How to Love Your Adult Children Really Well

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Here are a dozen tips to help you have the best relationship possible with your adult children! Tips that work for them and for you! #Children #Family #Parenting #CountingMyBlessings

I’m not a perfect parent.

I’ve always known that, but for a long time, I thought, at least, I was perfect for my children. I don’t know if that’s true either.

But…

One thing I do know to be true.

I love them. With all my heart. I love them.

Not perfectly, but completely. Always have. Always will.

I don’t give much parenting advice because well . . . I don’t have much to give. Each child is unique and what worked for me may not work for you and what didn’t work for me might be the answer for you.

Since our children have been grown for some time, I do however have some advice on loving your adult children well.

How to Love Your Adult Children Really Well

Here are a dozen tips to help you have the best relationship possible with your adult children! Tips that work for them and for you! #Children #Family #Parenting #CountingMyBlessings

 Pray for your adult children and their children.

I’ve always asked God to bless and protect my children. Since watching the movie, War Room, I’m getting very specific in my prayer requests for them. I want to be in the battle for my children and grandchildren.

♥ Tell your adult children you love them. 

Often! They simply never outgrow the need to hear the words, “I love you.” Think about it. You know it’s true.

♥ Forgive the past. 

Sure they messed up. They may have messed up BIG, but forgive and believe God is able to work His plans and purposes in them. Believe in their hope-filled future.

♥ Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to.

Your adult children are on their own. Deeply personal questions can come with answers that make you uncomfortable. Do you really want to know about your child’s sex life? Finances? Or the details from last Saturday night? If they want to talk about it, be a good listener but don’t ask.

 Give your adult children room to grow and grow up.

Everyone changes. Admit it. You’re still growing and learning. You don’t have everything figured out. Neither do your children. But they’re learning and growing . . . that’s what’s important.

 Remember, it’s okay to say ‘no.’

They’re adults. You don’t have to say yes to every request for money or childcare or….

 Refuse to manipulate your adult children with guilt.

They didn’t call. It’s okay. Maybe they’re busy. Maybe they’re REALLY busy. Give them grace, then remember phones go both ways. Call them. Better yet, text them. It only takes a minute to type, “I love you.” And remember . . . it’s okay for them to say ‘no’ too.

 Give your adult children the freedom to make life choices.

Career? Where they’ll live? Who they date or marry? You know you have opinions, but it’s their life. Don’t pressure them or make them feel you’ll be disappointed in them or that you won’t be there for them if they choose “poorly.”

 Give your adult children freedom over the holidays.

Balancing relationships is challenging. Remember what it was like when you were trying to please your parents and your in-laws? Maybe you still are. It’s okay to celebrate on a day other than the holiday itself. The important thing is enjoying time together not when you do it.

 Give your adult children a verbal pat on the back. 

They still want to know you’re proud of them and think they’re doing a good job. Tell them. 

How to Love Your Adult Children Really Well - Here are a dozen tips to help you have the best relationship possible with your adult children! Tips that work for them and for you! #Children #Family #Parenting #CountingMyBlessings

 Respect their parenting decisions.

If they say no sugar don’t try to sneak your grandchild a cookie. If their boundaries are too rigid or not rigid enough for you they are the parents. You had your turn. And NEVER disagree with their parenting approach in front of your grandchild!

 Offer a listening ear with a tender heart.

They don’t always need advice. Most of the time they just need to know you care and that you’re listening. You don’t have to have all the answers. Just be available.

 Toughen up. Avoid giving in to hurt feelings.

They probably hurt your feelings occasionally when they lived at home and it’s possible they’ll say or do something that hurts after they’re grown. They’re not perfect. Neither are you. Let it slide.

 Respect their boundaries and expect them to respect yours.

Boundaries are good for all relationships. It’s important for parents and adult children to have boundaries too. Call before you drop in. Ask don’t expect. Define off-limits topics. And expect respectful conversations.

 Pray again. 

Life is moving at an amazing speed for your children. They need your prayers more than ever and more often than you think.

Let me be perfectly honest with you.

I didn’t get here quickly. You won’t either.

I spent the years raising our children completely invested. I gave it my all, and I in all honesty, I didn’t really want to let go.

But… it wasn’t about me.

It’s about allowing them to become and be the people God created them to be and sometimes the best way to do that is to simply get out of the way and let Him do His work.

Always remember…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

God will give you all you need to be the parents your adult children need. Remember He got you here. He got them here.

His grace really is sufficient!

Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.

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139 thoughts on “How to Love Your Adult Children Really Well

  1. Wonderful advice for dealing with and loving grown children, Deb. I especially took to heart praying for their specific needs. With regards to the rest of your suggestions here, I think I’m doing pretty well. My mother was very interfering in my teen and early adult life, and it was an emotional killer. I promised myself then that if I ever had children, I would give them lots of love but a respectful distance when they were grown.
    Blessings!

    1. Thanks, Martha. It’s funny isn’t it how some of our parenting decisions come from what we don’t want to repeat from our parents. And in every generation we’re all just doing the best we can at the moment. Oh my, how I need His grace. Blessings my friend!

  2. Deb, this is such great advice! As a mother of 7 grown children, I can agree wholeheartedly to what you share here. It’s not always easy to let go, but they do have to make their own way. I think it is so important to be available to listen when they want to talk, but not always be “giving advice” because that’s not always what they want. I know they never tire of hearing you say “I love you.” They may not always do what we think they should, but the best thing we can do for them is pray. I’m glad you emphasized that. God bless! I’m visiting from #LMMLinkup

    1. Thank you so much for affirming this list, Gayl. You definitely are coming from a place of experience. The best thing I remind myself of every day is entrusting them to God’s grace and mercy, and trusting His grace and mercy to cover the times I fail to follow my own advice.

