SURVIVING DISAPPOINTMENTS: MARRIAGE

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This is a series on how to survive the disappointments that come to our adult children. I would love your feedback and insight with ideas on how YOU have survived and helped your children survive. These are the topics in the series:

  • Disappointed by an untrustworthy friend?
  • Disappointed in a job situation?
  • Disappointed in academic possibilities?
  • Disappointed in marriage? 
  • Disappointed with infertility?
  • Disappointed with rebellion from their children?

 

TODAY: DISAPPOINTED IN MARRIAGE

I never thought this would happen to me.

We were best friends. Now I am losing my husband and my best friend.

If you loved me mom, you would set up an intervention in our marriage. 

 

“I just don’t know what to tell you. I have never been through this.” This was my harsh statement to my daughter when she was going through a divorce.

I was terrified. I WAS HELPLESS! 

I had never experienced divorce or known anyone closely that had been through this horrific experience.

HOW WAS I GOING TO DEAL WITH THIS? 

  • Did I fail her?
  • Was she failing me?
  • What could we have controlled?
  • Should I have refused to go to the wedding?
  • Was this doomed from the start? 

“This is totally illogical! He has never acted this way before! Why is he acting this way?” My response to my second daughter as she went through divorce was not much better. It never occurred to me that SUPPORTING MY GIRLS was the skill I was missing. 

I believed the only way to help was  to fix the marriage and bring the husband back home and put the happy family back together.

FEAR OF MY INABILITY PARALYZED ME FROM BENEFITTING MY ADULT DAUGHTERS. 

 

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Some things I thought that ARE NOT TRUE:

  • I need to villainize the future ex.  (This invalidates all the character training you have given your child. We are tempted to say terrible things about another human being.)
  • I need to come up with ways to distract her from the pain. (This invalidates the need to process her pain.)
  • I need to be available 24/7. (This invalidates legitimate boundaries, always needed in an emotional situation.)

 

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Best practices to support during marriage disappointments:

  • Recommend a therapist or counselor that you KNOW has given good advice in the past
  • Speak truth into the situation
  • Offer to watch children so the couple can get away and reconnect
  • Cry–be emotionally supportive during this heartbreaking time–be empathic
  • Encourage both parties to see their way into a better future

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What are some ways you have helped your adult children recover from disappointment in marriage? I would love to hear your comments on how you supported your dear ones during this difficult times.

THIS WEEK ANYONE WHO COMMENTS BELOW WITH ONE IDEA ON HOW TO ENCOURAGE WILL RECEIVE A DOWNLOADABLE MINI-POSTER OF SCRIPTURES THAT ENCOURAGE STRENGTH.

 

SURVIVING DISAPPOINTMENT: JOBS

How do we support our adult children when they lose a job or are disappointed in their career?

This is a series on how to survive the disappointments that come to our adult children. I would love your feedback and insight with ideas on how YOU have survived and helped your children survive. These are the topics in the series:

  • Disappointed by an untrustworthy friend?
  • Disappointed in a job situation?
  • Disappointed in academic possibilities?
  • Disappointed in marriage? 
  • Disappointed with infertility?
  • Disappointed with rebellion from their children?

 

TODAY: DISAPPOINTED IN A JOB SITUATION

I thought they supported me.

 

They promised me a pay raise and it has been six months and they still haven’t come through. I can’t work for people who don’t keep their word! 

 

The military has been my life–but I give up. I am coming home.

 

 

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Devastation comes when one of your adult children endures a career or military service that continually demoralizes them.

Young adults see bright futures of possibilities ahead of them. When those dreams die part of their light goes out. In this age of skepticism, our adult children do not need many excuses to give up hope on their world.

 

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Loss of hope diminishes the enjoyment of  activities they once loved. The drain of their day-to-day job leaves them feeling hopeless .

 

Disappointment in careers may be the last straw in an already heavy load threatening to break their enthusiasm for life.

When our son felt hopeless in his military career, he struggled with depression. He couldn’t figure which came first: the depression or the job trouble. Having begun a great career as a Marine, things fell apart when he returned from Afghanistan. What he believed would be his lifetime career became a slow crawl to honorable discharge.

 

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Often depression and anxiety mark the first signs that our adult children need a break from their current work life.

Nothing rocks the world of a young professional quite like being let down concerning a job promotion or raise.

 

 

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One of our daughters enjoyed HUGE success as an entrepreneur with an innovative idea of “toy rental” much like Netflix– when they sent DVDs to your home to view and you returned for more.  At the top of her game, she went on nationwide television to secure more investors. Her company skyrocketed and she made numerous television and radio appearances promoting her company. Then…the bottom fell out. Within three weeks her inventory was confiscated, her building was locked, and her investors were gone. The devastation was REAL. She and our son-in-law packed up their apartment in California and moved back to Texas. Then it was our turn to comfort our kids.

