Adult Children and Their Parents

Janet Aucoin November 4, 2022

This episode, we tackle one of our most requested topics: navigating the relationship between adult children and parents. As children grow up and leave the home, the relationship between child and parent changes and develops in ways that can be difficult to navigate with grace and wisdom.

Today, Janet and Jocelyn offer biblical guidance and wisdom on practical ways that both adult parents and their children can build healthy boundaries and foster a respectful, loving relationship that honors the Lord.

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Episode Transcript


In-Laws - Wayne Mack


I’m a Parent How Can I Let Go of My Adult Children - Got Questions


Parenting Part 1: Foundations - Joyful Journey

Parenting 2: Bring Them Up - Joyful Journey

Parenting 3: Special Needs - Joyful Journey

Purpose: Creation Mandate - Joyful Journey


Jocelyn: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.

Janet: I just want to make it as totally simple as possible for ladies to see that the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.

Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.

Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy.

Janet: Okay, welcome back each of you. This is Janet and I'm here once again with Jocelyn.

Jocelyn: Hi there.

Janet: And today we're gonna dive into a topic that is practical and at least very relevant to my life in this season. I'm learning how to transition to life with adult children. And while it's wonderful, it's got its challenges. So today we're gonna talk about that. Jocelyn, I know you're not quite there yet, but with one in college and one soon to graduate, you're headed that direction. What are some questions or thoughts you have about entering this new chapter?

Jocelyn: Oh, you know, not much. I'd like to know everything.

Janet: Oh, is that all?

Jocelyn: So I don't make mistakes.

Janet: Oh yeah because you won't make any.

Jocelyn: That's what I'm hoping for. I feel like I'm finally authorized to give birth to my children now that they're almost raised and I know what I'm doing. I told them that the other day they were like, oh mom, you are just so strange. I would love to transition into the adult years making way less mistakes than I did when I was a new mom. I feel like I was not a great new mom I'd also like to know how to guide them through college without taking over because I tend to.

Janet: No way!

Jocelyn: How to encourage their friendships with other believers without worrying so much because I tend to. How to help them both get married and buy a house and ease into their careers and you know, not get fired from their jobs or pass their exams with flying colors. Get scholarships, end up with grandchildren who adores and wanna spend time with us. You know, nothing too important. Just tiny pointers.

Janet: Absolutely. I see just a little touch up there. If nothing else, I hope our listeners are encouraged that you're saying you felt like you were a horrible new mom and you're just now getting to where you think you should have children, and they're just about raised and they love Jesus.

Jocelyn: They do.

Janet: Isn't that awesome?

Jocelyn: It's shocking that something so great could come out of our horrible efforts.

Janet: We serve a big God.

Jocelyn: Oh, we do.

Janet: Well, I'm gonna share with you how to not make any mistakes. The problem with that is that my daughter's producing this and she knows better. So I guess I can't quite go there.

Jocelyn: We should have giving her a mic today.

Janet: There's a reason I didn't get a third mic out today. So what I thought actually would be helpful is let's just first think theologically, then I thought after doing that, I kind of wanted to talk to the parent and the adult child in some specific ways. So theologically what's actually going on here. Well, as parents we've been tasked with the great privilege and responsibility of bringing up our beautiful children in the knowledge and discipline of the Lord. And that has taken up a lot of our brain space.

Jocelyn: Yes. A lot.

Janet: For a lot of years.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So we're not here to talk about parenting, but we do have a three part series on that which could encourage you and we'll link that in the show notes. But for today, the relevance is how do I transition out of that role when I've been doing that for so long?

Jocelyn: I really can't wait to hear your thoughts on this because I remember when you were starting to transition out of this and Pastor Aucoin one day said in a sermon, I didn't realize there was gonna be so much crying this year of Josh's senior year of high school.

Janet: And it was mostly me.

Jocelyn: I can't wait to hear all the wisdom that you've gained in the last, whatever that is five years, four years.

Janet: And all the water I had to drink since I was dehydrated from crying, but that's okay. So as I'm transitioning out of that, what are now my responsibilities for my adult children? What's my new role? 'Cause there is one. So after that, start tackling some of the complexities of that, but let's just start acknowledging it does change.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Actually I think that's an important thing because for some parents they don't change and that's going to be a problem.

Jocelyn: And I think that's what makes it complicated. If you don't know that it's supposed to be different, well, you're just gonna keep on trying to do the same thing and it's gonna be irritating.

Janet: For everyone.

Jocelyn: And troublesome.

Janet: Yes. Yes. And both sides before the transition really ought to be preparing for it. So in general, the relationship is gonna continue to be rooted in love, but now it is not grounded in authority, which is a big change. When my children headed to college, as you've just mentioned, that was a big change for me. We homeschooled until 11th grade and we spent a lot of time together. I had poured into guiding and advising them and that was good and right. That was my job. But I didn't make that transition easily. If you think about it, I have so many helpful ideas and if only they would listen to me.

Jocelyn: All of them.

Janet: Yes. Well, they're all good. And if they would listen to me, they wouldn't experience hard things. And I read about the concept now that your kids are grown, you get to become their cheerleader. And I thought, oh, I love that idea, but that did not come naturally to me, and it still doesn't. I'll give you examples of that later. Stop smiling, my daughter. Okay. Anyway.

Jocelyn: You may have to turn your face over there.

Janet: Now I need to be thinking about how to love an adult and encourage their growth just as I would anyone I love. For some, it means you focus on the fact that they're now your brother and sister in Christ and not also your child that you have authority over.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Then I can read the one another in scripture and I can see how that should look with my adult, believing children. If they're not believers, either the adult child, or the parent, it's still gonna be a relationship of love and influence. It's just not one of authority.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Now there is a uniqueness. I just said that they're like a brother and sister in Christ, but there are some uniquenesses to that. For example, 1 Timothy 5:8 says, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for his immediate family, he's denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." So clearly someone had a responsibility for their immediate family that was more than brother or sister in Christ.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Mark 7:11 says, " But you say that, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever help you might have otherwise received from me is Corban"' that is, a gift devoted to God. Then you no longer let him do anything for his father and mother, thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you've handed down. And you do many things like that." So Jesus is telling them, you now actually have a tradition that you've made law to tell an adult child how they can keep their stuff and not take care of their parents and that that's wrong.

Jocelyn: So there is responsibility?