  3. Smiled at #4. You really are a wise woman.
    I’m new to this business of having grown up boys, but I’m already seeing the blessing of it — the greatest of which is, of course, the grandboy!!

    1. Thanks, Michele. Yep . . . learned #4 the hard way when they were growing up. They all repeat it now to themselves and their friends. 🙂 Blessings!

    2. I had to go back and see what number for was. Yep, I remember telling my daughter when she was little and had been staying with her grandparents and learned how to drive a car at age 10, that there were some things she didn’t need to tell Mom. At that time it was because I trusted my father-in-law to keep her safe. But it follows through to today, there’s some things I really don’t want to know about my kids private lives.

      1. You’re right, Julie! I’m smiling though because this is one that sometimes has to be learned the hard way! I love that you say you weren’t worried because you trusted your father-in-law. What an awesome blessing! Thanks for this, I loved it! God bless you!

  4. What a wise post, Deb!
    Mine are just now getting to this age. And, I’m going to tuck this one away for the future!
    I’ll be sharing this one today!
    Sure am grateful for you!
    Melanie

    1. Oh, thank you, Melanie. It all comes with practice. I guess that’s most of parenting. Just learning along the way and praying always. Enjoy every day with your growing young adults. Blessings my friend!

  5. Deb, what a great list! My girls aren’t adults yet, but I can see those years in the not-so-distant future. My husband and I have been blessed to see your list put into action by our parents, so we will try to honor the example set for us. I especially “amen” #9. The “holiday shuffle” has been a challenge for my husband and me as adult children, and I SO want to make this area as easy as possible for my girls. Anyway, I’m rambling. Great list. Pinning for future reference!

    1. You are blessed to have parents that modeled giving you space and freedom to be yourselves. And yes, the holidays can be tricky. We don’t have a huge group to coordinate and that makes it easier. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Elizabeth.

  6. #6 is difficult sometimes. Mine don’t ask too often, so I feel I should always say yes, even if it creates extra challenges. I know they would respect a “no” so thanks for the reminder!

    1. It’s hard to say ‘no’ Lisa. And I’ll admit that even those times we’ve said no I can get a knot in my stomach. But one thing we do that helps is to ask for time to think and pray about it. That gives us the opportunity to get on the same page and pray about what’s best not just what’s easy. Blessings to you my friend!

    1. Thank you, Christina. Well, you’re starting to get lots of opportunities to put this list into practice. Just remember, it’s gradual. You don’t have to get it all at once and there is always grace for the times you forget. I know I don’t follow it perfectly. Blessings!

  7. Deb, Great insights on parenting adult children!

    One of the hardest pieces of advice I was given by a Pastor, but in the end turned out to be the best, was that for 18 years we raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, after that we need to let them go, and trust in the Lord to work out the seeds you planted those 18 years with our continued prayers as the “watering can”.

    I have also learned with my adult children that “less is more” when it comes to certain responses. It seems it is actually the things I “don’t say” that in the end have the most positive impact.

    Thanks for sharing this edifying post. 🙂

    1. You’re right, Karen. Listening has become much more important that advice. Most of the advice I’d given they’ve heard before anyway. In face, when I’m a patient listener they usually repeat that advice back to me themselves. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  8. Deb! I LOVE this! I agree with everything here, only I’m in the beginning stages and needed your wisdom, so thank you for giving it – I’m on the right track, it’ looks like! Especially love the concepts of not guilting them and also toughening up (I have a real problem with that but am working on it)!

    I want to feature this next week on Tuesday Talk on my blog so be looking for it and thanks so much for stopping by! Love this.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, Ruthie! And congratulations on your newest little one. She is beautiful! You’re getting lots of practice to apply that loving well. Blessings to you my friend!

  9. Very inspiring and important list. My adult children each have unique issues and stages of success in their life. Prayer is so important in all areas. Thanks for sharing on Literacy Musing Mondays.

  10. What a beautiful picture and amazing post, Deb! I love all of the advice you offered here. It can be hard for both parties knowing the balance of the adult child and parent relationship. I’m so glad you shared with #SocialButterflySunday! I hope you will join the link up again this week! Blessings 🙂

  11. Hey Deb,

    I had a really tough day, and this post (and a good cry) is exactly what I needed. I book marked this page on Friday with the intent to read it when time permitted, but I knew today was the day.

    You’re entire list is so real – but today, I suffered from #13! Boy, did I get my feelings hurt! Parenting is tough to begin with, and now that my kids are 18, 20, and 21, I feel like I’m parenting all over again!

    They say I smother…I say I’m loving. They say to “back off” – sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively. I go and cry in the corner. But reading your article has confirmed what was already in my heart (boy, how did you get all of this wisdom?), I have to let up and loosen the reigns. It’s just tough feeling like I’m not wanted or needed as much. Why do I always have to learn the hard way?!

    Anyway, EVERYTHING you said here really ministered to me and I really learned from it. I think I’ll print this out and sleep with it under my pillow! :o)

    Thanks for writing to help all of us moms. (I shared this on facebook.)

