One area where we need to apply our faith as believers is to our relationship with our grown children.
Thus says the Lord: Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work (raising of your children, prayer) shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they(your children) shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope (something that you can expect) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border (place of peace and safety and well-being).” (Jer 31:16-17 AMP, emphasis added)
We as parents must always provide a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual peace, safety and well-being. When we fall short, and most of us fall short in some way at some time, we need biblical solutions and practical help.
And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . . (Mal 4:6 NKJV) The Lord is the only Being who is able to change a person’s heart. The hearts of parents should ALWAYS be in favor of and in support of their own children. Our hearts should always yearn for the best things for our children.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . . (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV, emphasis added)
As followers of Jesus Christ, our desire should always be for reconciliation in our relationships. If it doesn’t exist at the moment, it’s something that we should take to the Lord in fervent prayer.
It may happen in some families that after children have grown, they choose to disconnect totally from their relationship with their parents. In some cases, the parents may not have a clue as to why this has happened. In other scenarios, one or the other parent does know the reason. It can be the result of one parent who was harsh, overly strict or critical of the child or children as they were being raised. Or it can be as serious as some form of abuse. Whatever the situation, it can result in grown children having very painful memories and deep anger and resentment against a parent. In some cases, the adult children may be in counseling to deal with the emotional and mental pain they are experiencing and have experienced in the past.
Parents who find themselves in this situation need to scrupulously review their past behavior in their relationship with their child (or children). They must take full responsibility for their own actions, and openly admit their faults to their family.
If there is a pathway to open communication, the parent should apologize and repent directly to the child (or children) whom they have hurt. Additionally, whichever parent was responsible would need to promise to change the way that they relate to their adult child, so that in future the relationship would be based solely upon positive and healthy input from the parent. Then the parent should pray for God’s grace and help in fulfilling this goal.
Copious prayer is needed in this situation by both parents! The offending parent should ask God to correct them, give them wisdom and insight, and to reveal what their child (or children) truly needs right now. Praying for God’s peace to reign in the relationship is also key.
If there is no communication between parent and child, then the one hope and solution available to the parent is to continually pray for God to bring healing and reconciliation into the relationship between them and their child. In this case, it is also good to ask God to reveal to the parent where they made mistakes and how they sinned against their child. Repent wholeheartedly to God for whatever He reveals, and determine to change the behavior. Read books on good parenting of adult children, and seek counseling if possible. Counseling can come through licensed counselors, group counseling, pastors, psychologists, or 12-step programs such as AA.
As followers of Jesus, we must seek peace in all of our relationships. (Rom 12:18) Parents never stop being parents, even after our children are grown. So it is pleasing to God for us to continue to pray for our estranged adult children, and to ask God to bless them and to continue to protect them and to fulfill His will in their lives. It would be wisdom to also pray earnestly for healing and for reconciliation in the relationship with the estranged child or children. May God’s peace reign in your life and your family in Jesus’ name.