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What Do You Do When Your Adult Child Makes Poor Choices?

When our adult child violates our values, makes poor choices or gets in deep trouble, we often question who we are as a parent. Our self-doubt shout at us:

The what-ifs can be damaging to our lives.

One of the most hurtful heartbreaks is for a parent to watch their child waste their life, potential or opportunities with poor choices. When your young adult has a huge adult size problem, the kind that can derail a productive life, your heart may break, but your child’s choices don’t have to break you. Your child’s decisions do not make you a bad parent. Even the parents who have a Christian home have children who make poor choices. It may be too late for you to train them, but it’s never too late for redemption. Transformation does happen. Sometimes it happens suddenly, but most times it’s a process. Our children’s mistakes can be used by God to push them towards His purpose and destiny that He has for them.

Give your child tough love

Tough love is necessary to promote responsible behavior and change. You provide tough love when you set firm boundaries and enforce consequences. Tough love might mean not allowing your drug addict child back into your home without first getting help. Tough love is standing your ground and not bailing your child out, even if it cost them dearly. The purpose of tough lough is to stop the negative behavior and encourage positive growth as well as responsibility. Don’t confuse tough love with meanness. The purpose of meanness is to be hurtful, which is not what tough love is about.

Stop bailing them out

If you take on the consequences your child should be experiencing you are enabling them and hindering their growth and change. Their problem doesn’t need to be your problem. Don’t allow your adult child to make their crisis become your crisis.

Relinquish your child into God’s Hands

Releasing your child into God’s Hands is a daily act of the will. God loves our children even more than we do. The act of releasing them is not easy but is of utmost importance. I encourage you to pray this prayer everyday:

God, I release my child into your Hands and into your tender mercies.

It’s that simple. Every time you pray that, it will help you be reminded that God is in control and you are not.

Whatever the issues causing your heart to break, remember ultimately your child needs to know that you still love them. Although we feel hurt and disappointed, we can demonstrate our love to our child even when they wander off the path we had hoped for them.

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