    Blessing,
    Tiffiney

    1. Oh Tiffiney, Thank you for stopping to say ‘hello’ and share what’s on your heart. I’m so glad this blessed you and remember, I said I didn’t get here quickly. The only thing I will add, is if your kids are still living at home you are entitled to more input. At those late high-school and college ages they want all of the adult freedom while still living under the complete safety of home. So, there has to be more give and take. We’ve had a couple of times when our adult children lived at home for one reason or another and they knew that some of the old rules still applied. It all stems from mutual respect for each other.

      Hang in there Mom, I’m sure you’re doing a great job and you will get there. Melanie Redd has written a couple of great posts on late high-shool/college parenting. You may want to check them out. Blessings and prayers!

      1. I agree that there are too many who think once our kids are adults in the eyes of the law (age 18) they all of a sudden are not under our authority (so I disagree with the pastor mentioned in the comment further up). My attitude is that until my kids were paying all their own bills, they aren’t “adults.” Now understand, as my three grown children were very mature, I allowed freedom as I saw they were ready. They didn’t have to account for their whereabouts every minute, but I did have the right to ask. And they were very much expected to help out around the house (with chores and even, at times, buying groceries) because they all lived at home while they went to college…and beyond. Those oldest three are all in their own homes now: 2 are married (one, my daughter, gave me an adorable grandson January 1st), one is engaged. So naturally…it’s their life now. I tend to only give advice when asked. I will say…I’m hurting right now big-time. My two oldest boys both lived at home until moving out around 2 and 1/2 years ago. Unfortunately, they both moved hundreds of miles away because of work (one is a Marine, the other works for the DOD). I homeschooled all my kids through high school, had my 3 oldest home while they went to college. My boys were just home for Thanksgiving, but between spouses and fiance being here, and all the general busyness, I had little quality time with them. I don’t think…actually, I know, that our kids don’t realize how much we still need THEM. It’s a true cliche that we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone and what I’m alluding to is, I wonder when I’m gone will my kids be saying, “I wish we had spent more time with mom?” Like you, I invested myself into my kids in spades when they were growing up, not with the idea that they would owe me (though, in a sense, they do) but because I LOVED having my kids here. I was not prepared to have my boys hundreds of miles away. Seeing them a few times a year, for a few days at at time, if I’m lucky. When they don’t call (and I do have to be the one who does the calling 98% of the time) it hurts. Anyway, that’s my story. I’ve been on a crying jag ever since they left on Sunday. And I know I’m grieving and will be for a while because, bottom line, these changes are permanent. Meanwhile, I have my youngest at home still. I’m homeschooling him and while he’ll be attending college in the fall, he’ll still be at home until he graduates, for that I thank God. I also have the aforementioned grandson…and my daughter is the only one of my grown children who lives close by so I babysit him once a week, and that is a joy! But it doesn’t, and can’t, make up for the emptiness I feel missing my boys.

        1. Anne, thank you for this … for your honesty and openness. I think you are speaking for countless moms here. Our children may or may not ever know how much we pour ourselves into raising them. I also completely agree with what you said about 18+ age children who still live at home. It’s a respect thing. Our children knew that it was important to respect the rules of the house as long as they chose to live there. I think respect is a very important part of parenting … because it should be an important part of how we treat people in general. I’m praying for you and for your family! God bless you!

  12. I read this article from the other side- an adult child trying to navigate relationships with parents and in laws. This list is amazing. It made me feel like my difficulties with parents/in laws are normal, and made me remember again that they are human too and this is a new season of life for them too!

    1. It very much is a new season. Please don’t forget…your parents need you as much as you ever needed them. You have no idea how much it means to a parent of a grown child when your child calls. We don’t want to interfere or tell you how to live your life…but we do want to know what’s going on in your life…we want to hear your voice! You just don’t know how much that means and won’t until you are in our shoes. So call your parents. Make sure they know how much you appreciate all they did for you. 🙂

  13. As an adult child I can’t tell you what blessing #10 can be. A compliment said out loud can make such a difference. I think I fell in love with my friends mother in law because she was generous with her praise. We all adored her and felt seen.

    1. I am so glad you had a great encourager in your life. The great thing when we’re paying attention there is almost always something to compliment. Some small thing that helps the other person know they are cared for and loved. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Blessings to you!

  14. What great advice. I already do most of this, but it’s nice to hear it from another mother. Raising children was tough, but sometimes being the parent of an adult child is tough in its own way. I have two daughters whom I love very much, they are very different and I have to deal with each of them on their own terms. I do a lot of listening and not much advice giving unless asked. I love them and pray for them always. Thank you for a great post and a great blog, I’m glad I found you, Suzy

  15. thank you … for your wise words, and all the encouragement I have been reading on this lovely site. I appreciate you sharing God’s word for me to hear today. Thank you for being out there, somewhere, out there in this beautiful sometimes very frightening world. You have reminded me that I am not alone. I will be praying for the requests that I have read as well. Blessings to you, enjoy the SONshine, Jayne

  16. One of the best articles I’ve ever read! Such wonderful and complete advice – and I especially love how you started & ended with praying for your adult children and their families as prayer should always be Plan A.
    God’s richest blessings to you & yours,
    Jewel

    1. Oh wow, thank you for your kind encouragement, Jewel! Things I’ve learned in the trenches. And the main thing I learned is pray, pray, and then pray some more. Blessings to you!

  17. Thank You. Thank you for your honesty, and your peace filled and encouraging words. This “momma of a teenager” so needed this today. Seeking His will for her above my own, and trusting HIm to deliver.
    Thank you for sharing the hard stuff.

