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Coming Out of "Parenting Retirement"

Some titles are temporary. Others – such as "child of God," or "parent," are life-long, even eternal. Realizing the full meaning of this statement doesn't come automatically.

Hopefully you've taken time to mourn, not the loss of your child, but the completion of one stage in life. During this time you might have felt like your job as a parent was through, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

By now, you've realized that you're not done being a parent, even in the active sense. Your ministry to your child has changed. You've caught your second wind, and hopefully taken some time for yourself in the process. Way to go!

Here are some ways to come along side your child, even from afar.

  • Pray. You and your child both have access to the same all-powerful, all-knowing God. He deeply cares for the both of you. Pray for God's will in her life, not for your agenda or hers. Rest assured He will open your eyes to needs in your child's life you can fill, even long distance.
  • Exercise your apologetics. Chances are the curriculum at your child's university is designed to tear down her faith. Why not brush up on defending your own? Be prepared to share what you've learned with your child.
  • Model (and remodel) your marriage. What your child expects from her future marriage is largely based on what she sees in yours. Take this opportunity to remodel your marriage. Become a student of your spouse. Relearn each other, and have a blast doing so. And be sure to actively model a healthy, realistic marriage, especially when your college-aged child is home on breaks.
  • Start their library. Every college student begins her own library with basic textbooks and classic pieces of literature. Take this opportunity to expand her library with selections on apologetics, marriage, parenting and other subjects that interest her. Consider mailing them in a care package, or presenting them one at a time.
  • Anticipate their future. Sooner or later, your child could be married and even become a parent of her own! Consider writing a family history, starting a hope chest or creating a cookbook of family favorites.
  • Share their struggles. Did your child struggle with math in elementary school or cope with an eating disorder during her teen years? With permission, use the experience and testimony to help other children and parents in your community.

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