Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Parenting Grown Children

photo from

Above all, love each other deeply,

because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:8

Our son and his wife celebrated their twelfth wedding anniversary this week. My how the time has flown by since that Thursday Seth called and told us he was getting married—the following Monday!

“Did you say married? To whom?” I asked, my voice instantly reflecting the “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” flashing in my brain.

“To Yana,” Seth answered, the “Duh” inferred rather than spoken.

“But . . . but, I thought you said last week that the two of you were just friends?” My confusion grew exponentially; the robot from “Lost in Space” continuing to wave his accordion arms and chant “Danger!”

I shouldn’t have been so completely surprised. Two years previously our daughter had called on New Year’s Day to tell us she was engaged to a man we had never even met! Erin and Corey were both stationed at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. As soon as we got the call we made reservations to fly to Albuquerque. We were introduced to our son-in-law for the first time just two weeks before they went to a justice of the peace and got married.

It wasn’t easy to accept my children marrying people we weren’t given the chance to get to know first. It was actually quite frightening. How did I know if this guy would take good care of my precious daughter? What evidence did I have that this gal would love my son with an everlasting love?

I asked a bazillion questions and waved a ton of red flags. I tried with all my might to slam the brakes on my grown children’s impetuous decisions. But, you know what I learned? Their decisions were just that—their decisions.

By God’s grace, both marriages have passed the ten year mark. As an added bonus, I have been blessed with three beautiful, intelligent, and loving grandchildren. (No bias here—just stating facts.)

All that back story to say, relationships with grown children can be tricky. God has taught me a couple of lessons through it all. (I now wonder if maybe that robot shouting “Danger! Danger!” in my mind was really God telling me to keep quiet and let Him handle things. LOL!) I share what I’ve learned in the hopes that someone else traveling this twisting, winding, and very rewarding road of parenting adult children will find them helpful.

1) My grown children are the ones who ultimately will live with the consequences of their choices. I must not only give them the freedom to make those choices, but also allow them to shoulder the natural results—no matter how badly I want to bail them out.  Love must sometimes be “tough”, so that God’s work can be accomplished in the lives of our children.

2) If I want a relationship with my grown children, I must respect and accept their decisions, whether I feel they are poorly timed, unwise, thoughtless, or counterproductive. It does no good to criticize, cry, or contrive. In fact, in most cases, the least said, the better. To do otherwise simply drives a wedge between us that might never be removed. Love never manipulates.

3) I have no power to change my grown children’s way of thinking, but God can and does. Our daughter has a closer walk with God now than she ever did and our son’s wife, who had no Christian background, sees that their family attends church regularly. Love always lets go and lets God.

Parenting grown children requires faith—faith in our children, faith in ourselves, but most of all, faith in God. For when our faith in our child wavers and our faith in our parenting skills disintegrates, our faith in God can remain strong. We can trust Him with our grown children. He knows what is best for them. After all, He loves them even more than we do!


©2014 Pamela D. Williams