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: In adulthood, towards your parents.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: 1 Timothy 5:3 says, "Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these children or grandchildren) should learn first of all, to put their religion into practice, by caring for their own family. And so repaying their parents and grandparents for this is pleasing to God." So when children are younger, their parents are responsible to provide for them. When they're adults, they are to ensure that their parents are provided for. So that distinction remains. So we can acknowledge that there is an additional way that parents and children do have a responsibility for each other.

Jocelyn: And a lot of that is who is going to take care of who.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: God designed relationships so that people are cared for.

Janet: And this is a special caring relationship.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Yes, but in general, the relationship between parents and their adult children is designed to be one of mutual now, encouragement and love, not authority and submission or control and obedience.

Jocelyn: Which I actually think is really fun. As my older daughter is getting into college, it's fun to be her friend.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: 'Cause I'm not feeling so stressed out about like, you know, I have so many problems that I need to address and all the parenting kind of stuff like. It's so cool. You get to enjoy the fruit of all that labor. Like I like hanging out with her. She's pretty cool. She likes to do fun things and we have great conversations. Like grown up conversations are the best. I love them.

Janet: Yes. I just got to spend a weekend recently with my daughter, as we worked together for a booth for our church, and it was so much fun until there's, which didn't happen at the conference, but until there's this moment when they might do something you don't think's best.

Jocelyn: Yeah. And then what do you do?

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: How do you handle it?

Janet: How do I not go back to mama mode? So that's what we'll be talking about. When I was preparing for this, I was greatly helped by a booklet that Wayne Mack wrote called, In-laws. I know this is not about married children specifically, but the principles were the same, basically, as you're getting married and leaving, what does that look like? And listen to how he describes his relationship with his adult son. I just loved how he said this. Our youngest son was a pastor in the United States for a number of years and is now a pastor missionary in South Africa along with us. In both places, we spend much time with him and his family and share in Christian ministry. Often when he has a big decision to make he and his wife will come to us and ask for our council. And in most cases, when we have major decisions to make, we turn to him and our other children for input and insight. We ask him and his wife to pray for us and seek their wisdom as we make decisions. We respect him greatly and we've received much benefit from him as he presents to us various principles found in God's word. When we're wrestling with an issue after my wife and I have discussed and prayed about it, we turn to our son and his wife for their counsel, instruction, and even correction. We relate to each other as peers because now he's no longer under our authority.

Jocelyn: That's really cool.

Janet: Isn't that cool?

Jocelyn: Yeah. Very beautiful.

Janet: And I'm like, I want that. I want that, but there are challenges to getting there. I mean, I wanna talk specifically to the parents first and then I'll talk to the adult children about what some of the challenges are. I have obviously been an adult child and I am now the parent going through it on this end. So parents, you have spent years investing, guiding, requiring obedience, controlling some aspects of your child's life. And now you're in a new chapter. They don't need your permission to make decisions and they don't need to make decisions that you would make. And that's hard.

Jocelyn: That is tough.

Janet: It is. Yeah. It's appropriate to acknowledge that it's hard. I would really encourage you to take some time to grieve the end of a great chapter. I loved when someone said that to me and I thought, that's good, it's not that I'm sad that my kids are in college. I'm not sad now that they're out of college and working, I love where they are. Are there things I miss?

Jocelyn: Yeah, definitely.

Janet: Can I grieve that?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yes. And it doesn't mean I'm not happy about where things are. It's good, and right, that you miss that closeness, but I will tell you this, I promise you that this new season can be just as sweet and that still doesn't mean there's nothing to grieve.

Jocelyn: I think that's really lovely to know that we have permission to say it was such a beautiful time of life and I loved it.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And I'm sad that it's over while I'm excited for this new part of life.

Janet: Yes. 'Cause you feel like you have to choose.

Jocelyn: Right. You can be both.

Janet: And it's both. I can take that to the Lord and I know He completely understands it all.

Jocelyn: Totally. Yeah.

Janet: In addition, sometimes an empty nest begins to expose a lack of closeness we have with our spouse that we didn't know was there and now there's some additional pain.

Jocelyn: Which is good to realize.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Super good to realize.

Janet: So now, if that's true in your case, take that opportunity, that challenge to work at deepening that relationship, instead of doing what I see parents do, clamoring for that closeness, with your now adult child.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Don't go to them, but you can lament that now you're lonely and you can begin working on the relationship God did give you. I remember when we were over our college ministry at church for several years and I would meet with the different girls and several of them struggled with the fact that their moms would call all the time this was before you could track them on your phone and know where they were every moment of the day. I'm sure they would've done that.

Jocelyn: Now they don't need to call.

Janet: Yeah, I know where you are, but before they could do that, they would be calling all the time. They wanna know where they are and then they would be hurt if their daughter didn't call them as often as the mom wanted and all of those things. And I remember them coming to me irritated with their moms. And I talked to them about the fact that, you know, what it's possible that your mom is afraid of losing you now, and she's afraid of you not being part of her life.

Jocelyn: Or she's sad and she misses you.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like there's so many emotions that the mom is going through.

Janet: Yes, and the temptation for the college girl is to not call her. Well, what that will do is make it easier for the mom to clamor more. And so I would tell her, why don't you call when she has not ever called you? You do that a few times and maybe she'll know.

Jocelyn: You still love her.

Janet: It's not gonna be, I'll never speak to her again, unless I call every five minutes. But that's a big thing from the parents' perspective, they need to think through that. And they need to think through the fact that it is gonna be different, and be prepared to not clamor after their child to have what they had before. And if you're not sure if you're clamoring, think about whether or not you're operating outta fear. We fear that they're not gonna wanna be around us if they don't need us, so now we wanna find a way that they need us.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Make them need us.

Janet: Maybe I'll pay for everything.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So they need me and then they have to talk to me. We fear they're gonna make bad choices, or can we at least be honest, different choices from us.

Jocelyn: But that is honestly difficult to know that your kid is gonna be making choices on their own and reaping the consequences.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And you do wanna protect them from some of the hard stuff.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: That could come with hard choices.

Janet: Yep. And yet isn't that where we all learn.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Yeah.

Janet: But it's so hard. It's so hard. We fear what's gonna happen when we're not guiding them or controlling things for them. And we have to realize if we're living in fear, that's the opposite of living by faith. I'm gonna link an article from Got Questions on letting go that I thought was really helpful in that area. So that'll be in our show notes.

Jocelyn: That'll be helpful.

