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Being a parent is the most amazing, challenging and vulnerable position ever. No matter how tough or smart you are, your child’s very existence leaves you vulnerable. Your child is your heart walking outside of your body. Let’s face it. They carry our hearts with them everywhere they go. With every good decision or poor choices they make, our hearts (and our wallets) are impacted. But how do we live our own happy lives when our adult kids make bad choices? You can’t ground them or put them on timeouts. So how do you handle their poor choices, especially when it breaks your heart?

Let go

You can’t control your adult kids’ choices. Trying to do so will negate you of a peaceful, sane life. You hope and you pray they remember the good values they were taught. Remind yourself that you’re not God and it’s not your job to be their savior. Remind yourself that you’ve placed their entire life into the loving and capable hands of God. So let God handle the situation. Let go and live your life.

Worrying makes nothing better

As parents, we like to feel in control, like we’re doing something to make things better. But there are those times when you just cannot. There are times when there’s nothing you can do but cry before God and entrust Him with the language of your tears. Worrying and stressing about your kid’s bad decisions and poor choices are fruitless. They improve nothing. They take away your peace and your focus. They steal your health and jeopardize your life. Like I tell my kids: Jesus already died for you; I’m not killing myself. Worrying is not an option, unless you want to meet an early grave.

Let them learn their own life lessons

A wise woman once said, “Experience is a good teacher but the tuition is high.” Trial and error is not the way we were meant to live. It would be great if our kids would simply just heed the good advice given to them by us and practice the values they were taught, but they don’t always. When they fail to do so, life has a way of teaching us lessons we refuse to learn. Allow your adult kids to learn their own life lessons. Perhaps you would’ve chosen a less harsh way to teach them, but this is the direction they’ve taken and this is the path they’ve chosen. Until they change, nothing will change. ¬†They won’t change direction because you say so. They will make a change when they’re ready and committed to doing so. That’s when it’s real. Until then, keep praying. Keep living your life because you cannot live theirs.