“As parents we want to fix our kids, but they are on their own course. God will use their paths for their good and His glory. During this time, we must hold our children loosely and give them room to work out their lives.”*
It’s tough to watch our kids struggle, but that is when they grow. In this time there is much we can do to help our kids.
- Back off but don’t cut them off. When our kids are out of the house and making poor decisions we can’t let each decision be like a knife to our hearts. We need a little distance between us and our kids’ decisions, while being there for them in a healthy way. One way Gene and I did that for Katie was to not rehearse the consequences of her bad decisions with her. When she came to us with a situation we would offer biblical, practical advice. The choice was hers whether to take it or not.
- Tough Love. Let your kids live out the consequences of their decisions. The father of the prodigal son is an excellent example of this (Luke 15:11-24). He let his son have his inheritance and have his fun. But when the money ran out he let his son suffer the consequences until “he came to his senses” and headed home to apologize and beg for a job from his father. We need to stay out of the way for God to bring our kids to their senses.
- Continue to love. Continue to love on your child in ways that don’t enable his bad choices. One mom I spoke with said that she told her son that no matter what situation he’s in, she will not let him go hungry. He calls and lets her know he needs food and she orders groceries for him. It’s a practical way to show love and not be involved in his consequences.
How have you given your kids room to grow and still shown love?
*Brenda Garrison~~Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don’t Agree With
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.