Janet: So parents, take that fear as well to the One who loves your precious children more than you do. I will tell you my prayer life has increased in importance as the facade of control over my children has fallen away, which is a good place to be,

Jocelyn: Which we've talked about in other episodes too. Like one of the best ways our kids learn is by having to walk through hard stuff themselves.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And when we, you know, harbor them from not having to deal with hard stuff, what we're really doing is protecting them from having to grow.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Which is difficult.

Janet: We hamstring their growth.

Jocelyn: Right. It's difficult. We want them to just love Jesus without having gone through the difficult stuff that makes you need to love Jesus.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And clinging tightly to Him.

Janet: And it's good that we don't want them to hurt.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: It's a lack of faith and living by fear to not trust the One who might allow the hurt.

Jocelyn: And to trust the One who designed the process to look like this.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: He includes suffering in our walk.

Janet: So, what do you think are some indicators that we're moving into operating out of fear?

Jocelyn: Well, for me personally, and I know everyone is different, I can foresee me fretting. I wouldn't like vocalize, I am, sinfully worrying right now, but I'm thinking a lot about it.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: I'm just like pondering it, hoping that it doesn't turn out a certain way or like checking my shared map often to see.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Where they are. Like, not that I need to be like hovering over them, but I just wanna make sure they're like, not dead in the middle of a river somewhere or something. Like maybe asking questions that are none of my business. A big one for me would be bossing them around, especially when they're not asking for input. It's different when they're saying, what are your thoughts on this? You know, but just like telling 'em you should do this. Telling them what they should do, kind of like I'm older and wiser and you should listen to me, but really I just wanna boss them around.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Truly. And like, Trying to control them or making sure that they for, especially for me, making sure they do what I think is wisest, which I also do with my husband too. Like I tend to be like, well, obviously this is the best choice. Why are we not making the best choice? When, you know, none of a business.

Janet: And you know what? I know this is shocking. We might be wrong.

Jocelyn: I know that that is very unlikely.

Janet: Maybe possible and I like how you said, you know, almost like we're advising them, but if they're wise, they'll listen to us.

Jocelyn: Yeah. Obviously.

Janet: Because we know we don't have authority.

Jocelyn: I have lived much longer than you

Janet: Basically, you're an idiot if you don't do it.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: You know, do what you want. You're an adult. What in the world? Okay. There would be some indicators. So nagging them. With Josh, I can remember when he was a freshman in college. Josh and I have always been very close. If you listen to the podcast, you heard him several months on our podcast and we have always been really close. When he was a freshman in college, he stayed living at home I struggled to make the transition. My son enjoys the journey, whatever he's doing. I am focused on the destination so that would be just a short way to describe how we are different. So if there's something that needs to be done, I've written it on a list and I've probably already done it. Josh has said, I can do that later. So when I'm watching that and he's now got more responsibilities and he's in college and this is coming up and he's on this committee and he's doing this.

Jocelyn: And more consequences, if you don't do the right thing.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And I'm just watching, but no, I'm not just watching, I'm nagging. I would not have used those words because I was advising and giving counsel on what would be wisest.

Jocelyn: Obviously.

Janet: That he's not doing.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But I did it with enough frequency that my very respectful, kind son looked at me and said, you know, mom I've always wanted to live here and I never thought I would be in a hurry to move out, but I am beginning to wonder if what would be best for our relationship to remain good is for me to leave.

Jocelyn: That would be hard.

Janet: That's a knife through the heart and he was not being disrespectful. He was recognizing if this goes on, it's gonna be bad. And so I said to him, you know, If what's best for you is to move out at whatever point that is, I will support it, and I will make it easy for you and I'll help. But if the reason you're moving out is because I can't learn to shut my mouth, then I am telling you I'm committed to working on that because that's wrong.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And he very kindly said, and we both know that if I didn't procrastinate, you wouldn't be so tempted. And I'm like, and regardless.

Jocelyn: It's nice that you both could own it.

Janet: So we could just kind of talk about it. Since that point, and he didn't move out until he got married, which was really sweet, except for a short stint, when he had a free place to live, he left for a while. But otherwise he saved money until he got married. And it was a really sweet time because we were honest about that. But, you know, it was, my nagging was to the point that he was thinking, I'm gonna have to go.

Jocelyn: Wow. That would be hard. That would be hard thing to work through.

Janet: That was, but be humble is what I would say. So there's an evidence. What we tend to do is go well, I'm just giving you advice. I've been around longer. I don't know how many ways to say this to parents, don't try to rationalize it. Just own it.

Jocelyn: And especially, if you were to question, am I being humble? I don't know that we could give the kind of advice the way that we do and say, and this is what it looks like to be humble.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: To not assume that I know what's best in this situation.

Janet: So that would be one indicator, wanting to know where they are all the time. Now have house rules, if you don't want them to come in at three in the morning.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Without telling you.

Jocelyn: That's reasonable. That's reasonable to expect.

Janet: Just talk about that.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So talk about that stuff, but you don't need to know where they are all the time. Calling them frequently, and let's be honest, maybe making them feel a little bad if they don't call you all the time. Wow. I call you all the time. I haven't heard from you in a while unless, you know, you need money. Do we say those things? Do we give unsolicited advice? A big one for me. Are we trying to ensure that they don't have to face hard consequences? I still remember. I've told you what I love about my son, and honestly, he does enjoy the journey and I miss the journey half the time so I need him in my life, but he is not in a hurry. Here's what I know, it's the EZ form. It's not that hard to do your taxes, and I'm telling Brent, I did remind him a couple times because I thought, you know, it's his first time doing them on his own because normally we did them together. So he learned. So I said to Brent, he still hasn't done them and he's like, you have talked to him. You are not gonna say.

Jocelyn: You've reminded him. Yeah.

Janet: It is April 14th. Literally April 14th. And I said to Brent, if he doesn't have those in, by midnight, he's gonna pay a penalty, and there's like no reason to pay a penalty. And he looked at me and said, and you're not gonna say anything.

Jocelyn: It's good that God gave you Brent.

Janet: I know. And I was like, okay. And you know what? They were done. Josh was fine. He was not stressed. He got it done. He didn't do it the way I would do it. But he did it.

Jocelyn: Which doesn't make it wrong. There is a deadline for a reason.

Janet: And he did it by the deadline.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: You know, so I'm like, it's not how I would do it because I would stress out by waiting till the last minute.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: I stressed out because he waited till the last minute.

Jocelyn: I stress out if it's done after January 31st.

Janet: But he doesn't have to be like me. So trying to ensure that they don't have to face consequences can be different.

