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Dear MMB:

Dear MMB:

What do we do with grown children that we see making really bad choices? When I try and help or suggest things, the tables are always turned on me, and they place blame with me. Whatever my husband and I do is wrong. Whatever we say is taken poorly. I have tried to step back and give the space needed, but then I am accused of not wanting to be a part of their life. I don't know what to do to help my grown child. They are making terrible decisions... Any suggestions?



Great question Rebecca, I let an expert weigh in on the question, and this is what she says:

When we raise our children with certain values and moral standards, it is an expectation that those values are shared and will be followed as children grow and develop. There are certain absolute values that cannot be negotiated, because there is right and there is wrong. Sometimes there are gray areas, but many times there aren't.

I have found my best way of coping with children that have strayed off the straight and narrow path, is to let them know that I am aware of the problems and what is happening. I believe in honesty above all. I also know that it is very uncomfortable sometimes, but we decided to handle things a certain way, because of younger children. They see and know what is happening. They also watch to see what you will do. If certain children can treat family members badly, the younger children might have a tendency to follow that same road. I think there are a few important things to realize.

1. Always communicate. Always call, even if they don't want to talk to you. Have a pleasant conversation. Talk about other stuff, not about their poor choices. They know what they are doing is right or wrong. No-one has to point it out.

2. Don't fight. Then there is a winner and a loser, and hard words can be spoken and will be remembered for a very long time. We have to remember, that these are our beloved children, they will come back.

3. Be private, but no secrets. People know. Neighbors know. And certainly brothers and sisters know or should know. I never lied to cover up what was going on, it was their problem, not who they were. Time changes everything. Patience, patience, patience.

4. Make sure to celebrate all the good things. Remember your family traditions and always include them, even if it is uncomfortable.

5. Not one red cent will be spent on you while you are acting a certain way and showing certain behaviors. I do not believe in rewarding bad behavior. There are many gifts that can be given during holidays or birthdays that are not monetary. I don't bail people out of financial problems. they made the choices, then can live with the consequences. Needs versus wants is a very good lesson.

And finally,

6. I always spoke up. I never sugar coated. I did not want them to think that they were fooling me, or getting away with it. And yes, I did tell them what I knew they should do. For a while, we had quite a space between us, but it has narrowed, and they always knew that we loved them and prayed for them every day.

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