My husband and I now have an empty-nest and are no longer expected to parent our adult children. Correction: we’re no longer “welcome” to parent them! 😉
So what’s an older mom to do? Sign up for senior aerobics? Spend her time at the mall, grieving away her sorrows with purchases-a-plenty?
Being a mom is all I’ve known, done and been for twenty-four years of my life! My identity was wrapped tightly around raising my three sons, who now just happen to be young adults. The nerve of them to grow up!
I’ve struggled to come to a screeching halt ever since the day they walked out our door to start their own adult lives.
Thankfully, I came across a great resource from a friend of mine, Jim Burns. His latest book, “Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out” has really offered me a lot of wisdom and encouragement in this season of life.
Jim doesn’t waste time—jumping in with the title of his first chapter, “You’re Fired!” I think it takes slapping every older parent in the face with this harsh reality to get us moving in the right direction.
Here’s a quote I loved, even though it stings just a bit …
“However much a parent views giving advice as an act of love, most adult children resent it.”
My two younger sons told me one time that I needed to dial back the “counselor” rhetoric with them. And I said in reply, “I’m not talking to you like a counselor! I’m talking to you like a mom! If I were talking with you like a counselor, I’d keep my mouth shut!”
I knew that the wise thing to do is always to listen and refrain from offering advice to my young adult sons. My mothering ways were hanging on too long to my detriment. I’m trying very hard to take their words to heart. There are many times that I now bite my lip and invite them to share, rather than sharing from my many years of wisdom!
The well is deep, my friends! The well is deep! Lol!
Another quote that caught my attention was …
“We also need to be clear about the difference between having a conversation and giving a lecture. A conversation conveys respect; a lecture doesn’t.”
I think this can be misunderstood not only by the parents, but also by the adult child. Our sons don’t know my husband and I very well as adults, nor do we know them very well as adults. The adult-to-adult relationship is in the early stages, with strong memories often flooding in from our parent-child days.
So when we talk to our sons and want to share our thoughts in a “conversation,” we had better make sure they feel respected!
I think this involves listening much more than speaking. It also means validating what they’re saying and feeling. But maybe, most important of all, is to watch our tone with them.
In time, I’m hoping they will come to view these conversations as just as encouraging as the conversations they welcome from other mentors and adults in their lives. If we do our part, I think we will pave the way for this positive outcome.
Jim also delved into the individuation that is vital to the maturation process for our adult children. This process is especially important and often hastened when our children marry. It’s the Bible’s “leave and cleave” principle at work.
But even if our kids never marry—our two youngest are still single—we need to encourage this healthy separation with them.
[bctt tweet=”It’s not really saying good-bye to our children, but rather hello to our adult sons and daughters! Find out more! #individuation #healthyseparation @drjimburns” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
When we recognize that individuation is a good thing for our adult children, we help everyone step over this healthy threshold.
Here are the chapter titles and topics covered in this book …
- You’re Fired!
- Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out
- Why Is It Taking My Kid So Long to Grow Up?
- How to Raise and Entitled Adult Child … or Not
- A Failure to Launch
- When Your Grown Child Violates Your Values
- The High Cost of Money
- In-Laws, Stepfamilies, and the Blend
- It’s Party Time with the Grandkids
I’m just getting into the “party time” years with my first and only grandbaby—Samson! (See pic below!)
It truly does feel like a party because it’s always a celebration when I get to see him. He makes me smile and laugh. And he keeps me entertained for hours—at least until his next feeding or naptime!
So if you’re …
- A parent of teens, you just might want to get this book and prepare yourself for what’s to come. Before you know it, you’ll be waving good-bye to your burgeoning adult child. Unless, of course, they are like those Jim writes about in his “Failure to Launch” chapter! Lol! But all the more reason to snag this book!
- In the beginning days of being an empty-nester, then this book is definitely one you’ll want in your hand! There aren’t many other books on this subject out there either. Jim has hit on a topic that’s greatly needed!
- Further along in your adult-to-adult relationship with your children, then I hope you’ll check this out to at least give to a friend. It’s a great gift idea!
- A young adult yourself. Then you might want to buy this for your parents! It could be just the roadmap they’ve been looking for!
[bctt tweet=”Come by MM to enter the giveaway of Jim Burns’ latest book: Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out. Deadline is March 31st! Don’t delay! @drjimburns” username=”BethSteffaniak”]
Jim’s publisher has graciously offered to provide this book to a randomly chosen winner of the giveaway here at MM. All you have to do to enter is comment* below by noon (CST) on Sunday, March 31, 2019 (ironically, my oldest son Jordan’s B-day!). UPDATE: Congratulations to Lisa! She was randomly chosen as the winner of this incredible book! I hope your relationships with your adult children are blessed by Jim’s wisdom and insight!
* You must be a resident of the continental U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii to be eligible.
Be sure to join me next week when I’ll be sharing my final post in the series, “The Spouse I Want to Be.“ I’ll be exploring how to be a more devoted spouse. Also, I’ll be kicking off my next series, “Spring Clean Your Marriage” on April 7th, 2019. And I’ve got some in.cred.i.ble bloggers joining me, so take a look at the graphic below to see just who they all are! Wowza!
What is one challenge you’re facing with letting go of your teens or adult children?
What’s one reason why you’d like to win this book?
Jim Burns is the President of HomeWord and the Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University and is author of many books, with his newest being, Doing Life with Your Adult Children: Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out. Jim and his wife, Cathy, live in Southern California and have three grown daughters, Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi; two sons-in-law, Steve and Matt; and two grandchildren, James and Charlotte.
This was one of many times that Jim came and spoke at our church, as well as having led marriage retreats for us on many occasions. He’s also been an amazing encourager and mentor to my husband and me—giving us much more time than most well-known authors ever would. He’s the kind of guy you want to buy a book from! Ironically, when he visited our church on this day, his young adult daughter Becca joined him. He’s quite the family man, AND she’s quite the sweetheart of an adult daughter!
And here’s one taken this last Christmas of me with my three young adult sons and the most adorable grandson ever—Samson!
Here are some other lovely linkups I join – Inspire Me Monday, Literary Musing Mondays, Tea and Word Tuesday, Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story, Recharge Wednesday, Porch Stories Linkup, Welcome Heart, Worth Beyond Rubies Wednesday, Encouraging Word Wednesday, Sitting Among Friends, Destination Inspiration, Tune in Thursday, Heart Encouragement, Moments of Hope, Grace and Truth, Faith and Friends, Faith on Fire Friday, Fresh Market Friday, and DanceWithJesusFriday
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