Saturday Giveaway: How to Really Love Your Adult Child

During the past couple years, I’ve been venturing into the world of parenting grownup kids. When you’ve got only little ones, you kind of assume that once your kids are grown, your job is done. I’ve learned that though the need for physical care goes away, you become more and more aware of the need to pray for your kids and to encourage them in just the right way  (not too much intervention, not too little, thankyouverymuch!)  It is a tricky balance.

When I heard about today’s giveaway book (I’ve got TWO copies!) I was immediately intrigued. How to Really Love Your Adult Child: Building a Healthy Relationship in a Changing World is written by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell, and offers a no-nonsense yet loving approach for parents wishing to encourage their young-adult children in the best way possible.  I really like the fact that it is loaded with real stories from real families offering perspective into what works and what doesn’t.
I’ve got two copies of this book that I’ll be giving away early next week.  All you have to do to enter the drawing is comment below and tell me the best thing that your parents did for you as you moved into the adult world. One thing that comes to my mind:  a little packet of Bible verses written by my mom and handed to me the day I moved into my college dorm.   I treasured those verses for many years and just recently gave that little packet to one of my own daughters as she set off on adventure.

How about you?  Who encouraged you as you set out into the world, and how did they do it?


  1. Angela Mayer says:

    When I went away to college in 1991, my grandfather gave me a quarter taped to a small note. I folded it and kept it in my wallet for many years. The note encouraged me that he was only a phone call away and that if I ever need to know if what I was thinking of doing was right or needed to talk, I could use the quarter and give him a call. Knowing that he was praying for me and watching out for me meant a lot. And I think just the presence of that quarter may have kept me out of trouble more than once!

  2. I am just about to graduate high school, so I am on the cusp of being an adult child, I suppose…I would like this book because I think it might be useful for my parents and I to read to help us figure out how to act once I’m moved out of the house! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Mary :]

  3. My Mom sent a package for my first Christmas away from home. It had a few special decorations from my childhood and a set of ornaments that she, my Dad and brother had hand-painted. Along with that she sent a journal filled with her favorite poems and sayings. I still hand those ornaments on my tree and have shared the journal with my own daughter. What a treasure. Thank you for sharing your life with us Mary. Your posts are always a blessing.

  4. Came from dysfunction, but looking back my parents have always respected boundaries and allowed me to live my adult life without them meddling too much. That has been helpful. I wish they prayed more for me, but not a part of who they are. With 5 grown children, I am always seeking ways to love them, pray for them and help them be healthy productive adults without seeming like a nag!

  5. I love this book idea! WOW!!!
    I’m smack in the middle of it. My oldest is at college (2nd year) and my middle is about to graduate HS. The baby is a soph!
    The relationship has changed so much in the last 3 years. I’m overwhelmed by it.

    Growing up? I think the best help was the love and encouragement given even when mistakes were made. I hope my kids will know that same acceptance from me. Life is full of ups & downs.

  6. Denise Chynoweth says:

    This is a tough one. When my adult child left for college 2.5 yrs ago, I thought I would lose my mind. I cried for 2 months, until she had to come home for an emergency. It was then that I realized how much of her own person she had come in the 2 months she had been gone. It was at that point I realized all the praying I had done for her had transformed her into an amazing adult. She truly was her own person, who didn’t need me so much. She was a grown up. I was still her mom, just in a different way. We had transitioned into being more like friends than mother/daughter. That was nice. I could really have a nice grown-up conversation with her, without getting the rolling of eyes or the huffing and puffing and looks of “your so dumb” I was/am proud of the person she has become. She still needs me sometimes and still needs “mothering” sometimes, but it’s so much different. The Lord has really transformed this person that I love so much.

