Does a child leave his parent’s authority gradually or all at once?


I guess my question is Genesis 2:24, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." This seems to suggest this idea of leaving the household and the authority of your parents and establishing a new household. It seems similar to the idea that when believers die they immediately go into heaven (II Corinthians 5:8) in that there is no "middle" stage. Do you interpret Genesis 2:24 to suggest that (ie., is that what you mean in your response when you say "There comes a time in every person's life when they leave their parent's household to establish their own [household]. When that is done, the parent no longer can tell the departed child what to do.")?


A child is living in his parents' home and his parents are responsible for his actions. They, therefore, rightly direct his life because he is unable to make his own decisions.

Wise parents know a child will soon be on his own, so the responsibility is gradually extended to make his own decisions in many areas of his life. They are still there to guide and can overrule if a major mistake is about to be made. Sadly, not all parents are that wise. However, notice that it isn't an on/off situation. There is a middle stage of a gradual loosening of the reigns.

Once a child is an adult, then he should be making his own decisions and is responsible for the consequences of his actions. But that means if he, for example, wants to attend a different college than his parents prefer, then they can rightly decline to fund his education and he must then assume responsibility for the payment of his education. When a person is receiving support from another, he loses some control over his choices. "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).  When a person lives in another person's home, he shows respect by abiding by that person's rules.

If you want to be totally responsible for your own life, you have to shoulder all the cost of living. It goes hand-in-hand. You'll be finding your own place to live, buying your own food, and deciding where you want to work. When you are in that state, your parents can advise, but they have no hold over your life. You have left home and established your own.

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