How do you respond when your kids make decisions you don’t agree with? It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’ Speaker, author, and mother Brenda Garrison has lived through those difficult moments when young adults chose their own way. She offers hopeful, biblical advice into these challenging relational moments, and talks about her book Love No Matter What: When Your Kids Make Decisions You Don't Agree With.
Brenda’s story started when her daughter decided at 18 years old to move out of the house despite not being financially prepared and able to support herself. The decision was not immoral or illegal, but it wasn’t wise, either, and Brenda and her husband had to decide how to handle the situation.
What is the best way to handle a situation like this when a child rebels? Brenda explains that the most important thing is to maintain a relationship with your child. There is a “new normal” that forms when your child makes a choice that you disagree with, and as a parent you have the choice to accept that new normal and work with what you have, or you can try to reject and fight against it. She reminds us that God has allowed this situation to happen in our lives, and we need to trust Him and accept that. Pray to Him and ask for guidance, and He will listen and provide it.
Another common question is how much involvement is too much? And what isn’t enough? Depending on whether or not the child is still in the home has a large impact on this – if your child lives at home then you are the boss of the house. You make the rules and boundaries, but you also still don’t want to be a helicopter parent. Your children have certain responsibilities that are their own to deal with, and based on the choices they make, they also have certain consequences to face on their own. Brenda explains that as parents we need to do our best to protect our children and create healthy boundaries, but if our children slip through and make a choice that comes with a consequence then they need to be responsible to pay for that consequence.
What if your child has left home? This was the situation Brenda and her husband found themselves in, and many others face these circumstances as well. She shares on how their family dealt with the situation and healed to become close again, and also offers helpful advice to others on how deal with this choice your child has made, and rebuild relationships with these prodigal children.
Just because we do everything right doesn’t mean that our kids are going to do everything right. God gave us free will and the ability to make our own choices. There is no promise that our children will turn out the way we want them to or that there won’t be bumpy roads before they get to where they need to be. It’s not about us; it’s about us helping our kids become the independent person God’s created them to be.