Parenting young adults is far harder than parenting teenagers and children. You can tell a child what to do and pressure a teenager, but with young adult children you are limited to influence.
The kind of influence I have on my four young adult children is based on how I view them. Stephen Covey teaches a leadership principle that states: Begin with the end in mind.
The principle applies to projects, personal goals and I also believe to the people around us.
Here is how I am applying this principle to one of my 20-something children. His name is Aaron. He lives in LA and he is trying to make it in the film industry.
A few days before Christmas, he called us about a major predicament. It was not a moral issue and his life was not in danger, but his car was. Since Aaron moved to LA in 2015, we have received innumerable phone calls of dilemmas, troubles and hardships.
I will spare the details, but eventually the situation resolved itself and a few days afterward we talked.
Aaron said, “Dad, I just wish you would yell at me and tell me how bad a person I am.” In so many words, I said, “Aaron, I see you as a success and not a screw up.”
Begin with the end in mind.
Yes, I’ve had the hard conversations, drawn the clear boundaries, laid out the expectations and demonstrated tough love with Aaron, but it all comes from the place that I see him as a future success not an eternal screw up.
I think once you see others through their potential, you will more likely be drawn from complaining and criticizing to coaching and encouraging.