6 Ways to Know Your Adult Child is Maturing Well

Jim Daly | President, Focus on the Family | Thursday, September 19, 2013

6 Ways to Know Your Adult Child is Maturing Well

 We receive hundreds of thousands of inquiries every year from people seeking relationship and family advice – and among the top topics are moms and dads asking about their adult children.

Our counselors have helped many parents concerned about their millennial-age kids: Should they take a year off from their studies? Why do they seem like they lack direction? Should they take on more responsibility? Why aren’t they looking to settle down?

It can be a challenging road to walk. As I recently wrote in my post about young adults living at home with their parents, the Bible is largely silent on the topic of adult children. Also, “extended adolescence” – what some call the “Peter Pan Syndrome” – is still a relatively new phenomenon. It’s no wonder parents feel like their relationships with their 20- and 30-something children seem a bit like uncharted territory.

Today I wanted to offer those parents some good insight prepared by Boundless, Focus’ outreach to young adults. As Boundless works out its mission to help Christian singles and young adults prepare for marriage and family, it uses six “maturity markers” as guides.

I think that these principles of mature living will help parents better discern their adult child’s situation because it cuts through the trappings of modern life. It also delves into the heart issues that should be a parent’s main concern. In other words, what may seem unconventional to you might still be producing good fruit. Conversely, the decisions the Millennial in your life is making may be what everyone’s doing – but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what your daughter or son should be doing.

So, here are the six markers of maturity parents can teach their young kids, and encourage their older children to reach.

 1. An ability to articulate and apply a biblical worldview

  • Living a life reconciled to God is paramount and the foundation for all relationships
  • Living a life transformed by the Gospel is the best way to share Christ
  • Knowing who you are in Christ will guide you in making life decisions and handling life’s disappointments

2. Accountable involvement in a Gospel-centered church community

  • Commitment to a local church is a biblical mandate and breeds accountability, mentorship, service and selflessness
  • People under the authority and instruction of a local church get to marriage more biblically and intentionally

3. Willingness to master life skills and shoulder responsibility

  • Being an adult means taking responsibility for yourself (and eventually others)
  • Work is good and should be done to the maximum of our ability and to the glory of God
  • A proper view of money and possessions brings freedom and joy

4. Is a contributor to the community and a leader in spheres of influence

  • Life is short. Be proactive. Get involved. Make a difference.
  • As a single, it’s easy to be self-centered. Instead, give of yourself to others.
  • Develop and steward time and abilities in a way that makes an impact
  • Leadership where you are now prepares you for leadership of a family later

5. Ability to sustain and grow healthy relationships with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers

  • Handle communication and conflict well
  • Love and bless others
  • Celebrate and appreciate the differences between men and women

6. Is actively pursuing marriage and family or the next stage of life

  • Understand God’s purpose for marriage and champion it
  • Dating is for marriage, not recreation. Be intentional.
  • Deal with the relational baggage that’s holding you back

I’m interested to know what you think about this list. How do your kids measure up? Do you think it’s complete? Is there any point you’d add or take away?


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