Launching Young Adults
Launching Young Adults
After years of saying “When I grow up, I’m gonna be…”, there comes a point in which your children start going through the steps of actually making it happen. Dr. James Dobson calls ages 16 to 26 the “critical decade” as young people transition from childhood to an adult. We have all heard the phrase “failure to launch” describing young men and women who do not make that transition for one reason or another. Unfortunately, more and more parents are inadvertently keeping their children from growing up by protecting them from the risks necessary to adulthood. How can you be intentional about successfully launching your older children?
STEP ONE: Be a Good Coach
As the parent of a teen on the verge of adulthood, you are in the prime of the coaching years. You can motivate, encourage, challenge and advise, but you cannot force feed. You can help your son or daughter articulate what they believe, challenge their thinking, and remind them of the “basics” they learned during their earlier years, but the time has come for them to truly own their beliefs. Through that process, you can provide a safe environment to wrestle with and even question the values they learned as children. The key to your influence at this point is in maintaining a strong relationship and frequent, open dialogue.
STEP TWO: Give Perspective Amid Their Big Questions
In the midst of the practical advice parents may offer on setting goals, choosing a job, finding a spouse, and so forth, we must also elevate God’s principles.
- Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
- Lose your life to find it (Luke 9:23-24).
- Number your days aright (Psalm 90:12).
- Seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).
STEP THREE: Give a Vision for Marriage and Family
Parents today often go to extremes to help their children get ready for college and the workforce but do not know exactly what they can do when it comes to preparing them for the more important work of marriage and family. While a small minority will be called to life-long celibate service, most are called to marriage and family (Genesis 2:18-24). We sometimes overlook how much marriage and family serve as the organizing structure of life and the prime arena for our spiritual development. Even if the culture discourages you from taking an active role in this transition, you have a vital part to play in helping your children “leave and cleave”. Actively modeling a Christian family is the foundation. Daily prayer for your child’s future spouse and children is an important commitment. Our highly sexualized and anti-marriage culture also makes it essential that you provide guidance and oversight to help your children form strong families as a key emphasis of their launch into adulthood.
Life on the Edge
By Dr. James Dobson
As a young adult, you will face crucial questions about identity, education, marriage, career, God's will, and much more. Some of the most dramatic and permanent changes in life will occur during the “critical decade”—those ten years between 16 and 26. Are you prepared to make the right choices? You can be. Like a trusted friend who understands, Dr. James Dobson candidly addresses the issues that today's young adults face. In his warm, conversational style, he reveals principles to help you make right choices and get the direction you need in order to look forward to a bright and successful future.