    1. Amanda, You are definitely in the trenches! Hang in there and pray, pray, pray. That’s the best advice I can give parents. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to say hello. God’s blessings to you!

  18. Deb, i need help . My daughter is 27 and at times immature. she thinks at times in still ” suppose to do ” it frustrate me to no avail. I try to do what is suggested. But im pulled in different ways. She is sick terminally and i think i still try n do beyond boundaries because of her life threatening issues.
    Help me sweet baby Jesus…
    Peace
    VKM

    1. I’m praying for you, V. Sometimes circumstances make it hard for us to function in the ideal. And truthfully even when we do, we’re just doing the best we can with God’s help. Praying He gives you all the strength and wisdom you need for every moment. Blessings and thank you so much for stopping to share your story with me.

  19. Deb, I am so glad I found your site. I really needed this advice. My husband has said some of these things for a while. I guess I just needed to hear it from another Mom.

  20. I want to tuck away these amazing nuggets of wisdom! My littles are still little, but they’ll be grown before I know it. My own parents and inlaws are following so many of the things you listed here, and it’s been wonderful.

  21. Good stuff! I have a young adult and will admit it has been a challenge for me to let go of the reins in areas I should. Each stage of parenting comes with challenges. While my young adult son is not married he is flying solo in many ways. I’m learning to be thankful for his abilities and confidence and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! I will hold on to these words of wisdom as I venture further into life with an adult. Thank you!

  22. Thank you for this amazing article. I feel as if it were written just for me and it’s exactly what I needed to read. Everything is spot on with what is in my heart that I could not put into words.

    1. Pennie, Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and let me know this blessed you! I’ll bet you have a great relationship with your children! God bless you!

  23. Thank you! I wish more people felt this way, especially my family. I’m 36 and I feel like my whole life has been built on guilt and shame. My mother is getting better at this, but my grandmother is a tyrant. It’s awful. Nothing we do is right and everything is about her. She passes this along to my sister’s children and my children. It gets to the point where I dont want them around her. She makes us all feel terrible about the way we are because it’s not exactly the way she wants it. She’s never told me she’s proud of me, ever. I could go on with examples.
    I wish I could make her read this, but I know that wouldn’t go well.
    I just wanted to say that this is beautiful and it’s nice to know that at least some people out there are doing the right thing. I guess it just doesn’t occur to some.
    I plan to break the cycle. These are words to live by. Thank you!

    1. Jenn, thanks so much for visiting and for stopping to say “hello.” I’m so glad your mother wants a better relationship with her children and that you want to break the cycle of negativity in your family. It’s a life-long effort but I’ve learned that mutual respect and kindness work best in families and friendships. We moved last year, and now we only live a half-block away from each other. The truth… the principles still apply! God’s blessings to you and your family!

    2. Jenn,

      I grew up in a house with a Mom who was 100% German, and yelled a lot. She didn’t talk, she yelled. She was basically raising the 5 of us kids on her own, so I guess it put quite a strain on her. My Dad was always working out of state and was only home on the weekends. I didn’t receive praise growing up and felt invisible. I am proud to say I have two grown children, a daughter 38 and a son, 28. I was a single Mom but worked extremely hard to ensure that my kids felt loved and had my attention. I read to them every night before bed, we sang songs, we laughed and I loved being their Mom. My daughter lives approx 1000 miles away, and my son in about an hour away. It’s been a tough adjustment for me. The empty nest is no joke. I pray for my adult children and my two grandchildren, who are 19 and 16 and for many others. I‘ve learned to enjoy the texts and chats I have on the phone with them, and have learned to relax and just let them be. Thank you for your beautiful post. I am saving it. Sherry

      1. Sherry, I love your comment. My mother-in-love was German as well. So I giggled as I read your thoughts about your mom. But I loved my MIL so much. She was so very good to me. I love the relationship you describe with your children. And I so appreciate your kind words of encouragement. Thank you! And God bless you!

  24. Great advice……i have done most of this, and continue to be there for them. Not needed so much anymore. I enjoy them when they let me.

    1. I think it’s what we do, Marion! It’s definitely a process learned over time because it’s hard to go from full-time mom mode but I’m learning to think of them as friends as well as my children. Thanks for stopping by and for adding your thoughts. God bless you!

  25. What about adult children over 18 but haven’t left home… where do you define letting them make decisions about their life even if it’s different than what you have raised them..not wrong but different? How do you get past the worry of them being independent while at home and still setting those boundaries?

    1. Sally, What a great question! I wanted to take a few days to think about my answer. I don’t know if you ever stop worrying about your children. Ours are grown and live independently and this momma’s heart is still always concerned about their well-being. So, I pray every day … asking God to place people around them who will encourage them with His truth. It’s not easy to let them make independent decisions especially when they differ from what we would do. I try to remind myself that my parents probably felt exactly the same way. And then I pray some more!

      As far as boundaries go … that is where we drew the line as parents. Our children knew that our house rules didn’t change as they grew up. They needed to be contributing members of the household. They weren’t free to treat our home as their personal apartment – free to come and go without keeping us informed as to their plans. It was and still is important that we are all respectful of each other and working together. If that doesn’t work for them and they’re adults, we felt it was time for them to consider getting a place of their own. I’ll admit, it’s tough! But it really is a matter of respect. We were respectful of their right to grow up and live their own lives but respect needed to be mutual and that means being part of the team when you live with us. God bless you! Praying you are all able to find that boundaries and balance you need.

