have been on the road lately, and on a recent trip - a family, along with their church family is dealing with the disappearance of an adult child. This adult child left a suicide note but no body was found, so there is still hope...(if you are that child...pls go home your parents love you).
Like with all lives tragedy, there are doubts and second guessing, could I have done better maybe I should not have been too strict or maybe I should not have been too hard, etc. In this case the family have such questions - they felt they were lax in some areas and too strict in other areas, hence the enemy is bringing condemnation.
It is abundantly clear in scripture, that God DOES NOT have grandchildren, although some "christians" call their spiritual family "grandpa" or "grandchild" - not biblical. One of the specified role of parents (biological, adopted or spiritual) is raising Godly offsprings - see Mal. 2: 15, that will grow up and be faithful and obedient to God.
There are stages to a child's development, my favorite book on this subject is "the Complete Book of Baby and Child Care" by Focus on the Family (other than the Bible - book of Proverbs). In this book, the stages of growth and development (all areas) are highlighted, and best practices (science) of how a parent should handle each stage is highlighted with strong strong Biblical Christianity Worldview.
It is amazing to know that when a child misses certain things at the different stages, it has a lasting effect on that child (except the Blood of Christ). I find the puberty stage (11-13 for girls and 12-14 for boys) very interesting, as that is the stage they start dissociating with us as parents, the prefer their peers (heading) - to me this is the first stage of separation or transition.
A wise parent would start teaching their children how to become adults from this stage, with some boundaries using both carrot and stick, depending on the nature of that child. It might amaze you to know that, each of your children will react to the same boundary differently - one might stay within your boundary without question, another might constantly try your boundary.
As they get into college (University) and/or leaving, our children should have the skill set needed to be adults, to pay bills, to make decisions, to function in public - relating to people etc. - it is important to note that in-spite of whatever we might have taught them (which is IMPORTANT), each child would still act based on his/her nature (so taking too much credit or blame is stupid).
Spiritually, there is an accountability age (when a child can understand the need to make a clear decision for Christ or reject it for a later date or never, some (denomination) believe and decide this by the age they allow a child to be baptized (most by age 10) and then there is the theological argument about mentally disabled children (I have no answer - but I trust God, and know He has answers).
Scientifically, the NIH (National Institute of Health) believe that the human brain is fully developed by age 25 (more studies is being done), it is also believed that the "hippocampus and amygdala" the storage units in the brain absorbs more between ages 8-12. So, basically an adult child of 25, should be able to stand on his or her own, with our role as parents (instructors) transitioned advisors.
While all of the above is known both from scripture and science, our nature, our culture and the nature of the child in question, makes transitioning from instructing to advising very difficult. Some children would naturally draw boundaries and do well, while others would not and keep coming back home, making it difficult for the parents to transition.
My wife (Ola) and I, having different nature (personalities) ourselves react to this transitioning differently and we are always talking about what that transition look like, how we cannot stifle them, at the same time develop a relationship that they trust our counsel (because it is godly and consistent with Truth).
It is my prayer today, that God will give us all wisdom (not regrets) as we transition from instructing to advising, it is also my prayer that in our love for our children we will not exasperate them rather they will tap into and build on the foundation of Christ - we set for them.
William Femi Awodele is the Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc. and a Vice-Chair of Embrace the Heartland in Prayer (http://www.prayheartland.com)