I am going to admit that this post is a little tricky to write since my mother reads my blog. So let me be clear that I am writing this as an adult son of my parents but also as the parent of my own teen children. I also want you to know that I write this because I have talked to three people in the last 10 days who have told me about the struggles they have as parents with their adult children. The Lord has not given me a chance to talk to those children, and maybe He never will, so I wanted to write a post to express what I might say to them in a counseling type setting.
1. Remember they are flawed, just like you. It is easy to place your parents on a pedestal, but they are sinners just like you. I will admit it openly. I make some huge mistakes as a parent. All parents make mistakes. Why? Because all of us fall short of the glory of God.
2. Talk Openly. Many children have been hurt by their parents and they never talk about it. They stuff it down inside and the hurt simply grows. Parents and their adult children still need to have deep conversations about things that really matter. Most of us try to avoid those at all costs.
3. State Your Love. Often when we talk we only show our disappointment. The more we dwell on the failure, the more the other person feels like a failure. It is okay to talk about what happened but parents desperately want to know that their children still love them. All of us want and need unconditional love. All of us.
4. Let Go of the Pain. This is easy to say and extremely hard to do, especially the deeper the hurt. BUT it is still the truth. The longer we hold onto pain the more it destroys us. I am not 100% sure how this might look for you – maybe it comes in writing a letter, having a deep conversation, maybe counseling is needed or possibly taking an extended period of prayer. I do not know what you need to do exactly, I just know that you need to do it – if only for yourself.
5. Embrace God’s love and forgiveness. God has forgiven all of us in Christ Jesus. We need to embrace that fact in our own lives and we need to share it with others. This may mean that we need to forgive them. It may also mean that we make sure they understand God’s grace if we were not the ones offended. God loves us and them no matter what.
I know these are simple answers. This is especially true if the offense has been going on for years. Unfortunately, most of the people I have talk to lately struggle with recent failures. Their children have simply forgotten some of these simple answers. As a result their families are being torn apart. Don’t let that happen to you.