When should parents say, “My child is old enough to be completely free as an adult”?
By the way, “Never!” is not a good answer.
It’s worth thinking through when your job is done as a parent. Your answers will guide you in how you approach raising your kids.
Children on their way to adulthood have always struggled against their parents. And parents have always wondered, “Have I done everything I could to prepare my child for adulthood? Is my son or daughter ready? Will they launch?”
What’s changed is how parents view adolescence, the years between 13 and 20. “Adolescence,” as we understand the concept today, has only been around for 100 years or so. The terms “adolescent” and “teenager” were first used around 1941. They’re primarily post-Industrial Revolution ideas.
Prior to 100 years ago, generations raised their children as if childhood naturally ended by about age 13. Parenting was about preparing children to launch into the world on their own.
It’s a good thing that today’s children don’t have to be prepared to take on the world by age 13. But it’s becoming more common for parenting to continue right on through to 18, 20 and beyond. Some parents hang on as long as possible. Some would even say it’s “Christian” to hang on as long as possible.
It’s hard to let go and to allow your children to make their own decisions. It’s especially hard when your child’s decisions are contrary to your faith.
What should you do?
Joining us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Giving Your Teen Freedom to Become an Adult” is psychologist and author Dr. Kenneth Wilgus. He specializes in adolescent behavior and has written a book called Feeding the Mouth That Bites You: A Complete Guide to Parenting Adolescents and Launching Them into the World.
Dr. Wilgus will explain his concept of “planned emancipation,” which gives your teens more and more control over their lives the older they get. You can hear the program on your local radio station, online, on iTunes, via Podcast, on our free phone app, or you can watch the program on our YouTube channel.
For more on this topic, I think you’ll be interested in Dr. Wilgus’ book. I’d love to send you a copy for a gift of any amount. (For more information, visit our website.)
Thanks to some generous friends who are providing us with a matching gift, any donation you make to Focus on the Family will be doubled! Your $25 becomes $50, $50 becomes $100, and so on. So, please, be generous with your gift so that we can continue together to encourage and support families through the end of this year and well into 2019!