Jocelyn: Do you know what something to think about is how did we learn to have the schedules that we do? I learned to have the schedules that I do with paying bills by not doing it well, when we first got married and getting penalties.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And those penalties are what made me vow to never do it that way again, so it's not like I've always been this wonderfully on top of things,

Janet: organized person.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Right. And you know, to his credit, he's always gotten them done on time, and what I've learned is I don't even ask if he's done them.

Jocelyn: Because now it's not your responsibility at all.

Janet: No. And that is very freeing.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And he's doing, really well with his responsibilities. He just does them differently than I do.

Jocelyn: And especially now that he's married as he and his wife, you know, weave a new life together, the way that you think about it really is not part of the question.

Janet: Exactly. It's almost irrelevant.

Jocelyn: Yeah. It's completely irrelevant. So many things become irrelevant.

Janet: So how do we begin to operate differently? How do I need to think differently? First, I have to remember their God's children that He gave us the privilege to raise for Him, not for us.

Jocelyn: Oh, that's a good point.

Janet: So I'm raising them for God. I'm not raising them for me, so they don't need to turn out like me.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: We need to talk openly about how we're all working toward this new relationship and which is what we did. And I'm so thankful for the patience that Josh and Karis, both of my adult children, have given me as I've gotten used to my new role. And honestly it took all the tension out when we were honest about it. When I am like giving unsolicited counsel before we kind of, if we're not really talking about it, you see like they're battling it. They wanna be respectful, but it's like, I didn't even really ask and it's okay. But when now that actually what happens at the dinner table, if something comes up and I begin to share, Brent usually says, they didn't ask your opinion, and then I go, oh, my word, I was giving it again and everybody laughs and then I say.

Jocelyn: Tension is gone.

Janet: Yes, and then I say, actually, I would just like to hear whatever you have to say, and then when they're done, usually they say, mom, do you have any thoughts? Yes. Yes. Thank you for asking. I have so many and now we're all just laughing and there's no tension, but how different it would be, if I said what, I didn't do anything wrong. I'm just talking.

Jocelyn: I'm just loving you. And one of the ways that we have done this is by talking about who pays for what, which is such a small thing in the big scheme of thing, but like, okay, if I want this special shampoo, is this a me purchase or a mom and dad purchase, and it's been helpful just to say, we're gonna talk about it and we're gonna come to a conclusion and I still have kids that are under my authority to some extent because I'm paying for stuff for them. But it is helpful to be able to have those conversations and say, we've already decided that we're not gonna get upset about it. We just need to communicate about what the plan is.

Janet: Yep. And I think it's important to realize I've never had adult children and they've never been adult children. It's okay that we're not that great at it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: We'll figure it out together if we're humble, and for our family, that also just means being able to laugh about it and it just takes the tension out of it.

Jocelyn: Which is such a great lesson for all of life. Remember when you and Brent first got married, like you had also never been married before.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: You had so many decisions to make, and you'd never done this before. When you had first had kids, you'd never had kids before, so it's just helpful to say like we're at this place of transition that we've never been at before, and we've never done it before and so we're figuring it out as we go and it's totally okay.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: We're gonna communicate through it.

Janet: And if we're humble, it'll be awesome.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: But difficult. If they're still at home, I would encourage you really, really clarify expectations and timelines. When our daughter graduated from college recently, she moved back home for several months to save up and think through what she was gonna do next as far as an apartment. We were really excited to have her back, but we also knew it needed to be different.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And we wanted to set it up for success.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Brent and I even talked about before she came back, okay, wouldn't it be so sad if she came back and it was just tension because she's thinking, we're asking too much.

Jocelyn: It's going to go a certain way.

Janet: Whatever. So, we wrote out, which we had never done, while we'd never had an opportunity, we'd never done this before. We wrote out our expectations and a timeline for how long we planned on her staying, and that way, if she saw it differently, we could talk about that up front before she even moved in. If she's like, I don't know that that's realistic, let's talk about it. Otherwise we're not having different expectations.

Jocelyn: We did that same thing with our oldest daughter too. Like we just drew a housing agreement that says here's what we are imagining this will look like. Here's what we're imagining we'll provide from our side. Here's what we're imagining you will provide from your side. Here are the basic standards of living in our home. Our goal is that our children can benefit from free housing as long as possible.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: But we also don't want them to have to operate like their little kids anymore.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: But it was in writing and we refer to it from time to time just because I need to remember what I said I would do, and they need to remember what they said they would do. It's just really helpful.

Janet: It's helpful.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yeah. We're not gonna just assume we'll figure it out. There is a degree of that with communicating, but whatever we can do up front, you know, what if we expected her to contribute financially.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: And she didn't know that. What if we expected her to help in certain ways around the house? And she's thinking I rented a room, I don't need to do that. Do we have any spiritual expectations while she's in the home? So that was really helpful, and I think that may have been part of why the return home, I didn't think was tense and we really enjoyed her time.

Jocelyn: And I think...

Janet: It was fun.

Jocelyn: Like so many other kind of transition times in life, if you have unrealistic expectations, especially unspoken, unrealistic expectations, you just you're building trouble for yourself because how would that person know that you expected that thing.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Unless you communicated through it, and also, they agreed to it.

Janet: And I think sometimes you don't even know you have them. So writing them out, you kind of learn, oh yeah, I guess I did kind of assume you'd do that. So it was very helpful.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: If they're married, parents make sure you honor, leave, and cleave. Encourage the fact that they're talking to each other and not you about their decisions.

Jocelyn: And I also think I ran into a little trouble with this early in our marriage. Like I would go to my parents for advice instead of Brian or Brian would go to his parents for advice.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Instead of me. And what would've been helpful if our parents said, have you asked Brian his thoughts?

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Or if Brian's parents said, have you asked Jocelyn your thoughts? To build that expectation. Like when you got married, the time of talking to us first is now over.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And you're one with someone else. Your life should be different than ours, and we expect it to be different. Like we're not gonna be all weirded out, if you are building a life that looks different than ours.

Janet: And what I love about that is you could, as a parent say, well, they asked, so I answered.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But if you really wanna love your child, you will help them learn a new habit. So if they're wise, I would say to the adult child, don't ask your parents first, talk to your spouse, but they're just learning too. So one way you, as a parent, get to help them is to say.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Have you talked to your spouse? What do they think?

Jocelyn: They're setting the stage for a marriage that's gonna get stronger and stronger.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And more and more unified.

