Are you disappointed when your young adult makes foolish choices? In this encouraging article by BCC counselor Lucy Ann Moll, you’ll hear basics on how to help advise a young adult and how to handle your emotions. For more help, please reach out to your pastor or a biblical counselor. This article first appeared here and is used with permission.
Some young adults’ choices epitomize foolishness! They get arrested, drop out of college, cannot hold on to a job, live with their girlfriend and have no plans to marry, or may even proclaim that Jesus is “a joke.” How would you you advise them? How do you teach a young adult to love the Lord?
If your adult child lives at home, you have leverage. Define expectations. Let her experience consequences for foolish decisions. In other words, don’t pay her speeding ticket! Kick out her boyfriend who lives in your home! However, if the consequences are potentially grave, please reach out to your pastor or a biblical counselor.
Loving a Wayward Young Adult
My friend’s son flunked out of high school. She wondered, “What did I do wrong? Why couldn’t he just show up to school and pay attention?” Later he took the GED, passed, and now has a job — not a great job, but a job.
Her tears dried. She smiled again.
You could take a cue from my friend: pray, speak of God’s wonderful plans, and encourage him to seek God’s will. This is how she helped him to love the Lord.
3 Ways to Love and Help
1. PRAYER: Multiply your prayers when your child has school trouble, is hanging out with a rough group, or is making other foolish choices.
My friend tried the usual punishments to effect godly change in her child. They didn’t work. She also tried positive incentives. Still, nothing. She kept on praying.
2. WONDERFUL PLANS. God says the plans he has for his children are “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give them a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Hold on to this truth and share it with your adult child. Also, Paul says in Ephesians 2:10,
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
3. BIBLE INSTRUCTION. Sometimes young adults and their parents struggle with knowing God’s will for their them. This may create anxiety. Isn’t it wonderful that God doesn’t keep his will top secret?
He spells out his will in many scriptures. Here are three.
- “For this is the will of God: your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).
- “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
- “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 2:15).
Where God doesn’t clarify his will, he gives wisdom to you and your full-grown child wisdom. Pray for wisdom and follow his lead.
Handling Your Own Emotions
No parent wishes that his or her full-grown child does drugs, loses their job, gets divorced, or lives in their basement year after year.
Do any of these sketches of real people resonnate with you?
A mom disagrees with her daughter’s lesbian lifestyle.
A dad is angry that his young adult child has committed adultery.
Parents are confused that their college-educated son quit his job, moved across the country, and is living on government handouts.
So how do you handle your own fear, anger, and disappointment?
- Ask God to make his glory the deepest desire of your heart.
- Speak the truth in love to the one who hurt you.
- Provide counsel when your grown-up child is making foolish choices.
- Trust the Lord.
What’s a parent to do? How do you handle your pain when a young adult child chooses a disastrous path? You must trust the Lord with your child.
This is easy to say and hard to do. Remember that God’s plan for your adult child is better than your plan. Find comfort in this. Desire God’s way above all.