This post is written to the Christian parent who finds themselves dealing with a prodigal child (or children).
Dear fellow parent,
As I sit here this morning, our children range in age from 32 down to 25. The last 17 years have felt like I’ve chopped my way through the Amazon jungles on foot. Many, many times I felt lost, did not have a clue as to where I was at or if I were even heading in the right direction .
I have to tell you, once the overt rebellious stuff started happening, I realized there is are overly simplistic and naive schools of thought in the Christian camp about our children and how to keep them from wallowing in all of the crap this world has to offer.
You can do it all right…not try to jam your faith down their throat, be an approachable parent, willing to own up when you’re wrong, involve them in good activities, try your best to help them find good friendships, and avoid the bad ones, participate in youth programs, church, even send them away to a Bible school…do it all, and there is NO guarantee, they will still not chose to shack up with some looser of a boyfriend or, binge drink till they black out...week after week.….
Then what are you going to do?
take them for counseling?
Second guess yourself?
….if only I had been more firm when I first noticed she had a strong will!
Why didn’t I do a better job of looking into _________________(fill in the blank)
What do you do with the anger? Because at some point, besides feeling afraid for your dear child, there’s a good chance you’re going to be angry about something that has happened…maybe their blatant disrespect or sass, …maybe at someone they “love” , or are running around with…
As I sit here this morning 2 of our 4 children are still sexually active outside of marriage. (at least I’m 95% sure they are, they’d never tell us that is the case, but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to connect the dots…
So, what is my role in their life, and what is my attitude with them as they continue to make choices that will bring them emotional pain, not to mention some STD or unplanned child, etc?
What do I do with the stuff you feel?
Biggest help has been finding another parent that “get’s it” and rant together.
Nothing wrong with ranting.
Second thing… I can’t emphasize this strongly enough…
Nagging does not work
Getting angry with them does not work
See, deep down, they feel conflicted…and second thing..it’s not about you, if sure feels like it is, I know but it’s not…it’s between them and God…
And at the end of the day, God has got to be the one to reel them in, and he is able. I’ve seen it twice now..and there is a good chance they will have even more spiritual depth than their parents when it happens.
Keep the lines of communication open
Resist those temptations to draw a line in the sand and say..if you do ________________, then I’m through trying….
Nope, best thing you can do, is to find another adult and unload.
Couple of final thoughts…
If you kids do happen to turn out, right, don’t be to quick to take the credit..
I’m sitting here 17 yrs into the crisis called parenting older teens and I still have my joy, the kids still love to come home for visit, 2 out of 4 have found their way back spiritually, and the wife and I still love each other…nobody said parenting was a walk in the park.
Drop me a note if you need to talk. DM