Janet: You know, I had a good friend of mine when my son was getting married, my daughter's not married yet, but she is an adult on her own so actually the rule applies here too, but she said, have you heard about the duct tape rule? And I said, I dunno what you're talking about. And she's like, oh no, when they get married, duct tape goes over your mouth and from then on it only comes off if they ask or the subject matter or the topic is so important you're willing to rip duct tape off your face to say it. And that's so good.

Jocelyn: That's very picturesque.

Janet: Yes, because you think, okay, if I watch them heading toward destruction, I'm ripping the duct tape off and I'm saying something. I'd say it to any friend.

Jocelyn: Right because you care.

Janet: I would say that to anyone.

Jocelyn: You would never let someone walk off a cliff.

Janet: So you don't just go, I'm not gonna say anything, but you think is this important enough to rip duct tape off my mouth? So we started joking about that even with his in-laws who are also friends of ours. Things will happen and we're like duct tape. Not ours, duct tape. So that was helpful. So wait until you're asked, married or not. If you wanna make it easy for them to talk to you, grow in listening, and not giving your opinion unless you're asked. And I can only say again, my kids have been gracious. I'm a slow learner on this one, but I'm trying.

Jocelyn: And on this topic, I'll say, some families might tend to the other side where the children ask you too much.

Janet: And we're gonna talk about that.

Jocelyn: And I think that the other side of that is just as true like the parents can say, this is something that you're capable of thinking through. What do you think you should do about this?

Janet: Yes. If you are thinking that there's something that would be really helpful for you to share, because you do love them, ask their permission. I don't believe you have a right to share. So to say, I'm your mom.

Jocelyn: You better listen.

Janet: So you better listen to me. Now it's, hey, would you mind if I shared with you some ideas from when I went through that? Ask, and then respectfully share your ideas because you think it would be helpful.

Jocelyn: So have you ever asked permission and they said no?

Janet: I have not, but I will tell you, I do the very same thing when people say things to me, especially just in general, say things that I know are not true, not even my own kids, I learned I don't correct people. I say would you want me to share with you my perspective? And if I ask their permission, I've never had anyone say no, but they're always more willing to hear it.

Jocelyn: That's great advice.

Janet: Because I was respectful. I didn't just act like excuse me, I have something to say right now.

Jocelyn: And if you're all bossy and, you know, punchy, they're gonna get automatically defensive anyways.

Janet: Absolutely. And I think it changes how I share it if I've asked.

Jocelyn: Yeah. True.

Janet: Even for me.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I'm not as bossy in how I share it, if I ask permission.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Then if they do ask your advice, be cautious about leading with your opinion and that's really hard for us as parents. Yes, they're asking, let me share, download all my thoughts and wisdom on this, because I want you to know, because I love you, but what you really wanna do is help them think about how they can think through options. You wanna help them grow, not.

Jocelyn: Not to spoon feed them answers. Yeah.

Janet: And that's a temptation. They're now in a place to start applying all the years you spent pouring into them, and like you just said, Jocelyn, they may be tempted to look to you when they could do it themselves.

Jocelyn: That is something that we say in our house is what do you think you should do about this? Because I really want to watch them logically think through that decision.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And if there's a problem with their logic, I'd rather address how they came to that conclusion than just make sure they're always getting the right conclusion.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Because some of the things they have to think through are pretty hard.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And I do, I really, you know, some of the situations our kids are facing are very theologically challenging, and I wanna help them think through how they got to that decision.

Janet: Right. It's a lot more time and it's not only time, but there is a willingness to not share your opinion. And that's really hard. You know, I remember being at a parenting conference, I don't even know a while ago, and while my husband's up teaching and I'm sitting there waiting, I get a text from my son saying, you available to talk? So I texted back. Yes, I was texting while my husband was teaching.

Jocelyn: That's okay.

Janet: That's what was happening. And I texted back and said at a parenting conference, we'll be in the car later tonight, if you wanna talk. Next text, do you get any breaks? I thought what in the world?

Jocelyn: It's urgent.

Janet: I'm like gimme a few minutes. So there was a break so I texted and I'm like, I have like 10 minutes, is there something? We'll call.

Jocelyn: Oh, wow. It is urgent.

Janet: So, he and his wife called and I was so grateful. They were thinking through a decision that was kind of timebound. So it wasn't like someones about to die.

Jocelyn: Urgent- urgent.

Janet: Yeah, but it was a timebound decision and they said, here's what we're trying to think through. we're not sure what to do, so we decided we would call and ask you. Well, I have to tell you as is always, probably always is not a word you're supposed to use, but I think I can even use it here. I have an opinion.

Jocelyn: Shocking.

Janet: And I know, and I know what I would do. And I thought maybe was clearly the grace of God. Maybe it's also because I was at a parenting conference where we're teaching parenting.

Jocelyn: You've been thinking about it.

Janet: I did not say what I thought, but what I said is, well, in situations like that, here are some ways to think through that and knowing and because they have graciously been very open about their own idolatries, we all know each others.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Where we struggle. Knowing your own idolatries, the first thing I would say is how is your idolatry making this decision harder? So think through that, talk about that. If you get that outta the way, then here are the ways I look at that it's not just what's, you know, what's wisest. So anyway, all the questions and they were like, okay, okay, and then I prayed for them and I got off the phone without knowing what they were gonna do.

Jocelyn: Isn't it interesting that that's basically how you would've counseled any person who came to receive counseling from you that wasn't a family member?

Janet: Oh, that's interesting.

Jocelyn: Yeah, you're counseling. You're not building a bunch of Janet disciples. You're building a bunch of Jesus disciples.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: And so you're essentially doing with them what you would've done with anyone and it didn't matter if they did it your way.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Because you were helping them to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, not you.

Janet: And it can feel different because it's my child, but the reality is it is the same. It's just because I know them better, I had the privilege of them calling me. And it was really cool because then right after that we did a Q and A time and they were asking questions about adult children and I was like...

Jocelyn: Well, here's something that just happened.

Janet: Yeah, and Brent is very sweet and he said, Janet talked to them all growing up, and because she did that so much, they still talk to her. And I said, I was actually talking on a break and it was very sweet, but my temptation is to tell them what I think they should do, and as parents, even when they ask you what they should do, I would say after you've said, what does your spouse think? Of course, they were on the phone together then it would be, let's think through these principles.

Jocelyn: Think through the process. Yeah, in essence, you're making them stronger decision makers because they're making the decisions themself.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: You're not just spoonfeeding what they should do.

