We avoid showing love to our adult children for fear of “doing it wrong.” We need to celebrate them. No one is too old to be celebrated and loved.
Celebrations with young children range from chaos to cute and creative. We do not seem to mind having glitter in our hair and cake frosting on the cabinet if the mess brings smiles to our delighted faces of our toddlers and preschoolers.
I recently asked several moms of adult women:
‘Why is sending a card to your daughter so hard?”
One mom told me, “She is an adult now. She has to grow up sometime.”
Another two moms:
“I buy her too many presents at Christmas so I don’t need to tell her that I love her during the year. I have already spoiled her rotten. She knows I love her.”
“She has a husband to love her now. She is his responsibility.”
Growing up does not mean growing out of appreciating love and affection.
Maybe we DID spoil them as little girls. Maybe we were too hard when they were teens–but this is a NEW DAY!
They never outgrow the delight in knowing we adore them. They never outgrow the need to know that we KNOW they were created for greatness. They never outgrow our love.
These two stanzas, the very heart of the great poem, “The Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), sum up the lesson of this masterpiece
He Prayeth Best.
Farewell, farewell, this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding Guest!
He prayer well we liveth well
Both man and bird and beast
He prayeth best who loveth best
All things, both great and small:
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
Loving our children is like dancing—we know we are not doing it right, but we have to keep listening for the music. (And try to keep our opinions of doing it WRONG to a minimum!)
Most of us go through times of indulgence, overprotectiveness, or being too harsh and becoming bitter. Admitting one of these faults to ourselves and our children makes up the mental gymnastics of a good portion of our days.
As a Christian parent, I have to ask myself if I am loving my child “best”–the way God loves me…and therefore the “right way,” or if I am following the culture and loving my child through permissiveness or laziness or perfectionism?
This all sounds like advice for toddlers but our role as the parent does not change, though the physical act of day-to-day care is constantly changing.
Parents to adult children worry that they won’t get it right. The transition to ‘adulting’ our adult children may some days appear hard and some days seem very natural to us. But like dancing, we keep moving to the music and a few steps fall in line.
How do you show love to your adult children?
Do you know their love language? How important is that?
Johnnie Seago is a national conference speaker who is passionate about building leadership in families. As the mother to eight adult children, she desires families to learn to connect and communicate to build a community of support. She extends her leadership and team building experience to schools, businesses, and civic groups.
Johnnie’s messages equip leaders to:
Find their strength in the design God used to create them
Find their purpose for which God created them
Partner with others for support in reaching goals
Commit to the dreams God has placed on their heart
Become accountable for their success as leaders
Johnnie’s ministry to families includes:
Helping families transition from childhood to adulthood
Teaching parents to communicate with their adult children
Working through difficult situations as teens become adults
Providing resources and ideas for productive grand-parenting
Johnnie and her husband, Ted has been married for 40 years. They live in the suburbs of Houston, Texas on a lake where they enjoy boating and water sports and the occasional day of floating and reading.
View all posts by Dr. Johnnie K. Seago