Getting to 30 by Jeffrey Arnett and Elizabeth Fishel is an excellent read on a parent’s changing roles during the emerging adult years. The book does a great job of balancing research, stories, and practical suggestions for parents of emerging adults.
In a world that often calls young adults lazy and narcissistic, I applaud the positive perspective of emerging adulthood. They state that both 20-somethings and their parents “generally see themselves as being at a good time of life, characterized by freedom, fun, and excitement, a time to focus on themselves and find out who they really are.” (Arnett and Fishel, xi)
The book gives practical ideas about how parents can learn the “essential art of staying connected while stepping back.” (Arnett and Fishel, x) Parents need to understand that some of the struggle in their relationship with their children is because that, “the maturation process is two headed – Parent and Child need to mature into new roles.” (Arnett and Fishel, 69)
This book does not come from a specific religious perspective, but I believe that Christians will find its information and advice helpful. It is the best book that I have read on the topic of parenting an emerging adult.
When addressing faith, the book states, “The best way to persuade children of the value of your faith is to show the fruits of it in your life, including your capacity to forgive your sons and daughters for not believing what you believe.” (Arnett and Fishel, 240) Allowing your children to have true autonomy includes their decisions about faith. For parents who have children who have left the church, this can be a painful process, here is an article that I hope will help you in your journey.
If you have other suggestions of books about parenting emerging adults, please leave a note below.
Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to emerging adults.