Reaching out to a wayward child

Reaching out to a child who has strayed is as vital to them as it will be comforting to you. This is the time when unconditional love must kick in and replace judgment and fear.

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  • You don't know whether to kiss them or kick them. You love them, but you may not particularly like them at the moment. Nothing you try seems to work.

  • Having a child stray from the values taught in the home can be one of the most disheartening situations you'll ever endure. This is a time, however, not to give up. Remember that reaching out to them is about them, not about you and any glaring failures you may see in yourself that you feel might have contributed to it. What's done is done. It's time to let go and think ahead.

  • Whether they are in your home and making choices that are affecting family harmony, or they have left and you feel like you have no say, there is a wealth of knowledge to use when you feel like you have lost a child.

  • First things first — you have not lost them. Your voice is just being drowned out by all of the worldly noise that has enticed them.

  • There is a better approach than, "Because I'm the mom/dad, that's why!" Keep in mind that our ultimate goal is not to raise children, but to raise adults who have a command of self-mastery and a library of reasoning as resources to help them make wise choices on their own. They will no longer need to call us and ask our permission. They need to understand the reasons you make the decisions you do so that they can fall back on that reasoning when making choices themselves. Even if the reason is no more concrete than, "I have a bad feeling about the party and you need to respect that.

  • Real love must drive your parenting. Children are so much smarter than we sometimes give them credit. Their discernment is often keen enough to know whether you are giving them platitudes or heartfelt advice. Your words should be based on eternal truths andunconditional love. If they are not, your child will know.

  • Any strong words we use should be counterbalanced with an outpouring of love. Children may try to tell themselves that you are the enemy, but we are the people who are most concerned about their welfare.

  • Your child should know the extent that you will remain faithful to them. This by no means is saying that you must condone all of their actions or attitudes. It simply means that "come what may" you still love them. We must be more concerned about our children than about how they reflect on our parenting to others.

  • If your attempts are met with disdain, keep your heart soft. Continue to love and reach out. If the door is slammed on you a thousand times, knock a thousand and one always giving space and time in between.

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  • I firmly believe that every parent is given the keys to raise their child. We must only listen to that still small voice that is there to guide and direct us.

  • In short:

    • Understand the grip the world may have on them.

    • Don’t fret about what others think or say — your relationship is between you and your child.

    • Keep a cool head and a soft heart.

    • Allow space and time.

    • Listen to the promptings you are given.

    • Never, ever give up; continue to invite them into your life.

  • Having lived through these trials many times, I know that, in the end, whatever trouble they may be, they are worth the struggle.

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Becky Lyn is an author and a 35+ year (most of the time) single mom.


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