  7. My parents let me know that they had confidence in my decisions and my abilities. Two things come to mind: One winter when I was home from college I was supposed to drive to meet friends, about an hour away. The snow was bad and I was having difficulty deciding whether to go or not. My dad stood looking out the window with me, and everytime I said I wasn’t sure what to do, my dad said “I’m not going to tell you what to do honey, you have to make the decision.” I finally decided to stay home, he looked relieved and said “I think you made the right decision.”
    Years later, after my first baby was born, my mom stayed with me for almost a week after my c-section. When it came time for her to leave, I cried and cried and begged her to stay. I told her I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t take care of the baby. She hugged me, looked me straight in the eye and said “Yes you can, I wouldn’t leave if I was not sure.”

    My kids are now 18 and 21, and my husband and I have spent many long conversations with them, thinking things through so that they would be equipped to make decisions. They are confident kids and we are always there to help them talk things out, but we won’t make their decisions for them (as much as I want to sometimes).

  8. I set off on adventure because I wanted to take risks and take the road last traveled. My parents are not risk takers and I did not want to have regrets as grew older.

  9. My parents let me grow up, perhaps a little too quickly, quitting high school and leaving home for university at age 17. And yet, when I called that first week of college, crying because I was unhappy, my dad told me I could come home. I didn’t, but knowing it was ok if I did made all the difference to me. 😉

    They believed that I could do anything I wanted to do, and supported me when I made decisions that were a little scary to all of us.

  10. Mary,

    My Family was a mess…so I feel like I am in uncharted waters…I have children just approaching this time period and would love some great advice.

  11. I didn’t really have someone to help me transistion into the adult world, so I kind of had to take a figure it out as you go approach, I would love to have a way to help my own children through the process.

  12. This sounds like a great book. My life has not been exactly what my parents envisioned so it has been bumpy along the way for them. I would love to have this book to help me think it out as my brood gets older.

  13. My parents listened and encouraged. They let me work out the things I needed to do on my own, but were there to help when I didn’t know what to do and needed them.

  14. My parents were older and sort of retired by the time I entered adulthood. My father passed away in my early 20s and my mom didn’t really have an easy time with advice. I would say the most important thing she gave me was that she supported my choices and decisions and tried not to meddle too much. Although, I think I would have appreciated some constructive meddling. 🙂

  15. I was the oldest and never really had a chance to develop my decision making or my wings until I left home. I came home from college every weekend and wish I had stayed and gotten involved in the fun more. I loved that my sisters and many in our extended family regularly mailed me letters. I try to do the same for others, including our grandchildren, now. Now that our 4 are married, I still juggle knowing how often I should phone to keep in touch but not so often that it seems annoying! I know that it’s really, really important to respect their decision making as couples. I’d love to read the book and share it with friends who have kids a bit younger than ours. Thanks for sharing!

  16. I feel like I’m miles away from this, but my mom would love it (and she lives across the backyard so I could easily give it to her).
    The best thing my parents gave me was confidence that I could do whatever I set my mind to, and once I left home, the freedom to make my own choices. And unconditional love.

  17. My parents taught me to work hard and to handle my financial life well. Those (unspoken) lessons have been invaluable to me.

  18. I went to college about 21 hours away from home. Running home was not an option. My mom would send me a letter a week to encourage me. It is something I did when my children left and went away to college. My son still talks about them today.

  19. My parents stated that they would be there if they could be for me and my siblings. I had a hard time last year medically and they were there with me along the road. They were there for my sister too when she was beating cancer.

  20. I remember my first Valentine’s Day at college and I was surprised to receive a little gift in the mail from my mom….It made me feel loved, that she remembered me even when I was “grown” and away from home. I’ve also appreciated the balance my parents have had of respecting my choices as a young adult and allowing me to grow up, but still letting me know they were there if I needed them….

    Would love this book…My son is graduating from Biola this spring and marrying and my daughter is a freshman at college and I have a slew of younger ones behind! :o)

  21. What perfect timing! If I do not win this, I shall run to Amazon faster than you know to buy it.

    My dad worked close enough to my college dorm to be a phone call away. That helped me more than I could ever anticipate that first freshman year. I felt so unprepared to be alone, in a dorm room. But, he would come for lunch, or swing by just to give me a hug after work before fighting 2 hours of traffic to get home.