  26. Please pray for me over this issue. I made terrible mistakes as a parent, the biggest one being that I stayed in an abusive marriage for ten years and I fear the kids learned bad behaviors by seeing that situation (they still seek approval from my abuser). Two of my five adult kids have moved out of state and the others live over an hour away so I rarely see them or my grand-kids. The holidays are especially hard for me. I get sad for no apparent reason other than I feel forgotten. I know, as a Christian, I’m not supposed to worry too much about this world but it gets to me around the holidays. I don’t feel like a mom anymore, more like a distant aunt or neighbor. Thanks for your prayers.

    1. I am so very sorry, T. There are no perfect parents. We all make mistakes. And we all need grace and forgiveness … parents and children. I’m praying for you and asking God to be with you all and heal your relationships with your children. God bless you!

  27. Thank you for these wise words.
    I’d appreciate prayers for our middle son, Josiah, who is not following the Lord.
    Thank you and God bless you all and your families.

  28. deb, what great advice! i especially like the one about hurt feelings! just b/c my feelings are hurt, doesn’t mean i have to share it. i’m a grown-up too. there are times when i need to deal with my own feelings and not imprison my kids with my feelings of being hurt. over the years i have seen many christian families held hostage to the mom’s feelings. it is an ugly mess. (my husband was a pastor for 40+ years.) we all have the same heavenly Father who can care for us. sometimes we do need to talk to our kids, or individual ones, when we are having a problem. if there is a consistent area where we are being hurt. maybe we need to speak up…carefully, wisely, factually. We just need to be careful about sharing our hurts. first go to GOD.

    1. Amen, Martha! Great advice. I always love hearing from fellow pastor’s wives! I’m praying for you and asking God to bless you and your family in the days ahead!

    1. I’m so sorry, Nancy! It is so painful to be rejected by a child. I recently read a devotion by Elizabeth Elliot that is helping me. She wrote, “The Lord wants us to commit, to trust, and to rest. He says, ‘Leave your child to me this afternoon. There is nothing else that I am asking of you today but that. Leave your child to Me. You cannot fathom all that is taking place. You don’t need to. I am at work—in you, in him/her. Leave them to Me. Some day it will come clear—trust me.” I carry those words with me. I pray they bless you as they have blessed me. I’m praying for you.

  29. Really great advice, especially about the praying part. We pray for so many people and often forget to pray for our spouses, children, ourselves and to be very specific in our praying when need be. Wonderful you mentioned “War Room”. Need to see that again. We have one son and he has moved far from us. He’s married to a girl who is perfectly lovely albeit very different than me. She seems to have a number of issues and it’s been bumpy past 4-5 years. Remembering to pray for this new marriage is a MUST! Dad and I are figuring out how to stay out of the way as we were always so close; stay out of the way and let God. They are good kids; truly they are. They have found good jobs, church, making a life. The empty nest for an aging set of parents is difficult….trying to figure out our way through the rest of it too. Thanks for the advice and the reminders.

    1. Thank you, Tami! Each stage is an adventure, isn’t it? I truly am blessed by your encouragement. I am learning to pray and trust God more and try to “fix” less. It’s not always easy … just ask my kids. But I believe entrusting them to the Lord in prayer is the most important thing we can do for them. God bless you! Thanks so much for visiting and for stopping to say “hello.”

    2. Great article! Thank you! But it grows nebulous when your child declares themselves to be neither a man nor a woman, changes their name to the name of a type of truck, insists on being referred to as “xey, xem, and xeir”, gets a job at your husband’s company through your husband, saves up money and then makes arrangements at a gender clinic to have breast removal using your own insurance on which they are listed. We do not know where to turn nor what to do for help. There just are not Christian resources out there to tell us whether to drop our child from our insurance, for example, to avert or put off this bodily mutation till they at least reach the age of 25 when the brain is fully-grown.

      I’m new to your blog and so appreciate seeing that you take the time to reply to every comment. I see your replies and I have never before seen a blogger reply to each comment, which is an indication of how very difficult it must be to actually keep up with it. God bless you! Looking forward to your future posts!

      1. Thank you! I so appreciate your kind encouragement. You are definitely in the midst of a very difficult situation. And your question is a tough one. I so wish I had an answer for you. I can understand your inclination drop your child from your insurance to try to prevent your child from moving forward with this and yet, I can see where you would be concerned about the possibility of your child needing healing insurance for any other illness that could arise. I am praying for you and asking God to give you wisdom. I am also asking Him to intervene in your child’s life and place a pause on this decision. I am asking Him to be your encouragement and give you his peace. God be with you and bless you.

  30. So awesome Deb! My sister shared this with me. I raised 4 children with God’s help only (single mom) prayed for them, took them to church, several were church youth group leaders. But, of my four, now in their twenties, only one is following the Lord. I loved War room also (3 times) and am praying that God will do the work only He can do and that He will take my anxious thoughts. May God bless you richly for sharing this!

  31. Thank you so for the great advice. I have three of the greatest daughters a Mom could ever hope for. I was not the best Mom either I was young when we started a family so I was trying to grow up too and they got the worst in of the deal. Just a year a go I lost my best friend of 43 years my husband. These girls did not leave me alone one minute and I love them for that and I told them all the time. At some point I forgot that they have their own lives and they need to get to their families. I cannot expect them them always to be able there for me besides that I have to get use to my new normal.
    Thank you for the good words and just the things that we all knew but have forgotten.

