I have decided that parenting twenty-somethings is harder than parenting teenagers–in fact, one year with my two twenty-somethings can be rougher than all the teenage years put together. I know this isn’t true for all families, but it sure seems like most folks I know with twenty-somethings are having a hard time of it. I don’t know why, but it seems like today’s “kids” are less equipped to handle independence and responsibility than our generation was. (Sorry for the blanket statement, but that’s how I see it.)

As a parent, I think parenting twenties is harder because their capacity for ruin is a lot greater–there are semi-permanent credit records to ruin, semi-permanent reputations to scar, real lives to injure, and dangerous vehicles on the road.

My daughter, 23, just called to say that someone broke into her car–busted the window to steal a cup of pennies. I could go on and on, but I really do try to maintain my children’s privacy–after all, they didn’t ask to have their lives featured on a blog. But as a parent . . . well, I don’t color my hair on a whim. I color it because my children have turned my hair gray. (RG–that’s “rueful grin”).

The chief question–when do you, as a parent, put up your hands and say, “I’m going to let you hit bottom . . . because you need to learn these lessons for yourself. I’m going to let you feel some serious repercussions . . . because I love you.”

And so, to all of you who have struggling twenty somethings who are trying to be independent but can’t quite make it because of drugs, irresponsibility, personality disorders, laziness, a lack of persistence, or whatever–my prayers are with you.

And with your kids. They are facing pressures we never faced, in a world all too willing to chew them up and spit them back out.



  1. Doni Brinkman

    As my father say’s, “You got little kids, you got little problems. You got big kids, you got big problems.” Thanking the Lord my boys are only 2 and 4! Think the rapture will come soon? 😉

  2. Praying for your Prodigal

    Great, insightful, and REAL post!

    Joining you in prayers as we lovingling parent, from the approriate distance, our 20-something year old children!!!!


  3. Ruthie

    For me the biggest challenge as a parent of a “twenty-something” is keeping my mouth shut. I quickly learned that to nag or “guide” my children is to push them farther away from the behavior I want them to exhibit. So I struggle to bite my tongue, while reassuring them that I love them and I’m always available when they need me. But God! Isn’t that reassuring? God is always available too and I am free to dump all my worries, concerns, struggles, and failures in His lap. He’s big enough to handle it all, even when I’m not, and somehow He is getting me through this stage of parenthood.

  4. Pam Kumpe

    Is there room in the boat for me?

    My son is 20 and life is spiraling. He’s bouncing from episode to episode. When I read the “Novelist” several weeks ago, it was a hard read for me. So much of the text felt like my life was playing out on those pages (different cirumstances). Trying to figure out how life got so messy when it started out so clean causes an ongoing analysis in my head.

    Thank the Lord, I can pray (it helps quiet those fears when you praise and claim some promises).

    And cuddling up with a little schnauzer is very theraputic.

  5. Sissy B.

    Another worry to place in the SFGTD (Something For God To Do) box. 🙂

  6. Rachelle

    Angie, last week our book club meeting turned into two hours of five moms lamenting how difficult it is to parent twenty-somethings. One of them even said, “I’d gladly go back to fifteen — it was easier!” (That scared me since my kids are still under 10.) Anyway, I thought I detected a trend underfoot, and your blog confirms it! You can be sure there will be a Christian book about it sometime soon! 🙂

  7. Andrea Dyben

    Lord have mercy!!! Here, I’ve been hanging on to the hope that things would calm down when my 17 year old reached 20. Of course, I do know that brain development is not complete in adolescents until mid to late 20s, but I was still hoping….This REALLY is a marathon isn’t it?


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