Parents can help adult son learn to be responsible

10/13/2013 4:00 PM

10/13/2013 6:18 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I don’t know what we did to be such bad parents. Our son (who’s 26) is constantly getting into trouble — writing bad checks, not paying his bills, etc. He always says he’ll change if we’ll just bail him out one more time, but he never does. Where did we go wrong? — T.F.


Your son alone is responsible for his actions; he can’t blame you for what he does, nor should you blame yourself or feel guilty because of his failures. Job declared, “If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone” (Job 19:4).

Does this mean it doesn’t matter how we raise our children? No, of course not. Children learn from us how to live, both from our words and our example. When we fail as parents, our children may be more likely to ignore what is right and do what is wrong. And if we’ve failed as parents, we need to face it and confess it to God (and sometimes to our children). The Bible says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

The real question you face, however, is this: How can you help your son right now? Can you do anything to teach him to be more responsible? Hard as it may be for you, the best thing you can do is not bail him out, but force him to face the consequences of his actions. He probably won’t change if he thinks you’ll always be there to bail him out.

Then pray for him, and urge him to turn his life over to Jesus Christ. Right now, he’s selfish and undisciplined, but God loves him, and his life will never be the same once he gives it to Christ.

Join the Discussion

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service