A parent’s sense of accomplishment through their child is obvious amid the boastings of their achievements. Logical reasoning says that the parents of these children must obviously know what they’re doing. Good children come from thriving families; therefore disobedient children must come from dysfunctional homes. Right?
There are so many good parents out there who agonize over this exact stereotype. To presume that a lack of good parenting is always the root of a prodigal child is destructive, to say the least. Not only do parents of difficult children generally already blame themselves, but they also endure deep emotional challenges as a result of not only their suffering, but the ridicule from outside eyes as well.
Praise goes to those with stories of overcoming negative childhood situations, realizing that a prosperous adult can result from a negligent home. Yet it is hard to grasp that a Christian led child could possibly go astray, without having a parent to point a finger at. So, what does your child’s behavior say about your parenting? Honestly, most of the time, absolutely nothing. Why some children prosper with what they are given and some rebel really is quite often a mystery.
While that probably isn’t the encouragement you were after, don’t give up. No child comes with a guarantee, and yes, there is a possibility that you may never get them to change into what you want them to be. But Jesus does promise hope in all situations. All of your trials will eventually become endurable. “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence” Jeremiah 17:7
Again, don’t give up! “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength,” Philippians 4:13. Know that it is normal to feel a sense of loss after realizing that you don’t have the family you envisioned or worked so hard to achieve. Nothing hurts a parent worse than having a child that decides to reject their ideas, their God, and even sometimes as it feels, their love. And understand that there is a difference between identifying your own faults and how they may have contributed to specific reaction to a situation, versus drowning yourself with illogical blame. It is important not to isolate yourself and suffer alone. And there is no shame in seeking professional help either.
Lean on your Christian friends to pray with you and for you and your child. And don’t be ashamed to go to them for advice and support. Your child is a part of their body as well. “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16. God loves your children even more than you do. Sometimes giving them over to Him in prayer is the very best thing you can do as a parent. Proverbs 22:15 says that “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child…”. God knows that they’re naturally foolish. That’s why Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Once you plant that “God seed” in their heart, they may not nurture it enough to let it grow, but it is still rooted and waiting.