Janet: Right. And I would say, as I mentioned earlier, concentrate on being a cheerleader. I have actually said as a counselor in the past, why do I always have to be the one that tells everybody the hard things, all the things they don't wanna hear, Janet, who one of my idolatries is people pleasing. And I get to always tell people, oh, by the way, you need to repent, dude. Like, why do I have to be that person? And I've even said to Brent, why can't I be the cheerleader? And then I found out it's really hard to be the cheerleader. That's harder than I thought. But I need to look for ways to do that. I need to make it easy for them to make their own different choices like traditions.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I don't need to say, oh, you're not gonna do that the way we always did. I don't need to say that. I need to say that's cool.

Jocelyn: Especially when a certain tradition was really precious to you.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: You know, like if you've always done your Christmas a certain way, like, oh, why would you not want your grown kids to do the same thing? Because it would be so cool.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: But they're gonna have different, cool stuff.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: And different cherished memories.

Janet: Yep. Ask God for grace not to pressure them. You know, little things. Maybe you don't drink at all, and now they have a glass of wine occasionally. What are you gonna do about that? Unless it's a sin, is it a reason to take the duct tape off? How important is that? Instead major on the majors and I will tell you as a parent, it all feels like it's major at first.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because where this could go, this could be the slippery slope to whatever, you know, it's scary to see them make different choices. So I would say, as you're learning this new role, when in doubt, don't say anything, unless there's a train coming at them nothing has to be said immediately. You can pray, talk to somebody who sees things a little more clearly, and then decide if it's in a subject that you need to approach.

Jocelyn: So what if it was a sin issue, like you see them about to make a sinful choice? How does that differ on that? Is a sin choice a major thing that you would address quickly?

Janet: Well, and I think it would depend on, take the fact that they're your child out of it.

Jocelyn: Oh yeah, I would address that with anyone.

Janet: Right.

Jocelyn: Because if I see someone about to cheat on his spouse, I'm not gonna wait on that one.

Janet: That's right.

Jocelyn: That's not wait worthy. That's like.

Janet: The damage will be done.

Jocelyn: I see you.

Janet: And I could maybe prevent something.

Jocelyn: Right. Okay, cool.

Janet: Enjoy becoming respected friends and focus on building that kind of relationship. Listen to these verses and just think about how you and your adult children can develop this. John 13: 34 & 35, "A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another by this. All people will know that you're my disciples, if you have love for one another." 1 Peter 3:8, "Finally, all of you have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind." Philippians 2:1-4, "So if there's any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love being in full accord of one mind, do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, count others more significant than your. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others." That's the beautiful relationship we're told about in the body of Christ, and that's what I'm trying to develop with my adult child not His dependence on me.

Jocelyn: As me and my kids have transitioned to new levels of adulthood, that's kind of, one of the things that I've held out in front of me is like, you're my sister in Christ.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: I only have girls so you're my sister in Christ, and as we serve together in the church, we're serving as sisters in so many ways. And so many of the problems that we're addressing or the way that we're communicating about things is with that in mind.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: This is not a parent/child issue. This is a sister to sister issue, and I care about you enjoying your life in our local church.

Janet: Right. Right. So now let's transition. What if you are the adult child? I would say the first thing to remember, it's a privilege to honor your parents.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: That is a good thing. Scriptures are clear that you're to honor your father and mother, but what isn't always clear is what does that mean?

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So I did some reading on what it means to honor your parents, and here's a definition I found, honoring your father and mother is being respectful in word and action, and having an inward attitude of esteem for their position. And the Greek word there for honor means to revere, to prize, to value. Proverbs 23:22 expresses this concept and says it this way, "Listen to your father who gave you life and do not despise your mother when she's old." So you're supposed to listen, don't despise, or think little of your parents. Matthew 15:5-8 expresses the same idea when Jesus rebukes men for finding ways to avoid caring for their parents.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And I mentioned that one earlier.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But the thing with honoring is God defines it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Not the parents or the adult child. So it is possible that a parent can say, you are not honoring me. Because you're not obeying them and you're not being controlled by them. That doesn't make it true. And I know adult children, who struggle with that. I'm trying.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But my parents think it's only honoring to them, if I move to their state. Well, them thinking it doesn't make it true.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But it is possible that you're not being honoring.

Jocelyn: And it's also really helpful to know that you're honoring and esteeming your parents because of the position that God gave them in your life. Because some of our listeners will really have difficult relationships with their parents.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Where their parents have done things that are very difficult for them to deal with. You're honoring the position that God put them in.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Not necessarily every action that they've taken because all of us have to deal with difficult situations in our relationships with our families.

Janet: That's right. That's right. And we are always about righteousness so we would never honor unrighteousness.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: We can honor our parents, but if they're unrighteous, part of honoring them, we'll be talking about that.

Jocelyn: Dealing with that. Right.

Janet: Yeah. I read several verses earlier about caring for our parents. It is interesting that the passages tell us to care for our aging parents, but it doesn't tell us exactly how. So, again, that means it's possible that an adult child can be caring for his parents and the parents don't agree. If that's the case, I would say to the adult child ask for great humility as you think that through. Is there a degree of truth to that? Get your pastor involved, get a respected leader's counsel, get some help when it's difficult in that way.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: In Mack's book on in-laws, he does a great job of outlining what he says adult children must put off, which I really appreciated. Here's just a couple of the topics and we'll obviously link the booklet in the show notes. They have to put off an inordinate dependency on their parents. Sometimes adult children are frustrated by their parents' control, but they're feeding it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because they're overly dependent on them and then they're frustrated by what they're feeding.

Jocelyn: And it's probably not that that just started cropping up in that relationship.

Janet: Always been there.

Jocelyn: You know, even when they were children.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: And it never got taken care of in a biblical way.

Janet: Right. And they may have an inordinate reliance on their parents' approval. And what I have seen with some of us, and it's not just adult child to parent, when you really have an inordinate reliance on anybody else's approval, the temptation is to believe it's the other person's fault.

Jocelyn: Oh, totally.

Janet: It's not the responsibility of the parents, if you have an inordinate desire for their approval. That's on you adult child. Parents can make that easier or harder.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: But ultimately the adult child's gonna need to look for God's approval and not clamor after their parents' approval.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And all of those things are hard. So instead the adult child can seek to develop a peer or friendship relationship too. One where that mutual respect can lead to mutual counsel for each other as adults. Life complicates all of this.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: So we wanna talk about how it ought to be, but ideally what should happen in our parenting is that this process starts occurring gradually.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And naturally, as your child grows. It should be that the amount of control you have over a two year old is not the same as over a 12 year old is not the same as over an 18 year old.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: That's not always what happens. And then sometimes there's just other complications like maybe you're still financially responsible for your adult children, what then.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: How do you do that?

