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For The Love With Jen Hatmaker Podcast

Mar 29, 2023

We’re back in the middle of life with another installment of our “For the Love of the Middle” series. This episode marks the return of the amazing Dr. Jim Burns to the show. He is an author and founder of HomeWord, a non-profit organization aimed at helping families and individuals strengthen their relationships. Dr. Burns has over three decades of experience as a speaker and is the author of books such as “Life With Your Adult Children” and “Finding Joy in the Empty Nest”.  

With his typical humor and self-awareness, Dr. Burns draws from his own experiences as a father in the middle of life–and also shares insights from his vast experience working with families and individuals. In this interview he touches on topics like loneliness in older adults, coping with post-divorce friendships, and enabling versus helping your adult children.

Join Jen and Dr. Jim Burns as they discuss: 

  • Navigating the loneliness felt by those 50 and older and how to prepare for that early on.

  • Finding meaningful friendships as a single person in a coupled world.

  • Giving advice to adult children without sounding critical.

  • When helping becomes enabling with adult children.

  • Easing the burden of the Empty Nest by investing in hobbies and community.

Jen and Dr. Burns offer practical advice for maintaining and cultivating adult friendships and how to move through the challenges of parenting adult children with grace.

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Thought-Provoking Quotes

“One of the positive things that I saw was that the people who had good adult friends are the people who did well early on and made decisions to join a club and put themselves out there to meet people outside of the soccer games and kid friends. That planning in advance really helped with the empty nest syndrome.” -Dr. Jim Burns

“American adults at 50+ tend to be very lonely people. In fact, there's a lot of studies on this and it's because they don't have replenishing relationships.You know, one of the best phrases that I have in my head on this is, a you know, successful and a well lived life is never accidental. And that takes time.” -Dr. Jim Burns

“If we are always giving our kids advice, which we have been pretty good at for 20 of their years,  that advice can be taken as criticism. Even if it's good advice! What they see is that you don't trust them to be an adult.” -Dr. Jim Burns

“What we have to understand as parents, just like when they were five, is that the experience is a better teacher than advice. So you can say to your kid, "Don't touch that fire." But they're gonna touch the fire sometime and then they'll quit touching the fire because they did it one time and it burnt. But it's really hard for us as parents to trust them to learn from their own experiences.”  -Dr. Jim Burns

“As a parent, the question we have to ask is, are we helping or are we enabling dependency? And a lot of parents I think are enabling dependency as in, they mean to help. But sometimes we're enabling dependency and doing that in a way that doesn't help.” - Dr. Jim Burns


Jim’s Links


Facebook:  @JimBurns

Twitter: @DrJimBurns

Instagram: @drjimburns

YouTube: @homewordtoday


Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode


New Life Live

Dr. Burns Books: Finding Joy in the Empty Nest, Life with Your Adult Children

Dr. Burns on Jen Hatmaker in 2018 


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