    1. Darlene, What a blessing to have your daughters there for you during your time of grief. And what a wise mom you are to recognize their needs. They are blessed and I can tell they are a wonderful blessing for you! Thanks so much for visiting, for your encouragement, and for sharing your story with us. God bless you!

  32. Thank you for this article. It’s perfect but hard to follow. Our 20 yo is in college and ‘off the reservation’ spiritually. She is making some poor choices & it’s been very hard not to meddle, make my judgements known etc. I pray for her regularly & try to just love her where she’s at. I don’t know how she’s ended up so lost and now her 15 yo sister, who idolizes her, is following in her foot steps. How do I set up a lifestyle that encourages growth in faith without pushing her further into rebellion? The 15 yo is rigid, irritable, hard to reach and I don’t want to sacrifice what little relationship we have by forcing her to do things like go to YL or youth groups etc. Help. I need wisdom, guidance and a backbone. Lol. I should mention there’s a 10 yo watching all of this too.

    1. Oh, Robin, that is a tough one and something with which many families struggle. I remember when our children were that age, I kept searching for the right things to do and say to “fix” it. I ultimately learned that prayer was the most important thing I could do for my children. I’m asking God to work in your children’s lives, surround them with people who will point them to His love and truth, and safely guide them to make wise choices. God bless you!

  33. I’d like to be able to send this to a parent who is a narc and hasn’t been there for much of my childhood. He found me this year on a website. He says he doesn’t know how to be a father. However I went no contact due to his manipulative ways. So I just emailed this article to myself in hopes of he can come back and behave I will send to him. Thanks for the article.

  34. Thank you so much for this article. It has helped me tremendously. My situation is a little unusual in the fact that our out of town child wants to keep a close relationship and actually calls quite frequently to talk, but feels no need to keep us connected to their children (our grandchildren) and we don’t have much of a relationship with them long distance. We would love to, but our child doesn’t see the need and we don’t want to “beg” to please talk to the grandchildren or facetime with them and we don’t want to invite ourselves to visit them. We are trying to show respect and not interfere. We feel we are losing contact with our grandchildren and we struggle with the pain of that while maintaining the relationship with our child.

    1. I’m praying for you, Angela, and asking God to give you His peace and help you discover ways to stay connected with your grandchildren. God bless you and hold you close.

  35. I’m weeping as I read this. My oldest daughter is 18. She’s in college and living with us but we are now moving 3 hrs away and she is staying. We have always been so close and she is a truly amazing human being. I didn’t fear the early adult independence phase so much. Now we are here and she is pushing me away. Stretching her wings and making decisions outside of what her values have been. I have been trying the “mouth shut and welcome mat out” approach but Oooohhh. Eeeemmmm. Geeeeee…. My feelings are, admittedly, hurt a lot but when you said get out of the way and let G-d do His work, my tears let me know a deeper place of letting go of this little girl, now woman, that I have watched over so carefully. Thank you for sharing this wisdom.

    1. Anna, letting go is hard, isn’t it? Our children moved to various parts of the country when they became adults. I’m praying for you and asking God to hold you close and give you His peace. I’m also asking Him to prompt your daughter to remain close to you and that you will find lots of ways to keep in the relationship close even at a distance. God bless you!

  36. My mom was a believer, and my dad came to faith later. The two greatest gifts my parents ever gave me when I became an adult were not asking when I was getting married and when would they become grandparents. I never married and they never became grandparents. I became a missionary. They never complained. NEVER. My parents were the ultimate reality-facers. They didn’t try to fix my problems. They didn’t give me unsolicited advice. They raised me to stand on my own. When I left for college my dad said, “Do yourself a favor and don’t come home until Thanksgiving.” He wanted me to learn to solve my own problems, gain confidence and begin the journey into adulthood. I am so grateful. He helped me to become a God-confident person. What agift.

    1. P.J. – what a beautiful tribute to your parents. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It sounds like the Lord gifted your parents with wisdom. May He bless you as you serve Him in ministry and share His love with others.

  37. I am in the pits of despair today, and I know God led me to this blog.
    My daughter and I were so very close her entire life! I homeschooled my children and brought them up knowing the Lord and His unfailing love. My husband walked out on his entire family after 25 years together, and I believe it devastated my daughter even more than it did me. She has completely fallen away from the Lord. She has taken the place of my ex-husband and has become my abuser. She doesn’t even see it. I keep praying that God will bring reconciliation. She is a single mom now, and I have been her only help with two special needs children. She has a new boyfriend, has only known him nine months, and I believe he is abusive to my grandchildren. They have both told me things. So…the day after Thanksgiving, after I had witnessed what I thought was excessive disciplining when he had too many beers, I took my daughter aside and expressed my concerns. She has now told me that she and her boyfriend have decided I can no longer see my grandchildren. I have picked them up from school every day since they started school. One is in second grade and the other is in first. I have had them almost every weekend for the past five years. I feel like I can’t breathe. I feel like a part of me is missing. I know God is in control and I am trying to leave it at His feet. I keep asking God to get me through just one more hour! I am devastated, and fearful for my grandchildren. I NEED PRAYER!!!

    1. Linda, I am so very very sorry. You are in a difficult and painful situation. I am praying for you … asking God to protect your grandchildren and restore your relationship with your family. I love that He is the God of the possible when our circumstances are overwhelming and feel impossible. God be with you and bless you.