Jocelyn: Because if the parent is still financially paying for any part of a adult child's life, there is a measure of authority over them to that degree anyways.

Janet: And so what is that degree? There's a complexity.

Jocelyn: What does that look like?

Janet: For sure. What if your adult children are still living in your home? What if they're paying rent?

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Does that mean there's no other expectations?

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Because they're a border? Or what if they're not paying rent? What if they're on your insurance? Because we all know these days, however you get insurance is the best way to get it.

Jocelyn: And you can be on it until you're 26.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Like most people are married with kids possibly by the age of 26.

Janet: Absolutely. So it's complicated, but I really do think if we're thinking biblically about all of the things we've already said, we will learn how to handle each of these things biblically.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Each situation's gonna be unique, but again, I would say put your expectations in writing. Do not assume you're viewing it the same way. Communicate, if you expect them to ask permission before bringing someone home with them. And they might say, well, I'm paying rent, it's my place too.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Can I bring...? I should be able communicate. Communicate the financial arrangements early and clearly. Communicate if you expect them to let you know if they're gonna be out late. Are they gonna be eating meals with you? Should you plan for them? Do you have requirements about spiritual issues? Are they expected to go to church? Are they expected to be in a small group? Written expectations seem unnecessary. These are your own children, but they're very loving to everybody involved.

Jocelyn: And you know, some of the other things that complicate the situation are if one of the two parties is not a believer.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: Then the situation gets even more complex. Like if your adult child is not a believer, but you are, what are the expectations in that situation?

Janet: So putting them in writing is even more important.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Yeah, and let's just acknowledge this transition is usually harder for the parents than for the adult child.

Jocelyn: Because as the adult child is getting older and older, they're super excited about independence.

Janet: What's next?

Jocelyn: Yes, and the next exciting thing that's coming up.

Janet: Yep. Sometimes it's because it's gonna surface problems in the parent's life that were distracted by parenting. Things in their marriage that weren't obvious to them before. For instance, maybe the home was structured more around the child than the marriage. Well this transition puts a spotlight on that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I've heard things like the time when my kids were home were the best years. This was said to me years after those kids left home. They were saying to me, actually did say to me, enjoy these years, these will be the best years of your life, and then they'll be over.

Jocelyn: And then it will be none.

Janet: Yeah. That's where they were.

Jocelyn: Nothing. Done. Yeah.

Janet: If parents and I'm gonna say, especially frequently moms.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Are experiencing this, God has answers, but it isn't to live in the past.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: Get some help to reprioritize that permanent relationship with your spouse, and if that's a painful relationship, know that it's an opportunity to reorient on the Lord as well.

Jocelyn: One of the things that my husband and I have done is to see that coming on the horizon and not wanna be jolted when it gets there.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And so, trying to notice deficiencies in our relationship now and working on them so that when our kids are gone and it's just the two of us, we're not like, what do we talk about now? And so we have this like little retirement plan where we're not gonna wait until we've retired to enjoy each other. We're gonna do things now every single month where we can reconnect with just the two of us because we want our relationship to be strong. It's not like we're dreading anything. We're looking forward to all of the things and planning well for all of those things.

Janet: Yeah. Excellent. Or related to that parents, particularly moms.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Who now feel like I don't have a purpose anymore. She rightly prioritized raising and discipling her kids and somewhere along the way, it moved from being a way that she lived out her design for that season, and it became the purpose of her life. And she doesn't always recognize that happen until it's gone. Praise God that His purpose for her life is much bigger than being a mom, even though that was a very sweet season. So if that's you and you're struggling, find an older woman who is vibrantly living out her purpose. Have her help you to think through this.

Jocelyn: When I was young, I watched a movie about an astronaut whose only goal in life was to make it to the moon. And when he finally made it to the moon, he was very young, when that happened, he went into a huge depression, because he had nothing left to live for, and it reminds me of that situation. Not that we should be creating purposes for ourself, God gave us.

Janet: We have one.

Jocelyn: A really cool purpose, but when you only have one thing in mind and it finally is accomplished when it's done, you're like, you don't know what to do with yourself anymore.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: And so I just wanna also encourage our listeners to go back and listen to our creation mandate episode and our discussions about purpose because it will help and you can be creative as you apply that concept to different seasons of your life.

Janet: Yes. It's a disorienting time because a large chunk of my time is now freer. And if I don't begin investing in eternal purposes, going back to our creation mandate, I'm gonna be tempted to try to find ways to continue to parent and hold on to that adult child. I actually had somebody tell me at some point that then after their children left the home, they just looked around their church for other younger people they could, then they were gonna parent them. Not always in the best way.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: It's like I have, this is all I am as a parent.

Jocelyn: Right.

Janet: So I, let me find someone to parent.

Jocelyn: So one identity.

Janet: So this is what I'm gonna do.

Jocelyn: I can see why that would lead to someone clamoring for their children's attention. Like all I know of myself is that I'm a parent.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: The only thing that I'm good at.

Janet: Yep. So at a minimum for the child, they're starting something new. So for the parent, they're losing something. Which in reality, they can be gaining something too, but they're aware of the loss. For the child, it's a new phase of life. It might be scary, but they're excited about it. The parent has invested years of their time, thought, and heart into that child and now it's the end of that. So if you're an adult child be patient and gracious with your parents, as they work through that. It doesn't mean that you want to let them control you.

Jocelyn: No, that would be wrong.

Janet: That wouldn't be loving to them, but be patient and kind in your response as you may have to remind them that they don't need to control you. Look for ways to appropriately involve them where you can, not be manipulated by them, but involve them where you can. That could maybe ease their fears of losing touch with you. Parent, be honest with the Lord about the pain of that season and then embrace it.

Jocelyn: I think that's really important like it's okay for us to lament to the Lord that we're losing something that was really precious to us. God says that He organizes the suffering of our life to help us know Him better. That includes even crying out in grief and sadness that this beautiful part of our life is done.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: It was a precious part of life.

Janet: Yep. Be honest with your child about where you're struggling and where you need to change. Just doing that, just owning that you're not handling it perfectly, that humility will go a long way to easing tension and helping that relationship. I know, and I've told you that that is absolutely true for me, as we talk about it and I'm overly helpful they can just smile and laugh.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And that helps a whole lot, and what I am finding this new relationship, it does take a lot of work, for me, it takes a lot of changing my habits. It takes a lot of changing my thought patterns, but it's also really, really sweet. And I'm looking forward to us becoming more and more like peers.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Because it's not like what you were saying about your daughter earlier. They're actually pretty great.

