When Parents Hurt, What to Do

The parable of the prodigal son describes the response of a parent suffering the pain of raising a child who rejects his early training and goes his own way. The godly father in Luke 15:11–32 let his rebellious son go! Yet, he gave his child the dignity of choice, while maintaining a heart of hope. Only when you become desperate enough to release your children into the Lord’s loving hands, will He have the full freedom to work in their lives.

  • Receive the compassion of God: God understands your pain. He is aware of your needs and weaknesses. He loves your child even more than you do. God’s compassion never fails. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” (Lamentations 3:22)
  • Examine your emotions: Am I embarrassed about what others are thinking? Am I afraid of what will happen to my child? Am I angry at my child for doing this to me? Am I disappointed at how life has turned out? Have I let self-pity drag me into depression? Has grief caused me to lose faith in God? “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23–24)
  • Leave the past in the past: Don’t play the “blame game” or rehearse the “what if’s.” Don’t try to figure out what went wrong. Don’t assume responsibility for your child’s choices. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18–19)