The act of releasing a grown child into the world is often challenging for parents, but we should keep in mind that the prospect of leaving home can be equally daunting for your son or daughter. Sometimes they will need a gentle push out the door.
You’re probably familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son, who demanded his share of his father’s estate, set off on his own, and squandered his fortune in wild living (Luke 15:11–13). This strong-willed child couldn’t wait to sever his family ties. His older brother, however, was the hard-working and responsible member of the clan. He remained with his father, laboring for years on the family farm.
We don’t know for sure how the older son felt about his life at home, but he clearly resented the homecoming lavished on his brother upon his return (vv. 28–30). Compliant children such as this eldest son often have a more difficult time disengaging from the nest. Because there is little conflict with their parents, they’ve developed a close, secure bond that is hard to give up. Yet God did not intend for adult children to maintain the same relationship with their parents as they did when they were small. That’s why every family should anticipate an “independence day” that is a passage into freedom—not only for the grown child, but also for the parents.
Before you say good night…
- Do you have “compliant” kids that may struggle when the time comes to leave home?
- Do you talk with your kids about the future, helping them anticipate an “independence day”?
Lord, we so enjoy close relationships with our children—yet we don’t want to hold them back from the plans You have for them. Open our eyes, Lord, to see how we can best release them into the world and into Your care. Amen.
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.