Katie called a few days ago. I could tell in her first breath it was going to be one of those conversations that I didn’t like. And I told her so. She laughed and say, “Yeah.”
Only this time it was different. Katie was different. Yes, she shared with me a decision that she had made that she knew Gene and I wouldn’t agree with. But this time I could hear in a gentleness in her voice. She shared with me how much she respected Gene and I. She shared her feelings with love. She then apologized for a recent offense and made it right. I could feel her hugs and love over the hundreds of miles between us.
The Katie who left home ten years ago in a huff and with no money, that Katie is gone. In her place is an adult woman who has learned from her mistakes; who loves and values her family deeply and makes sure we know it; who finds as much common ground as possible with her mom who is so different from her.
Gone is the chip on her shoulder. Gone is the thin-like-ice relationship. In its place is a relationship that’s roots are growing deep in unconditional love and acceptance.
Why am I telling you this? Not to brag on what an amazing daughter I have (but I do!). And certainly not to say what a great mom I am, because you all know how I’ve messed up. I’m telling you this to give you hope. No matter the age of your child it’s never too late or too early to show them love no matter what.
Kids want their parents’ love and acceptance. What they don’t want is a load of guilt, expectations, and lectures. Pursue relationship with your child of any age by:
- Being available when they have time—in person, on the phone, Skype, etc.
- Be totally present. Put away your electronics.
- Take an interest and show an interest in your child’s world.
- Encourage, encourage, encourage with positive words.
- Treat him like you would want to be treated.
- Learn and speak your child’s love language (Love Languages, by Dr. Gary Chapman).
- Never give up.
I’m not saying I’ve done it all right. But by God’s grace and leaning into what He has shown me, I’ve become more of the mom Katie needs. And who doesn’t need a mom who loves them no matter what!
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.