Plus 5 more practical ways to teach your kids grow up and grow out – not just move out.
It’s a thrill when a baby is born. It was extremely exciting in our home. All throughout their toddler years rearing our children are both challenging and excitingly fun.
Then the teenage years arrive. Need I say more?
Actually, for us it has been a little bit of a whirlwind. Some months have been smooth but others challenging.
With four teens in our house, hormones are all over the place. Yet, in our home, we never accepted the idea of having rebellious teenagers. And so we didn’t. And there are no signs of that.
Helping these kids smoothly transition into adulthood is a fun, exiting and sometimes sad experience.
Filled with a roller-coaster of emotions we've managed to transition one child full-time; child number two, part-time and the other two from one grade to another while in high school.
Here’s what I mean. Our second child is in his third year of college in which he’ll be leaving this fall 6 hours away to school. Meanwhile, he’s working full-time so we hardly see him.
Our first-born recently got a job two hours away which caused her to move away from home. This job, however, was one of those jobs she couldn’t miss out on. So we’re happy for her and sad for us.
In this process we’ve learned 7 ways to help our kids smoothly transition into adulthood by helping them grow up and grow out.
So here’s what we’ve learned:
1. Establish a strong positive relationship with your kids.
Way before they reach adulthood, be sure and work hard at establishing a strong relationship with your kids. This will make the transitional process a smooth one.
Once they’re adults, the chemistry of the relationship changes. So be sure to establish a positive relationship with them.
2. Let them grow up.
Really?! Did I need to say that? For parents like us – very protective – it’s easy to hold on to your kids enough and protect them enough to where you try to make decisions for them up through their transition years.
My wife and I decided to let our kids grow up during their teenage years. By growing up I simply mean, helping them make decisions for themselves, like clothing they like, food, movies, music, school, careers, etc.
I don’t mean we’re not involved in their choices, but we just refused to make the decision for them. We taught them, then helped them in the process.
This leads them to the next point.
3. Teach them make their own decisions.
By this time they are an adult, around 18 or 21. I know that our American way say that kids are adults when they turn 18. This is one of those misleading and bogus standards because real adulthood starts when maturity is proven, not when they turn a certain age.
For our kids, some matured around the age of 16 enough to be considered adults (shoot, they’re more mature than many adults we know) and (my wife and I fell in this same category), while others are still 16 and are not matured enough to even drive.
Oh they’re sharp, but there’s still a maturity level that must be trusted in all areas.
Just three days ago, my wife and I moved our daughter to her own apartment. That was a bitter-sweet experience.
We helped her move, but we didn’t tell her what to do. We gave her options, showed her the way and let her decide.
Meanwhile, my wife is spending around 4 days with her to help her get settled in with decorations, and things like that. In the process, while choosing curtains, rugs, mirrors, and some pictures to hang on the walls, my wife is letting her choose and decide on her own.
My wife will give her ideas if she needs them but overall, she’s letting our daughter do her thing.
4. Teach them the right way – communicate.
Don’t expect your kids to become adults just by turning 18 or whatever. Don’t think this comes automatically – even if it somewhat did for you. Be sure to communicate with them what adulthood entails.
In other words, during their teenage years, teach them the cost of living, guide them through their PR experiences, teach them how to choose and make friends.
Overall, teach them to be responsible people.
5. Teach them leadership.
If there’s one thing our kids stand out at church, 4H programs, and in our neighborhood, is the fact that they are all leaders. Since they were kids around 10 years of age we started instilling in them little practical principles of leadership.
We taught them responsibilities, timing, scheduling, savings, tithing, giving, and be people of their word.
The worse thing a parent hates to see is their loving child be manipulated while following others in a direction they don’t even want to go.
So teach them basic leadership.
6. Teach them entrepreneurship.
Show them ways to make money on their own, this way they will have a business mentality instead of a “worker’s” mentality. Nothing wrong with being a worker at a job, but it’s much better to have your own business.
We know that first hand.
7. Teach them to discover their purpose.
Most people never discover their purpose. If you don’t teach your child to discover their purpose, chances are nobody ever will.
By discovering their purpose you need to show them 5 ways to help them grow up and grow out:
a. Show them in the Bible that they were created with a plan from God – they weren’t born by chance, neither were they an accident.
b. Show them and help them discover their heart’s desires.
c. Show them how to have a relationship with God (this one could’ve been the first step before you ever do anything else).
They will discover their true meaning in life, meaning of life and meaning of their own life’s purpose by first establishing a relationship with their creator – the one who chose them in the first place.
d. Show them that you’re interested in their future, more than you’re interested in their school grades.
e. Show them what it means to be a strong positive and compassionate Bible believing Christian.
In other words, walk to talk. Be the same person at home as you are in public. Believe me, this will speak volumes to your kids.
Be the same person at home that you are in public - for your kids' sake. - Alex Colon ...Click to Tweet
With these 7 ways to help your kids smoothly transition into adulthood, I am convinced that they will make it through adulthood and you, as a parent, will enjoy watching them grow into their new adventure.
There are obviously a few more tips in the area of teaching our kids transition into adulthood, but for that we need a book.
Suffice it to say that with these steps, you will automatically help your child develop self-confidence, a strong faith and reliance on God, and a strong identity of who they are - where they came from and where they’re going.
Question: What other ways would you suggest we can help our kids transition into adulthood? Make this list even better to help others. What was your experience? Ad your comment below.
About the Author
Alex Colón, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Teacher, Pastor, Blogger and best of all, Husband and Father of 4. Living the re-Branded life