When our kids are little they can say some embarrassing things that we often tout as cute, or we just laugh it off. As they grow older the embarrassing things are often explained away as well they are in junior high or they are in high school. We enter a whole new dynamic when they become adults. They are no longer in our home and we aren’t in a position to explain their behavior away any longer. They are off living their lives and with the aid of social media what they do becomes very public.
I have experienced or know mothers who have watched their children get caught doing drugs, display their drunkenness online, Snapchat partial nudity, have affairs, lose jobs, lie, steal, cheat, have poor work ethics, forsake everything they were taught and their family values. Their actions are public and they often flaunt their behavior as a badge of honor for their new found freedom in the world. Parents are left to deal with their disappointment, shame, and embarrassment privately while being expected to provide continuous love and support for their wayward children. In fact their children often expect it and get upset if love and support are withheld. They can become enraged if parents try to speak truth into their life and go as far as cutting them off.
So what do we do? Let’s try by realizing a few things.
1. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. ALL. We have right. I never realized what I put my mother through until I started experiencing the roller coaster of parenting adult children. Watching children act in ways that are totally foreign to the way we raised them is difficult. When they are home they can still shame us by misbehaving at school, the way they handle friends, getting in trouble with law, getting pregnant, underage drinking, or stealing from us. We must remember that we too have fallen short and God understands what it feels like when His children fall.
2. We are self-centered and prideful. STICK WITH ME! When things like this happen they reveal something about what is important to us. If my child is fired because they steel money there is no getting around that this is embarrassing, but we need to search our heart if our reaction goes overboard. We did our job as parents. It’s done. What they do with that is on them now. If I am being self-centered and prideful I may truly be more concerned about how I look then their poor behavior. Think about it. Are we worried about pleasing others and embarrassed when we don’t, or are we remorseful because our child has strayed from God? Rooting this out can help us manage our emotions.
3. This is an opportunity. This is a hard one, but it is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to display God’s strength and faithfulness during difficult times. It is an opportunity to grow as a person and as a parent. It is an opportunity to clearly see the boundaries that need set in place. There is a point where parents can act and there is a point where God needs to act. This is an opportunity to grow closer to our spouse. These situations can make or break us. If we strive to handle this together our relationship can grow stronger. If we do not our relationship can suffer and eventually sever.
I had a situation that was difficult and embarrassing with one of my adult children. I learned so much through the situation. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Through it I saw clearly what my job was. I could pray and support when asked, but I could not intervene. I was reminded of how much sorrow I caused my parents and how awesome God is to be able to use all that for His glory. I learned that when one disappointment comes another one can follow. Don’t look for it to end, but how to live an amazing life through it.
The situation cut me off from my daughter for a while. It was excruciating, however it was needed. The situation helped me to refocus on my life, on my marriage, and helped me to see clearly what my relationship with my adult children should look like.
Mom and dad. We were made to glorify God. Make Him look good. We were made to love others, serve God, follow Him, and navigate the amazing journey He has us on. If we pleased God in our parenting then we should be nothing but proud of our efforts. Where we failed we can trust that God will make up for it. If we were neglectful we can ask for forgiveness and mend broken relationships. We can trust that as God has changed and grown us He can change and grow our children. Ultimately their bad behavior is an offense against God and that is much more important than how embarrassed they made us feel on Facebook.
Pray for them and keep on praying. In the mean time you have a job to do that has nothing to do with them. Seek to make it your duty to figure out what God wants you to do at this time of your life and do it with all your heart and soul. While they are out figuring out their life we have the freedom to strengthen our marriage, get closer to God, and serve Him in new and exciting ways. With God we can do this, this too shall pass, and God can use this to bring Him glory and for our good.