  38. I pray constantly for my adult son! While growing up in a Christian home (church every week), our family was so close doing everything together. Two years ago, he moved to another state and then he announces that he is gay. Being his mom, I cannot lie to him and tell him he is ok. The lifestyle he has chosen to be a part of is clearly defined in the Bible as an abomination unto the Lord. Our family and extended family is devastated (to say the least) because we haven’t seen or heard from him in almost 3 years. He has blocked our calls, texts, emails, he won’t talk to us in any way. I have written letters in which I have explained my beliefs (according to God’s word) and have ended it as “we can just agree to disagree”. Honestly, it is like a death in our family. Having someone in your life for all the years of his life and then…not. I pray daily for my son to one day (once again) find the Lord and live according to his will. I pray that he find the Lord, even if he may never find me again. I just want my son to one day go to heaven and I am so afraid that the path he is on will not get him there. I love my son with all my heart, but do not agree nor support his decisions. He sees this as hate and if he only could see that this is part of my true love for him that I will not “tell him what he wants to hear”…My conviction with the word of God tells me to be honest and truthful with him and that’s what I have tried to do…..and now he is completely estranged. I am truly at a loss! I love my son and miss him dearly….but I can’t lie to him and tell him he is ok. He calls me judgmental and a hater. I am neither! I am just pointing out to him what the Bible says and will not waver because of the love I have for him. Please pray for him and for our family and any advice is appreciated.

    1. Oh, Kaye, I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling. I can tell how very much you love your son. I am praying for you and for your son. I asking the Lord to give you His peace and hope. And I am asking Him to surround your son who will gently point him to the truth … that the Lord will grab him with His grace, mercy, and love. I shared this quote with another commenter the other day. It is something that has truly blessed and helped me.

      Elisabeth Elliot wrote…

      “Leave him to me this afternoon. You cannot fathom all that is taking place. You don’t need to. I am at work—in you, in him. Leave him to me. Some day it will come clear—trust me.”

      She added – Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you [and your child]. 1 Peter 5:6–7

      God bless you!

  39. Hi Deb,
    What a great list of advice! Today I was blessed to stumble upon your website and felt rejuvenated about God’s love for us. We have 4 children ages from 26 thru 18 and I am in the process of letting go everyday….

    1. Thank you, Chau. I think your statement is true for life in general. We are all in the process of growing and growing up, letting go and trusting the Lord. I am so very thankful for His grace and mercy … and for His patience. God bless you!

  40. Great read! As an only child, I was blessed when God brought me the BEST husband! We met in college and we were a super match! My husband grew up in a “home for fatherless boys,” after his Dad passed away when Bob was only 4 years old. He received a great education and became a wonderful husband and Dad to our 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter! We are now in our Senior years and, with Bob being 7 years older, every day is a blessing. We have enjoyed our children and 5 grandchildren to the moon and back, and I am so thankful for God’s grace and mercies! I have learned to support my children and their spouses in their decisions, even when I might have a different idea! Our children and grandchildren have made us so proud and we are thankful for the lives they live every day. God is so good and He is worshipped by our children just as we tried to raise them. What an awesome God we serve!

    1. What a beautiful comment, Carolyn! My husband’s father left their family when he was 12 years old. And he too has been and continues to be the best husband and father. I feel so very blessed and thankful. May the Lord continue to bless you and your family!

  41. I totally love this article. I gave three grown kids. Each a little different. Lately the one thing I do the most fir my kids is pray. Pray during their hard times the most but always praying.

    1. Thank you, Carol! I am at a place where I totally believe that prayer is the most important thing we can do for our children and for our lives in general. It helps us surrender ourselves and understand our dependence on the Lord! So thankful that in all things … His grace is sufficient. God bless you!

  42. You are so right. I wrote three books about how to influence adult children and model behavior for them, just like I did while they grew up. It is painful when they leave, but we have opportunities of a lifetime to fulfill our own lives. Thanks for this wonderful blog. I still struggle with this overwhelmingly free life I now have, but I want to continue showing the kids how best to live.

    1. Sherry, Thank you! You’re right … even those of us who write, maybe especially those of us who write, understand the challenges of what we write about. Thank you for your honesty and for your kind encouragement. God bless you!

  43. Love, love, love this! As I read it, I just couldn’t wait to share. I shared on my personal FB page. I’m also our church Secretary, and I posted it there. I said if you’re a parent you need to read. If you have a parent you need to read 😉. Such valuable info and what we should all strive to be like. I’m a fan of yours from here on out!

    1. Joyce, your comment is a wonderful blessing! Thank you so much for your kind encouragement! Wow! I’m a little speechless and that is a rarity! God bless you!

  44. Ah, but you do have advice to give, and good advice. All of our children are adults now, and the transition isn’t always easy, but it is so rewarding now to have them as friends. That can happen when we give them the training when they are young and then the space when they are older to live the lives we trained them for (as best we could and knew how).

    Good post.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Warren! Yes, giving them space to be themselves is important. I also like your qualifier “as best we could and knew how.” That’s all we can do and it’s humbling, isn’t it? Thanks again and God bless you!

  45. I agree with all of this! I also try and remind myself that each of my adult children are unique and sometimes I have to adjust my approach and my responses accordingly. Thank you for a great article. Prayers.

    1. What a great point, Carolyn! Celebrating their uniqueness is a wonderful gift we can give our children. Thanks so much for your kindness. God bless you!

