Usually, when we think about "developmental stages," we have our children in mind. The truth is, however, when our kids go through their developmental stages, we as parents navigate through developmental stages too.
When children are small, parents are thrilled to watch them go through the appropriate developmental stages. You remember: turning over, holding up their head, laughing, rocking, pulling up, crawling, one-word sentences, multiple word sentences. It is all just one big celebration after another. Most parents have Hallmark calendars (complete with stickers) to record each event so they can remember what happened and where it happened. It was thrilling.
In the beginning, it is as though the parents are cheering and rooting for their child to successful complete each expected marker of development. When the child is delayed, we fret and worry that something might be wrong. When they breeze through the various stages, we think our child is off-the-chart in intelligence and we are sure they will go to some prestigious university.
At some point, especially around the teenage years, our children start pulling at us because they are chomping at the bit to do all the things that they see as markers of adolescence. They can't wait to: spend the night over at a friends, go to dances, drive the family car, get a car of their own, go away to college, get a job, live in the dorm, and many more. During this time period, the parents are almost universally putting on the brakes because the stages are flying by and we feel out of control. Parents don't think these stages are nearly as much fun as the kids do. The parents would much rather prefer for things to go back to the way things were when their child was in elementary school.
When our children "launch" from home, meaning: when they graduate from college or trade school; get a job; move out of the house; live independently and make their own choices, parents pretty much begin to freak out. The maturing process of the kids is going so fast that the parents feel uncomfortable with the rapid pace. Parents are scared to death because they just don't have the control they once did.
Truthfully, it is a good and right thing for our children to grow up. The goal of parenting is to launch our children successfully. Even though we struggle with the new-found independence of our children, we need to try to go along with as much as we can. We need to allow them the room to grow up and the opportunity to fail. That's how our children will grow the most: taking things one step at a time and calling on the wisdom of God (and our wisdom if they seek it) in order to make wise, appropriate decisions.
Are you having trouble letting your adult children go?
Do you still seek to control and yet you call it influence?
What do you think that is really about?
Could it be that we are so afraid that God won't come through for them that we feel as though we need to take care of the matter ourselves?
Ask the Father how well you are doing in allowing your adult children to grow up? See what He says and then be prepared to make some adjustments if necessary. God is a much better parent than we could ever hope to be. Allow Him to have enough space in the lives of your children. To do this, you might have to actually get out of the way.
Think about it ...