday, 7 April 2017

Focus

Whatever you focus on is what you will see. This is as true with respect to your young adult children as it is with walking down the street and observing what's around you. If you're looking at the garbage truck making its rounds, you might miss the children at play in the schoolyard. If all your attention is focused on what your child is doing wrong, you may not notice all the wonderful things she is doing right. 

Philippians 4:8 reminds us to "fix [our] thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." (NLT)

When we fix our thoughts and eyes where they ought to be fixed, it can do a lot to improve our outlook and attitude. This in turn has a domino effect on how we respond to and treat those around us. When we see our young adult children showing character excellence (e.g. honesty, kindness, forgiveness) or doing positive things (such as working hard, volunteering in the community, reaching out to those in need), it's important to let them know we notice.

Noticing leads to feelings of encouragement, a desire to continue, and healthy relationships. 


Used with permission by license.

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

Encourage

Everyone wants support and encouragement. To 'encourage' is to 'inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence,' to 'stimulate by assistance, approval, etc.,' to 'promote, advance, or foster.' Synonyms include reassure, galvanize, and cheer.

Young adult children are often trying new things to find out what they like, spreading their wings to see if they can fly. Sometimes they'll take off from the safety of the nest only to fall clumsily to the ground. At times like this, they'll appreciate your words of inspiration and knowing that you still believe in them.

Here are some words of encouragement to get you started. Feel free to use and adapt:
I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. ~Robert Schuller
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. ~Author Unknown
The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning. ~Ivy Baker Priest 
When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Decide

We make choices every day. When it comes to parenting young adult children, there is one fundamental decision that shapes all the others: the decision to practice the 'golden rule.' 

Do unto others as you would have them to unto you. Hopefully we live this way most of the time. But do we live this way with those closest to us? - our spouse and children. If not, why not? Is it a case of letting our hair down at home? A case of knowing each other too well (familiarity breeds contempt)? Irregardless, if we're not living the golden rule at home, that needs to change - and fast! Treating young adult children the way we would like to be treated can go a long way in building and strengthening our relationships with them.

Now you may have young adults who aren't living "right". Maybe they're using or dealing drugs, fighting drug or alcohol or sex addictions, engaging in petty or more serious crimes. You may be called upon to make tough decisions that don't feel "nice" to them and create additional conflict. When this is the case, the golden rule has to consider the good of all who are being affected by their choices and actions. You may need to involve the authorities or stage an intervention and get them to rehab. You may need to ask them to leave the family home if they're not already living elsewhere. If they want respect they need to show you respect as well. Ultimately the hope is for such children to have a turn-around in their lives, that they will come back and acknowledge their mistakes and move forward in a better place with themselves and with you.

If your children are merely desiring their adult independence and freedom to make their own choices around career, school, living arrangements, relationships, faith, deciding to practice the golden rule is easy. Didn't you want to make those same choices for yourself at their age? Don't you want to now? Do unto your children as you would have them do unto you.

As someone once said, "be nice to your kids because one day they'll choose your nursing home." Living by the golden rule can help ensure it's a good one.

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The letter D is brought to you by the A to Z Blogging Challenge that takes place each April. Join us anytime you like!