Graduation is one of those moments that parents wait for and at the same time dread. It means seeing their child from birth to “ready for adulting”. Its so important as a youth pastor to understand that its not just a transition for students, but parents to. Especially in a year like this one, where nothing is what it used to be and everything has changed. Its our job as pastors to help parents navigate this transition effectively.
Here are some changes that are coming up for parents as they shift from one who guides, directs & trains to one who mentors, advises & listens.
1. Their child is old enough to make decisions on their own but NOT without them
The parents roll has changed. Their child will begin not asking if they CAN do something or not. They will begin to ask for guidance, advice and saying “what would you do.” They will make decisions on their own but will still look to their parents as a sounding board to make their own choices!
2. Diving into their child’s life will never be more important
Even if they did a poor job of spending time & getting into their kid when they lived at home, it’s now more important than ever for them to do so. Parents should be asking them questions about life, future and their career path. Their faith will take on a whole new look as they are on their own and truly figuring out WHO they are in Christ. Parents need to show even more care and concern in this next chapter of parenting than before.
3. Parents will start to become a little smarter in their child’s eyes
For the past few years parents have been stupid, dumb and out of touch. Parents never seem to understand where “they” are coming from. Now that they are doing life on their own parents will become people who they trust and come to for advice and direction. Mom and Dad start getting a little smarter and their child starts to realize their parents had their best interest in mind the whole time! (I’m sure this will be very gratifying for most parents)
A new chapter in life is taking place, along with a new chapter and phase in parenting! Each phase takes time, dedication and love! Parents need to continue to get after it! As youth pastors, its our job to cheer them on and encourage them to continue being an active part of their child’s life even after they leave the home. Parents graduate too, some don’t know how to do it well. Lets help them out!