To parents whose adult child wants nothing to do with them at Christmas

To parents whose adult child wants nothing to do with them at Christmas

Facing Christmas is painful knowing a child wants nothing to do with their parent(s). Tragically this is an epidemic in the Christian world today. I hear from many people who talk about this happening in their churches. I think that the fifth commandment has become somewhat obsolete to many who grew up in Christian homes. But my purpose is not to confront them with their unforgiveness but rather to offer encouragement to parents who are facing Christmas shunned by a child. Allow me to share with you a few ideas that could help.

  1. Do not allow it to ruin all your other Christmas festivities. Look, I know it's in the back of your mind at all times, but rather than allowing your pain to destroy your Christmas entirely, relish the opportunities you have to enjoy it with others. Do not let them ruin your Christmas.

  2. Stop talking about it. STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!!! OK, you are going to talk about it some, but do not talk about it constantly. The more you talk about it the more you cause the hurt to fester.

  3. Diligently pray for a forgiving heart. I recommend doing this over and over. “Lord help me to have a heart of forgiveness for my child. Don't let me be bitter. Help me not to be angry or judgmental towards them. Give me the forgiveness that I so desperately wish they would give to me.”

  4. Have faith that they will eventually return. It is in their hands not yours. No matter what their excuses it is their choice not yours and you must not lose hope that God will convict your child of dishonoring you. Christmas is about hope so shield yourself with hope during this season.

  5. Don't feel you failed. No matter what they say or how much they blame you, do not fall for Satan’s attempt to ruin your spirit. You are not alone. There are multitudes of people, all imperfect, whose child has chosen to judge them harshly and who are “punishing” their parents. If you failed in some way as a parent you are not a failure. If they cannot accept your failures then they have a problem. One day it will come back and haunt them.

  6. Don't be a martyr. Whatever you do don't spend your time griping and whining over your sorrow. There are others who are suffering just as you are. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow. Like the president of my college use to always say at the end of his radio broadcast, “Be good to everybody because everybody is having a tough time.” Don't isolate yourself as being the only one who is hurting.

  7. Let them go. This is going to be the hardest part, but there comes a time when you just have to mentally say to your child, “I'm letting you go.” That doesn't mean they can't come back. It means the ball is in their court and you not going to worry about it any longer. Don't beg them. Don't preach at them. Just leave them alone and let them live in their bitterness. Don't preach at them. Let the Holy Spirit work on them.

  8. Don't try to convince them that they are the ones who are wrong. Prodigals never know they are. In fact prodigals typically think they are not prodigals. Well you are certainly not the prodigal parent. You didn't leave home; they did. You didn't reject them; they rejected you. Don’t defend yourself. It won’t work.

To all parents who are facing this hurt may I simply say, keep the faith. No you were not a perfect parent. Yes, they have a reason for what they are doing, but the reason is no excuse for their behavior. You see you might have a reason for doing wrong but it's not a good excuse to mistreat your parents. Do your best to make this Christmas a joyful one by remembering what Christmas really is all about. It's about our Savior coming to redeem us to his Father, so rejoice and be glad this Christmas season.