Blog College Preparation, Parents

Parenting Young Adults: How to Trust God Through Change

By Tami Rangel on Friday, June 7, 2024


Parenting is a critical responsibility and privilege that requires active participation from the moment a child is born until God calls either the parent or the child to their forever home with Him.

In the early days of parenting, the duties include making sure our children are fed, changed, rested, stimulated, and comforted.  And then, as they get a little older, discipline and discipleship become both appropriate and necessary. As our children continues to grow and develop, God-fearing parents begin focusing on building character in their children in addition to continuing to nurture, shape, pray for, and guide those he has entrusted to them for their good and God’s glory. For 18 years, this is a round-the-clock, full-time commitment.

And then, one day, they graduate.

How to Parent Young Adult Children Through Life’s Transitions

Parents desire their children to spread their wings and soar to new heights, wondering if and hoping they’ve done “enough” to prepare and equip their graduate to succeed in the next journey of life. The good news is, God loves our children more than we ever could. His promises are assured, even when it comes to the children we have spent so much time pouring into.

Scripture verses like the following remind us that He’s got them:

“. .. God has said, “I will never leave you; never will I forsake you.”  —Hebrews 13:5b (NIV)

“For I am the LORD, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” —Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

            Knowing this, how can we best come alongside our recent graduates and continue being an engaged parent who desires to encourage and equip our young adult children?  Our responsibility to continue to be an active participant in their lives hasn’t gone away; it’s simply shifted to become more of an advisor, mentor, counselor, and coach.

            For parents of high school graduates who are going through the transition to college, the list might include making sure they know how to:

  • Prioritize relationships with Jesus and others
  • Budget
  • Manage deadlines
  • Do laundry
  • Serve others (future roommates will appreciate this)
  • Advocate for themselves

For parents of college graduates, encouragement is needed. They are experiencing major life transitions—finding a full-time jobs in the fields they just spent their college years preparing for, finding and building new community, acclimating to this new rhythm of life, and experiencing the roller coaster of emotions this exciting and overwhelming time presents. Your role in this season includes being their cheerleader. Encourage them to:

  • Keep Jesus first—seek and trust him in this new season, offering honest prayers to him and thanking him for all he’s doing behind the scenes.
  • Get connected to a church and small group
  • Form new communities outside of the relationships already established
  • Find rest
  • Get (or stay) active
  • Plan activities to look forward to—maybe a bucket list
  • Enjoy the place where God has planted them
  • Find a Christian mentor

Regardless of which a stage of life your child is experiencing, our most important job as parents might oftentimes be overlooked because it feels too easy, however, it is our best offering. We are to be their prayer warriors. Focus on the Family provides a great blog post, titled Parenting Adult Children Through Prayer written by Edie Melson in 2023. This article offers helpful tips for how to pray boldly and specifically for your child.

Meditate on Psalm 91, remembering who our God is: Protector, Guide, Deliverer, and Confidant. Rest in knowing that He loves our children more than we ever could and that He’s got them!

1Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

—Psalm 91 (NIV)