Christian Living

Family Matters 08/25/11

Wayward Young Adults Raised in Christian Homes

No parent enjoys watching a once strong godly teenager make poor choices that negatively affect his or her life. But the reality is that once young adults leave home, they are in charge of their choices. Some are better than others at resisting temptation and standing firm on their convictions.

The biblical directive in Proverbs 22:6 is, "Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it." This verse warns us that children must be brought under parental and spiritual control. In some cases, that discipline is lacking in God-loving homes. Parents take their children to church, teach them about God, but fail to break their will and properly discipline.

Other times, parents have been consistent disciplinarians and their child chooses a different way. In those cases, you can pray that the godly foundation will eventually win out and the child will come back to his or her senses. Unfortunately, that process can mean heartache for a time.

In other cases, family problems that were never addressed may be influencing your young adult. For example, families that do not deal well with conflict and don't get help when family conflict is out of control, produce kids unprepared to deal with conflict in their now adult lives. Unresolved family problems carry over to other relationships.

Also, remember that every person has a free will and is ultimately responsible before God. Our role as parents is to insure we have done everything possible to shape our children for adult life. Take a quick inventory of your parenting: Were you consistent? Did you set godly examples? Did you break your child's will at a young age? Did you give in too often? Did you address family dysfunction? Did you praise often and show unconditional love?

Obviously, you can't go back and redo inconsistent parenting, but you can admit failure in those areas and ask your child for forgiveness. You can also talk about foundational principles that bring a happy life. Deal with family problems now.

Above all, pray for him or her. Prayer is powerful. The Holy Spirit can remind the young adult of his or her childhood learning and bring other positive influences. Get support from other parents who will agree to pray with you. Above all, don't give up on God's best for your child.

Dr. Linda Mintle is a bestselling author, speaker, news consultant and licensed therapist. For more help on parent-child relationships, order I Love My Mother But… and follow Dr. Linda on Facebook, Twitter and her website, www.drlindahelps.com.

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