Here at Focus on the Family, we regularly talk to parents about helping young children develop a strong foundation that equips them to make good choices. But when children transition from adolescence to adulthood, some veer from the path we hoped they’d follow.
We’re encouraging parents of adult children who have strayed from how they were raised and are making poor decisions on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Building Bridges with Your Adult Child.”
Our guest, author Brenda Garrison, raised her children like many Christian parents. Her results-oriented thinking translated into an A+B=C formula for parenting. A and B represented good parenting strategies and C represented perfect children. She believed that if she did everything correctly, her kids would naturally see God and the world the way she taught them to see them.
Things didn’t quite work out that way.
In junior high, Katie, Brenda’s oldest daughter, began making friends that were not good for her and that negatively affected her attitude at home. At age 18, Katie moved out, angry and rebellious. Brenda’s natural inclination was to “correct” Katie, to tell her everything she was doing wrong. But prayer and counsel convinced her that her approach would damage the relationship. She wanted to respond in a way that would build a bridge, not walls.
To achieve that with your children, Brenda explains these helpful parenting ideas:
- Get yourself out of the way. Parenting is about your child, not you.
- Grieve the life you thought would be yours. Accept what is and move forward.
- Find a trusted person to walk with you through your challenges.
- Define what is important in your new and different life.
- Revisit yourself as a young person.
Brenda also shares her story of how she overcame the hurdles of worry and fear and restored her relationship with her daughter as her daughter matured and pursued independence. Brenda offers advice for dealing with parental guilt, for looking to God as a model parent, and for maintaining your marriage through it all.
While you’re online, why not take our free parenting assessment? It will quickly give you an overview of how your family is doing in several key areas. It also offers suggestions for improving the relationships in your home.
If you’re experiencing severe conflict with your children, we have caring Christian counselors on staff, and it would be their privilege to offer you a free consultation. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Brenda Garrison’s book Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don’t Agree With, is available for a gift of any amount. It shares her parenting journey with her oldest daughter Katie. For more information, visit our website.