    I knew I was loved, supported and could continue with the fight.

  22. My Dad is always very positive and encouraging. When I left for school he told me, “The world is your oyster!!”, In other words, I had a lot to look forward to and all I had to do was grab it with gusto! His optimism still encourages me today.

    Jill Farris

  23. I was a pretty independent kid, so my parents’ support was probably greatest in high school. They moved overseas right after dropping me off for college, and neither of us could afford international phone calls, so I was left to basically wing it myself. (They are still there, and I am still here, and thank goodness email was invented!) I didn’t have any particular role models in college, just “people” in general, and it probably toughened me up faster than if the family had been around. Now my son is nearing the end of high school, and the difference in maturity and responsibility levels between me as a senior and him as a senior is scary.

  24. I was the first to leave the nest and my parents really had a hard time accepting the fact that I was an adult. My dad is a worrier and he always projected a sense of “gloom–the sky is going to fall at any moment” on me. I slowly learned to not count on him for advice. It wasn’t that I didn’t respect his advice, he just couldn’t let go of the worry to offer sound advice. He wanted me to chose a “safe” career, to not buy a “new” car, to stay close to home and not travel. He spent many sleepless nights when my husband and I signed our first mortgage! He was more worried than we were.

    So, my oldest left this year for college and I’m trying very hard to not make the same mistakes. I don’t want him to “dread” coming home for a visit. I need the book…. 🙂

  25. More than anyone God encouraged me when I was an angst-ridden teenager. My parents couldn’t help me much as there was a lot of understanding/communication gap, so I came to depend more on God. You are right when you said praying for older children is the most important thing parents can do. My parents must have prayed a lot. I turned out fine- content and well-adjusted.

  26. Prayer,prayer.Prayer. and a ton of grace. Thank goodness for forgiveness.
    would love the book

  27. Hmm…my dad was in the hospital dying of cancer when I left for college & my relationship with my mom was in the toilet so I had to figure out a lot on my own. I would like to read this to get some ideas on how to support my own children.

  28. Honestly, Mary I wish I could say that my parents offered me great advice when I went off to college. But unfortunately they took me there, dropped me off and we said our goodbyes. I want you to know I love my parents very much but not having the Lord in our lives makes a huge difference when you are going into your adult life. I will be going into it in a few years, my oldest is 15 and frankly it is all new for both my husband and I. I am excited that God is with us and he will direct our ways. This book sounds great and I am sure Gary Chapman has some good godly wisdom. I have read some of his other books.

  29. I met my husband the July after I graduated from high school. He was a junior in college. All I ever wanted to do was get married and be a mom. I did not go to college but went straight to work after graduation. The next two years flew by as I was crazy in love. My husband asked me to marry him the December before his graduation. We lived in Alabama and he already had a job lined up a state away in Florida. My daddy was so concerned that I did not know how to cook. He insisted that I resign my job and spend the rest of the time that I had left at home taking care of the house and learning to cook. He was my biggest fan. He took care of the few bills that I had and made sure that I had spending money. I will never forget the gift of “playing house”! He gained ten pounds from sampling my new cooking skills:)

  30. My parents and I have a very rocky, unhealthy relationship that I’ve had to put healthy boundaries on. I am thankful for the Lord in my life and pray that my husband and I have a better relationship with my children. I wish I could answer your questions with a nice neat answer.. but I really hope I win the book.

  31. My parents supported me as I began my journey alone with an unexpected pregnancy. If they hadn’t, I don’t believe my path would have led me to the man I’ve been married to for 18-years. Not only is he my best friend, but he loves our two daughters with all of his heart regardless of where either of them came from- he knows they are ultimately from God!

  32. laura h. says:

    There are now two Laura’s on this blog so I added the ‘h.’ so hopefully less confusing.
    The person that helped me the most venturing out into the adult world was myself. My mother was busy earning a living trying to support younger siblings and never knew my father so very few adults to help.
    Raising my own children has been a case of trial and error and figuring out what works best for us without killing each other in the process.

