Why Christian Parents May Have More
Problems with Their Adult Children
Your Job Is Done
A New Job Has Just Begun
Your New Authority
The Biblical Patriarch
Rising above the Temporal
Acting with God’s Love
Inspiring Your Kid’s Kids
Adam’s Inspiration to Enoch
The Pain of Disappointment
Defining Your Expectations
The Loss of What Use to Be
Seven Steps of Transition
When You Are Deeply Troubled
Relieving the Pressure of Relationships
When They Don’t Want to Have
Anything to Do with You
When They Don’t Want to Listen to You
Listen to Them
How Did My Baby Turn Out Like This?
Being a Realist Full of Hope and Faith
When Should I Help Financially?
Don’t Rob Your Child of God’s Lessons
When Should I Help Them Leave?
And Other Ways We “Help”
What Do I Do Now That They Are Gone?
Enjoying the Final Seasons of Your Life
An Excerpt from God's Help for Parents with Adult Children
My first child was born 2 months premature. Four pounds at birth, Dawniel almost didn’t make it. From that first day, when we brought Dawniel home from the hospital, our actions were dictated by one thing. Our first concern was the welfare of our children. Until David moved out in 2005, every decision had that thought attached to it. Dawniel was a Bicentennial baby in 1976. David graduated in 2005. For twenty-nine years, my wife Michelle and I carried the wonderful responsibility for our four children.
We geographically moved to have our children go to better schools. When I went into ministry full time, our thoughts were for our children’s welfare. We moved out of the suburbs of Southern California to the foothills of the Tehachapi Mountains because it was a better place to raise our children.
All decisions were filtered through the prism of our God given responsibility as parents. The first question we asked was, “Will this be good for our kids?” We sacrificed many things to have Michelle be a stay-at-home mom.
There are hundreds of books written to help parents succeed with children from birth to the late teens, but there are few written to the parents of adult children. Throughout history grandparents and great grandparents have been a blessing in the extended family unit. But in the last decades there has been an increasing devaluing of older parents and grandparents in our culture. This disconnection of the generations has led to the deterioration of the extended family.
When I was a young father, I mistakenly thought that my continuing education as a parent had stopped once my kids left home, got married and started their own families. My continuing position as dad was a kind of foggy, unknown area. I was not aware that the role would evolve and challenge me as much as the earlier years had.
No matter how good a parent you have been, the process of adjusting to having adult children can be very challenging and sometimes even traumatizing. The better at parenting that you have been in the elementary and teen years, the harder the transition may be. And that can come as quite a shock.
I always assumed that Michelle and my sacrifices and our intentional parenting would pay off with their respect and closeness in my later years. But adult relationships, especially between relatives, can be complicated and are not automatically good. This mistaken concept that adult relationships are automatically good between you and your adult children can lead to many regrets.
This book continues your education as a parent into this new season. I am asking you to take the same attitude that you had when you began parenting your small children. The process of change requires a focused approach to learning.
There is one new problem. The rules have changed. If your child gets mad at you, they don’t run into their room and slam the door. They just remove you as a friend on Facebook, or they don’t return your voice mails.
I do not agree with the unbiblical thinking that the older generations should be put out to pasture. Nor do I agree with the present practice of my generation of being mainly concerned with their happiness and fulfilling their bucket list, now that the kids are gone.
You have a valuable place in your children’s lives.
God bless you as you read this book. May it help you have the best relationship that you can have with your children.
And God bless our children.
A Note to the Reader
This book was written in two parts. Part I explores the experiences of most parents when their children become adults. Part II has been written with stand-alone chapters. Each chapter reflects what I might say to you if you came to me asking for help with your family relationships. So for example, if you came to me and asked, “When should I help financially?” (Chapter 12’s title) this is some of the things that I would say to you. As a friend talking to a friend, I try to address some very complicated issues.
In every neighborhood, in every community there are hundreds of adults who have really, really bad relationships with their newly independent children. For those who are not fully cut off and continue in relationship with their adult children, the relationships are strained, broken or just bad. These parents are wounded and confused. Many suffer not understanding what went wrong.
I will always remember the pain on the face of one of my friends, one Sunday morning when he said, “She doesn’t relate to us anymore. She has cut us off and is living in the basement of her husband’s parent’s house. We don’t talk.” He stated this with an attitude of hopelessness and confusion. He was a loving father, husband and good Christian. He was really hurting.
Each story in this book is a real story about real people struggling to love and relate to their adult children. I take these real life situations and apply more than a two dimensional view of God’s love and wisdom to the situations that many parents encounter. There is more than one path to having a better relationship with your adult children.
May God use this book to comfort, encourage and instruct you. May you have the best relationship that you can have with your adult children.