Your child just turned 18. Congratulations to you and your offspring on making it through to adulthood!

So, now that they are 18, you’re done. Right?

Like many parents upon the eve of the birth of their child, looks far out into the future and envisions the day of impending adulthood. Some gaze with delight and some with trepidation. Here’s a startling fact that many times is overlooked. Even though in the sight of the law your 18 year old is an adult, your role as a parent isn’t finished.

Take for example this pondering. When the clock strikes midnight and your child is officially an adult, will he be magically able to fend for himself? Will he be more responsible? Will he be more ready for a relationship? Does all this stuff just “poof” happen because a certain date on the calendar is reached?

This very event happened in my own house a few weeks ago. Upon my son’s 18th birthday, there were some tears, and there was also much excitement. Hey! We have our first bona-fide adult child!

Now weeks after this milestone, I ask my own self the same set of question and come up with a resounding “no”. In this case, age is but a marker of chronological time. My son is still the same intelligent and good natured male who is moving step by step towards responsible independence as he was several weeks ago. Though legally he’s “done”, our job as parents is not.

Again, the parental role changes. It’s a transition into the mentoring phase of parenting as he gets his feet up under himself. Making choices for his future and learning the weight and feel of those choices upon his shoulders.

So what does that look like ? What now?

Now I watch as the good seeds that have been planted and sown over the past 18 years comes into season, bears fruit and continues to grow. And we as parents continue to pray, speak life and offer advice as it is solicited.