Jocelyn: It's super cool.

Janet: I love enjoying them.

Jocelyn: I feel like you guys are so fun. You're so cool. I would never get to be your friend if I wasn't related to you and I get to be your friend.

Janet: Yes.

Jocelyn: Because I am your mom and you're so cool.

Janet: And think about it, they know me better than most anybody else.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: And now they get to speak into my life as well. What a beautiful new season.

Jocelyn: I know I've shared with you. Some of the most encouraging conversations I've had have been with my little child. Like she speaks truth into my life because she knows me very well.

Janet: Yep. So how do we apply that parents of younger children as we set in our parenting series begin with the end in mind. Remember that your goal is to take these children on loan from God, who is their ultimate parent, and train them to love God and others as adults. Look for ways to help them as they grow older to become more and more dependent on God and not you so prepare them and you for this transition.

Jocelyn: Yeah. I have a friend who said that when their kids grew up to a certain degree of adulthood, they had like a little official ceremony where they're like, we now consider you an adult. So the transition was like pointed. So we're not gonna have this weird, like we wonder who, like how we should relate to you. It was obvious. We are now gonna relate to you as an adult. And I thought that was a great idea.

Janet: And doing it as a ceremony, it wasn't a funeral.

Jocelyn: No, it was a joyful thing.

Janet: It was ceremony. It was rejoicing in that. Yeah. I love that. Parents of older children, talk to the Lord about what's hard for you in this season. Do you need some help with your marriage? Get it.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Where are you investing this new flexibility into knowing Jesus and living for him? Seek out someone to help you go through this. For me, it meant that my natural boundaries were gone. I knew when my kids were home that they were my first ministry along with my husband. So when that was remove, it was harder to make focused decisions, and I got spread way too thin. And I'm in the process of reorienting my life right now and God's patient while He helps me to change. So for those moms who are wondering what to do with that extra time, the needs are great.

Jocelyn: If you don't know what to do, you should talk to one of the two of us, because we have so many ideas for ministry and not enough time to do them.

Janet: Now it's just prayerfully consider where you can jump in.

Jocelyn: And what's the best fit for you?

Janet: Yes. Talk to somebody in leadership, ask where they see that you could help.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Where do they need you? Because you might be thinking, well, I don't know who needs you. I get that. Talk to someone and find out. When I was approaching the empty nest, I'll never forget this. I was speaking in another state, and an older woman picked me up. Like, I even thought she was older and really sweet woman. And she was asking me and I'm like, yeah, my kids are almost college or they were in college. I don't remember. so I'm like approaching the empty nest and waiting for, or what everybody says.

Jocelyn: For whatever cynical thing.

Janet: Yeah. And she goes, it's luxurious. And I looked at her and I said, I have never heard that before. And she said, I know, but you need to hear that.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: Can I tell you it's luxurious she said you have so much more flexibility to serve the way you want. Serve where God wants you, without the limitations you had before.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: She told me some mornings I get up and I spend two hours in the world.

Jocelyn: I remember you told me that one time, a couple years ago, and it really changed my perspective on empty nest because I was a little nervous.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: Like postpartum was hard for me. So I'm thinking is empty nest gonna be the same kind of hard, but you were like, it's great. If I felt like reading the Bible for hours, I do.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: I can do so much more things so much, more freely than I've ever done before. And it made me anticipate it.

Janet: I love that cuz that's how we should. And now some days, yeah, things are really busy and I can't do that. But to realize it's not, I don't have to work around everybody else.

Jocelyn: It's not limited because of my family requirements.

Janet: Right. Now I get to decide, boy, that would really be a blessing. I mean, today I was at a meeting and then after the meeting, somebody came up and said, hey, can we talk? I ended up staying for two extra hours for other meetings.

Jocelyn: Oh, wow.

Janet: I don't have any kids at home waiting.

Jocelyn: Yeah.

Janet: I can just because my first thought was I gotta get back home and then I thought, no, I don't.

Jocelyn: Do I really?

Janet: Yeah. I don't have anything for a couple more hours. Sure. I can stay.

Jocelyn: That's cool.

Janet: And it's like, this is new. All the things that weren't feasible during my parenting years, I can do now. So yeah, it's luxurious. It's a little scary. I have more options. I have more choices and it's very easy to use that freedom to get more self-focused. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Jocelyn: And also the luxury of being in a marriage is that you can talk to your husband about stuff and make sure you're not spreading yourself too thin or getting invested in too many opportunities instead of, you know, fine tuning what you're good at and where you really could serve in an area of big need.

Janet: Yeah. You know, my husband, Brent, and I get to travel more together to do conferences at other churches. So we're serving more together than we ever have. We do marriage counseling together. We serve in ways that were not reasonable when somebody has to watch the kids. We have a date night, which is funny, we did not have a date night till our second child went to college.

Jocelyn: Oh my goodness.

Janet: Because then we had Friday nights free because they had Friday night college ministry.

Jocelyn: Oh, true.

Janet: We were like, we can have a date night we do that. And we love being able to give counsel and support to our kids. We do it all imperfectly, but I will tell you it is a great, new season.

Jocelyn: What a great conversation. I'm so glad we're thinking about this. And I'm excited that our listeners can be thinking about this as well, because you know what? Family relationships are tough sometimes.

Janet: Yeah.

Jocelyn: And transitions are challenging. And so I think it's good that we're just kind of putting it out there so people can think about it. And also, hopefully, maybe some good conversations will come outta this with the people that our listeners love.

Janet: Yep.

Jocelyn: As a result, their relationships with their family will be a blessing as they move into new, exciting transitional years.

Janet: Absolutely. I've got the resources listed in your show notes, the things that we talked about. I hope this was encouraging to you. Thank you for listening in, as we go on the journey together.

To keep from missing any future episodes, please sign up for our newsletter on our webpage From there you can also subscribe to this podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. You can also visit us on our Facebook page or Instagram at Joyful Journey Podcast. If you have questions or comments for us, you can email us at Joyful Journey Podcast is a ministry of Faith Bible Seminary. All proceeds go to offset costs of this podcast and toward scholarships for women to receive their MABC through Faith Bible Seminary.

Host Janet and her husband, Brent, also speak at a variety of conferences as a way to raise money for the seminary. If you want to look at what they offer or book them for a conference, go to their website.

Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.