When you’re a new dad, you think the little life you’re holding in your arms will never become an adult. We believe that’s the way it will always be, until many years later when we learn there is an entirely new stage to enter—the parent of adult children.
My daughters are now 21 and soon-to-be 18. One will graduate college in the spring, and the other high school. I’m flabbergasted, which is ridiculous, because I knew it was coming. Yet, I find myself in mourning for their childhoods, which aren’t coming back. But this is no time to get stuck in the past because they still need me here in the present. How should a dad parent an adult daughter? Here are three things you need to do when she becomes an adult.
1. Trust your work.
A particular Proverb (22:6) has been a motivator to me in fatherhood. It reads, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” If we know we worked to instill qualities in her during childhood, then when she becomes an adult, we can trust the effort we put forth. She isn’t sleeping under our roof. I don’t know where she is at all times. I have no control over her actions. It is her time to fly and as a dad, the best thing I can do is trust that my years of hard work will pay off.
2. Find ways to remain connected.
Your relationship has to change at this stage and you both have to make an effort to change with it. You don’t want to smother your adult daughter, but you do want to remain in her life. Technology gives us many ways to talk and keep the bond, however there’s nothing better than visiting her. I intentionally take her where we can talk about her dreams, problems, and needs. Consistent effort is needed to keep a tight connection.
3. Listen more, lecture less.
Everyone has a need to be heard, and an adult daughter really wants to be heard by her dad. She’s a young adult and she has valid things to say. It’s your job to listen more and lecture way less. You’re not going to be fond of some of her thoughts and ideas. She might go against your political or religious beliefs. Perhaps she has dreams that scare you or don’t seem practical. We can’t dictate their adult lives, but we can offer sound advice when asked.
Sound off: How is your relationship with your adult children?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your adult children and tell them you love them.