Shows Main Idea – You have an adult child. Let’s say the child is 25-years old and wants to leave their childhood home to live independently. Is it okay for them to do so? What are some of the dynamics you would like to explore when working toward making this decision? In this episode, Rick explores this case study—a question that a Mastermind Student asked.
Ephesians 6:4 seems to speak to children, not adults
The Bible Says – There are no scriptures that prohibit an adult child from leaving their home. There are verses that speak to our preferences, but no mandated texts on this question. This decision is a wisdom matter, as most of our life issues.
Honoring the Child – Lucia and I come at this topic from the view of our child’s desires primarily, not ours. I’m speaking of adult children, not youngsters. We don’t downplay our desires as though they do not matter, but we submit them to what our children want to do—assuming they are not unbiblical desires.
A Parental Role – It’s their lives, not ours. We see our role as parents in three parts: train, guide, release. The ages for each category are arbitrary and map differently on each child, according to personality, character, maturity, capacities, etc.
We train them from 0 to 12.
We try to guide and shape the “plant” from 12 to 20.
We hope to release them when appropriate.
Anecdotal Evidence – Lucia lived with her parents until she was married. She paid rent and was autonomous while living in their home. Her reason was strictly pragmatic: she was able to bring $40K to our marriage, which was a big deal during our early years. I was different: I left home at 15 and had an angry attitude. The difference between her and me was remarkable.
Each Child Is Different – Each child is different and not necessarily like us. Though we have preferences, we want to parent the child in the way they should go, which might not be how we want them to go. But, are they making unbiblical or biblical choices?
Recognizing the Itch – There is an itch in all children to explore independence. Some kids can modulate their desires for different reasons, as Lucia did, and others have to explore. I applaud both mentalities—if they are doing things biblically.
Teach Autonomy – We have trained our children to grow into autonomy. We want them to experience many tries and failures while in our home—the laboratory, knowing life would come knocking, and sometimes, it hits hard.
Regretting Parents – Some parents live in regret, and when they see their adverse effect on the child when they are older, they can be hesitant about them leaving, hoping to reverse what they did to them.
Controlling Parents – Other parents are controllers. They want to micromanage the child’s life. Some children need more oversight, but all children do not. Again, you must parent each child uniquely, based on many things I’m addressing here.
Fearful Parents – Parenting by faith or fear are realities for all parents. Parents must make the necessary changes to make sure that faith is driving decision-making, not their fears.
One-Flesh Marriage – Significant decisions bring heat that identifies the purity or impurity of the marriage. Couples may not align perfectly, but they must be together on what they are doing.
What Is the Plan – How will this decision enhance or deter their lives as an adult? How does moving out set them up for the rest of their lives? Before they “build a tower,” what are the indicators that they have counted the costs?
Outside Help – It’s wise to talk to those who do not have an emotional investment in the family. If the parents cannot agree, it would help find assistance through a pastor or other competent discipler.
Call to Action
Do you have a big decision that you need to make? How can you apply some of the ideas put forth to guide you in what you hope to do?
In what way are you challenged about what you’ve read here? What is your plan to change, assuming there is something you need to address?
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).