Yep, it happened again. One of my kids made a decision that I didn’t agree with. In fact, I was absolutely against it. When she shared her plan with me I gave her my reasons why her plan was not a good idea. My wisdom did nothing to change her mind. She was bent on her way.
This decision was, in my opinion, foolishness. She considered it a preference. It is not immoral or illegal.
So now I need to decide how I will respond. Will I let it be a wedge between us? Will I let it affect our relationship in the short term or maybe forever? Will I make a big deal out of it and hold it against her?
This is not my first rodeo with kids making decisions I don’t agree with. I have come to realize that since my girls and I are each different people, there will always be decisions I don’t agree with. I have also learned that I need to maintain a posture in our relationships in which our relationships remain more important than any decision they make. I know that while I will never be happy with my daughter’s most recent decision, my relationship with my daughter is way more important than this decision. I chose to not let it affect our relationship in the short or long term. I told her how I felt when she first told me her plan. That’s all I can do. It was her decision and hers to live with.
However, I am responsible for how I respond and how I grow my relationship with her. I know from past experience that the passing of time will take away the sting. Also as a result, my emotional rollercoaster ride is much shorter. I go from disbelief to disappointment to acceptance much more quickly than I did over a decade ago. I hold my kids’ decisions more loosely. I know God, not me, is in control of their lives. I know that the sweetness of relationship is more important than a foolish decision. I know how hard it is to rebuild relationship when words are spoken that I regret.
My bottom line is always am I willing to risk relationship with my kids over (fill in the blank)?
Each kid and their decisions present a new challenge in protecting and nurturing the relationship while being the parent the child needs at their age and in the situation. As parents we are wise to not respond immediately. Breathe and pray. Ask questions. How we respond to this situation may determine how quickly or if our children tell us about the next situation.
I’m not saying to say a quick prayer and then act like everything is ok. I am saying to think about your response and its consequences before you respond. Keep your relationship with your child foremost. Because without relationship you have nothing.
In the course of our parenting careers our kids will make many, many decisions we don’t agree with. Just know that. It’s a fact.
I would love to help you navigate this part of parenting in my book 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.