  33. ginny jolin says:

    My Dad always had the greatest confidence in me and told me many times that I could be whatever I wanted. Mon told me “the door is always open” The combination has made me both independent and, when needed, able to ask for help

  34. Chrystal says:

    My mom offered words of encouragement when things were the toughest and helped me through those times while letting me work it out for myself.

  35. My parents did not try to interfere with what I was doing.
    They helped when I asked.

  36. My mom was really supportive no matter what I did. I went to college for a year , joined the Army, got married, and had a baby by the time by the time I was 21. I’m sure I worried my mother something awful during that time. I did call her every Saturday if possible during that time.

  37. Ooh! Ooh! I’m facing this in a few years. I want this book!
    Um, something helpful my mother did…she made sure I knew I was always welcome at home, no matter how far I went.

  38. I so much enjoy my mom’s advice and support and perspective on my life and family. But one wise thing she does is to consciously give her children more space when they are newlyweds. For the first year or so, she calls less, visits less, offers less advice, allowing the new family to cement on its own.

  39. Not sure if it is too late for this one, but if not count me in. My in-laws have not done a good job with this and I want to do a better job with my kids and my oldest is already 14, it doesn’t hurt to start learning now. 🙂

  40. I “entered the world” in a very dark time in my life with little to no support. However, God is all about REDEMPTION!!!! 🙂 I have wanted so much different for my kids. He has done a beautiful work. And now we’re JUST entering this new season. I wans SO much to learn!!!! how best I can serve my adult kids through prayer, relationship, etc. Excited about this book!!

    • You speak of a very dark time in your life, however Thank God you found the light. “The light of the world is Jesus” Now make memories for your kids. I can’t say enough how much it meant to me what my mother and father gave to me. I am lucky enough to still have my mother even though we live in different states. I know to enjoy every minute I have her because we are not promised tomorrow. Make every minute count with your kids too.
      They will need to know you love them unconditionally and to know God. Love them…share God…and make memories!!!

  41. When I became an adult my parents gave me their encouragement and financial support in the entrepreneurial business and ministry endeavors that I pursued. Some of these opportunities worked out well, others didn’t, but my parents were encouraging the whole time.

  42. My parents were still children (lol) when I graduated from high school! My mom was only 35 and my dad 37, LOL. But they were so busy growing up themselves that sometimes I joke that we grew up together. They gave me a strict curfew (my dad was a cop), but for day-to-day choices they pretty much left me to make them. They didn’t ask me if I had done my homework or where I was going, but I was expected to do my homework and keep them informed about where I was at all times. I was responsible enough to go to my band rehearsals on time, make all the meetings for the clubs I was in, drive myself here and there and even come home for lunch every day (we had an open campus, what a concept!).

    I would have liked more information about sex, getting along with boys, how to say no, things like that, but my mom was not open about things like that. She only told me when I was about to go to college that she was pregnant when they got married, LOL! And I couldn’t really ask her, we didn’t talk about those things, and I try to be more open with my boys about that.

  43. How to love adult kids? Well I have 8 grandchildren now and am wondering why we just didn’t skip the heartaches of raising kids and go straight to loving grandkids! Just kidding there are memory’s I would not have wanted to miss. It’s just easier loving without the other responsibilities. There is a time and place for everything in its own time and there is a time for letting adult kids grow up and just love them. There is also a different way to show that love depending on where they are in life. No matter where they are in life letting them know they are loved will give them the strength they need to face whatever point they are at in their life. I know from losing my father that knowing I was loved helps me through hard times now even though I still can’t talk about losing him without tearing up. I hope to pass that knowledge of love to my children so that it will one day help them through difficult times when they must live with memories and know for sure without a doubt that they where loved.
    The most important thing to leave adult children is to know they are loved are memories. There will be times when those memories will be what keeps them sane in hard times. Life is in cycles and the greatest gift is memories to help them hold on when you are no longer there. They will never be to old to know for sure that they were loved.