FAITH PATH STEP
Recommended at age 18+
Coach your child to move towards college and/or career and adult independence.
Whether your son or daughter is going off to college, joining the military or entering the workforce, you can be intentional about successfully launching them into a God-honoring life.
Be a Coach
As the parent of an older teen on the verge of adulthood, you are a very important coach. You can motivate, encourage, challenge and advise, but you can’t force feed. You can help your child articulate what they believe, challenge their thinking, remind them of the “basics” learned during earlier years, but the time has come for your child to truly own his or her own beliefs and choices. Provide a listening ear as they wrestle with and possibly question the values they learned as a child. Try to maintain a strong relationship that includes frequent, open dialogue.
During the transition into adulthood your son or daughter will face big questions including: Where should I go to college? What kind of work should I do? Where should I live? What should I do with my life? Who should I marry? Your perspective is valuable, especially when your child asks for it. But when a parent becomes demanding or controlling, the open door of communication will quickly shut.
Initiate Faith Conversations
Less formal is better, but be intentional about steering conversations toward topics of faith. Allow expression of doubt and frustration. Ask open questions that don’t have “right” answers. Be honest about your own struggles and questions. Emphasize trusting God over right behavior. Help your child to see God as a Father who is FOR THEM. Use Psalm 103:8-13 to remind them of God’s compassion.
Identify Gifts and Strengths
Help your child assess and discover spiritual gifts and strengths. Use assessment tools or personal observation to highlight God-given aptitude, and encourage your child to use their gifts to serve God and others.
Encourage Soul Practices
Help your teen to discover their unique “spiritual wiring” and suggest compatible practices. Provide a journal or colored pencils for one who processes through writing or art. Pay for an overnight at a prayer retreat center. Include appropriate books or devotionals in care packages. Share worship music or online videos. The key here is invitation over obligation!
If possible, give financial support for mission trips and ministry opportunities during the college years. Consider paying a bit more for college expenses for a student who chooses summer ministry over lucrative employment. If your child is open to the idea, consider going on a parent-child ministry trip.
Make the Most
While leaving home is a healthy and good process, it can be emotional for parent and child alike. Ease the pain by using the time your son or daughter has at home to create lasting memories. Spend quality time together connecting and talking about the exciting adventure of adulthood.
Pray. Pray. Pray.
Do not underestimate the power of prayer. Ask your child how you can be praying, and ask them to pray for you, too. Ask God for wisdom to parent your adult children, and for trust to let them go. God I trust you… the prayer that never fails.
Growing With by Kara Powell and Steven Argue
The Power of Praying for Your Adult Child by Stormie Omartian
Soulprint by Mark Batterson
The Search for Significance (student edition) by Robert McGee
The Me I Want to Be (student edition) by John Ortberg
StrengthsFinder from Gallup