Loving our Troubled Adult Children with Open Arms

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).

As we walk the journey to set healthy boundaries and find sanity in challenging relationships with troubled adult children, I can’t stress enough the need to be strong in our convictions—strong and loving. We need to learn about our own choices—and how we must change our responses to the choices our troubled adult children make. We need to learn that we can’t change our kids—and the fact is they may never change. It’s a sad thing to acknowledge—but it may be true. However, the opposite may be true as well. When we follow God’s Word to love within His established boundaries and develop a backbone that is firm, straight and loving, there’s no telling how it may change the people we love.

And we do love them. No matter how angry they make us. No matter how they break our hearts. That’s why we’ve made so many poor enabling choices along the road. But no more. Our enabling days are behind us. We’ve learned we are not bad parents if we say, “no” with firmness and love and “yes” with honest authenticity. We’ve learned the critical need to be strong and loving at the same time.

Throughout Scripture, the Lord was often quite firm in the lessons he taught his followers. But His firm hand came with a loving heart.

I know what it feels like to want the pain to stop—to want to turn away from my son and never have to deal with his poor choices and chaotic issues ever again. But he’s my son, and I love him. Yet that doesn’t mean I have to accept his choices with open arms, nor does it mean I have to bear the acute financial responsibility for them. Holding our children accountable and allowing them to accept the consequences of their actions is one of the most loving things we can do.

It can be a life-changing moment when we realize that our troubled adult children may need to walk their own Damascus roads to be the people God intends for them to be. We can love them with open arms and an open heart—and trust that God is in the ultimate control and He has a plan far greater than we can ever imagine.


Allison Bottke is an award-winning, bestselling author of over 30 non-fiction books, including the Setting Boundaries® book series from Harvest House Publishers. Her next book will release in November 2018, titled; How to Connect with Your Troubled Adult Children. Visit: www.AllisonBottke.com

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