  46. Deb,
    This hit me hard. I have 2 boys definitely different from eachother. I help my youngest out prob6more than I should financially. I think I have a right to tell him lovingly about needing to walk his talk. I pay a couple bills for him and at times he can pay me for them. I can see his checking account. I see him being wasteful. I told him come the new year he will be heading to the age of 28 that I will no longer pay for those things. That being said. I know I should him live and learn. One of those things I pay is his car ins. He doesn’t pay all his bills on time and i know Car ins will cancel policies. Do I quit helping him so he will learn. I did learn not to hold what I do over his head. When he was a teen I made that mistake. I know if I help out I may never get reimbursed and I have accepted that. He doesn’t live in my home. He is trying to bounce back from a long term relationship break up and a loss of a job. But this bounce back from a loss of a job is not the first time. He is a good young man that makes some choices that are hard for me to take. If you and your readers could pray for God to show me the way amd for me to listen to what His will is. IF you or others have gone through this how did you handle it and or make it through. Thank you for your wise words. I pray God shows me the way.

    1. Oh, Chris, I’m sorry! That is a very difficult situation. I am praying for you and asking God to give you wisdom. I’m also asking Him to work in your son’s heart and mind that He might receive the Lord’s truth not just for eternity but also for daily living. May the Lord bless you and give you His peace.

  47. Deb,
    Thank you for this insightful post! I am in the process of trying to navigate “parenting” my biological child from a first marriage and my two stepsons from my current marriage. The boys are Christians which helps bunches. My daughter accepted Christ as a youngster but now seems to have fallen away due to disillusionment experienced in college. I will take your words to heart and bless you for sharing your wisdom.
    Hugs and blessings~

    1. Thank you for visiting and for stopping to join the conversation, Cricket! You are in the thick of parenting. May God encourage you and bless you as you love on your children and point them toward the Lord. God bless you! Thank you also for your encouragement, it blessed me!

  48. How to pray your grown children accept your changes. Yes I’m divorced, not once but twice from there dad, I honestly tried. I remarried a man older by 25 years and was blessed with good 9 years of love, he was Italian, sicilian and had his temper and yes there was too much shared around the table but equally on all parties who were present.
    He is gone now, it was his wish I move on, and I need to. I didn’t have great success at first but I’ve found a wonderful man that will be with me and his 81 yr old mother has become a friend and they only have his brother and wife. I pray that my 6 daughters, there spouses will one day see that life changes and Christ is the one who welcomes all with love and peace.

    Isn’t this what the season is all about? Please pray with me.

  49. Hello, Any advice on non believing adult children? Also, advice on small grandchildren not raised in a Christian home. Thanks

    1. Rhonda, my best advice is to pray for them and continue to show them His love. If they are open at all – just share how the Lord is working in your life … even with your grandchildren. I always pray that God will place people around my children and grandchildren that will point them to Him and assure them of how very much He loves them. God bless you! I’m praying for you all.

  50. What a great thing to read this morning! A sweet friend forwarded this to me, we often share how hard it is to be parents of adult children. I think the hardest thing for me to learn was surrendering my vision of what I wanted for my children as young adults. We want so much for our children, we pour so much love and effort into raising them, that watching them make choices on their own is hard. I have had lots of heart to heart talks with God and know that learning to “surrender all” is what He is calling me to do. Instead of praying and telling God what I want for my adult children, I’m learning to pray for God’s will, trusting that God loves my children more than I could ever even comprehend. God has a plan for each of our children. I pray that my adult children will be open to letting God direct their paths and follow Him always. Thank you so much for your wisdom here, so many great points! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Blessing to you!

    1. Thank you, Sandra! And a thank you to your friend! I completely agree with you and pray along with you! Thank you so much for visiting and for stopping to join the conversation! God’s blessings!

  51. Wonderful advise! One of the best prayers I prayed for my grown children was for solid churches and Godly mentors. God graciously provided both in ways I could not have ever imagined. We raise them to leave and it is so much easier knowing God is always with them. 😊

    1. What a wonderful prayer, Laura! And I’m praising God that He blessed it so beautifully! It is a blessing to know how much the Lord loves our children. It helps as we watch them grow up and entrust them to His care. Thanks for your kind encouragement. God bless you!

  52. Just read this article. It is a very good perspective. I’ve been an empty nester for over a year, and just recently brought my mom to live with me as she fell and is not able to care for herself at her home. Changes, changes! Praise the Lord, He is able and willing to help us through all these changes. They are part of His plan. David said, “He maketh my way perfect”. What?! That was after a lot had happened in David’s life. Yet, it was still true! Love how God is ever working on, in and through us! Navigating our relationships can be tough, but oh, so rewarding. Day by day…searching out the blessings, and finding them through His grace!

    1. Oh, Vickie, thank you for sharing this. When I wrote this post, I was thinking about it mostly from the parent’s perspective but I love your insight from a child’s viewpoint. And I love your heart and the beautiful way you are leaning into the Lord. What a blessing for all of us here. God bless you!

  53. This has truly Blessed me today! Thank you SO much for all the beautiful, loving advice. Parenting is SO hard in todays world! I have made so many mistakes along the way but I am thankful that I serve a lovely God who is filled with Grace!

    1. Thank you, DeAnna! I agree. Relationships are full of challenges and it’s true … it is probably not getting any easier. Praise God, He gives us strength and encourages us with His love! With His help, we can love like Jesus. I appreciate your visit and your kind encouragement. God bless you!

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