 

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A blow to the head is not as painful as a blow to the heart when our adult kids are wrecked from unfulfilled expectations and disappointment in business.

 

 

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A young son serving in a leadership position with a promising military career lost his prestige and advancement when he was FALSELY accused of gender and religious discrimination. His parents rallied behind him and supported him–ALWAYS assuring him they believed in him. They couldn’t change the circumstances but they did CHANGE his despairing outlook on the situation.

Their support said, “We know YOU! This is not YOU! This is a bad situation which will make you stronger. YOU can overcome this.”

 

When it comes to disappointment in their careers our best response is: You are a person of respect and integrity and that WILL SHINE THROUGH.

 

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Remind your adult child of the truth of their worth. Don’t allow this ONE incident to define them. Remind them of all the stories of their victories! Celebrate what they have overcome and what they have accomplished.

 

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Do not be DRAMATIC! Do not raise the volume of the situation. Do not predict disaster–they already fear that. Stand firm in your faith in your child. Open up your possibilities to why this might be THE VERY BEST EVENT. Turn the narrative in their favor.

Keep praying. Keep smiling and keep believing in them!

 

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Has your adult child been let go from a job? Fired or dismissed? I would love to hear your comments of how you showed support!

 

Surviving Disappointments: Bad Friends

 

This is a series on how to survive the disappointments that come to our adult children. I would love your feedback and insight with ideas on how YOU have survived and helped your children survive. These are the topics in the series:

  • Disappointed by an untrustworthy friend?
  • Disappointed in a job situation?
  • Disappointed in academic setbacks?
  • Disappointed in marriage? 
  • Disappointed with infertility?
  • Disappointed with rebellion from their children?

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TODAY: DISAPPOINTED BY UNTRUSTWORTHY FRIENDS

I thought she was my friend.

How could he say that?

So, all along she was pretending to be my friend.

I thought loyalty meant something to him. 

Disappointment from an untrustworthy friend destroys trust. Betrayal, gossip, emotional and verbal bullying in otherwise friendly relationships, wreck our trust. When our kids were children, and even teens, sometimes we stepped in and turned the tide–now the stakes are higher and situations more tenuous.

 

What is the best response when my adult child has been hurt by a friend?

Do we slash out in anger against the offender? Do we return snarky comments? Do we coach our adult child to get even? Do we recommend they “put their big girl panties on” and tough it out?

Psalm 34:14 reminds us to “turn away from evil and do good: seek peace and pursue it,” this means taking revenge is OUT. 

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Often this takes supernatural power, and it is available.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Psalm 34:17-19

We know that Matthew 18 lays out a plan for SEEKING RECONCILIATION if someone has done something evil against us (or in this case our adult child). Obviously, we must recommend our adult children follow this path if they want to reconcile and not alienate their friends. However, often the offender does not accept that their behavior was wrong–and even deny that their actions were “sinful.”

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Recently, one of my adult daughters was going through a rough patch with a friend. The friend just would not listen to reason and kept accusing my girl of mean-spiritedness toward her. I played referee for a few weeks with the “well, maybe if you said this she would see it your way” game. Finally, I had to admit:

I can’t give you the final answer here because you are going to have to love her or leave her… If this is a friend that you value you are going to have to forgive and overlook this. If you can’t do that, you inevitably are going to have to cut your losses and move on. Wait, and she may come back later.

 

A dear friend of mine recounted the tragic story of one of her daughter’s friends turned villain. Her story sounded strangely like another story I recently heard from another mom of an adult daughter. Both gals thought they deserved the “bad behavior’ by the other party. Both were in a very emotional dramatic relationships with these men. My friends both reminded me that when their girls called or came by the mom modeled PEACE in the storm. The girls were OVER THEIR HEAD in drama so the best these praying momma’s could do: WAIT AND MODEL CALM, PEACE, and CONFIDENCE. Words of PEACE and AFFIRMATION gave the young women confidence.

I believe in you.”

“You are worth fighting for!”

“You were made for great things!” 

“You are gonna come out of this!” 

 

 

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Currently, I have a friend who is grieving over her adult son who is in a toxic relationship with a woman. Although the woman has lied to him, and manipulated him (he admits this), the son cannot break it off with this woman. Trying to lay the subject out logically, the mom even sought counsel from a therapist for her son. The young man still refuses, consistently making excuses for this woman’s behavior.  Now, the mom prays that his eyes will be opened.

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Do our adult children always agree with us about healthy relationships?

OBVIOUSLY NOT!!! Something that seems like a major infraction in a relationship to us slides off them. Other times our adult children become angry and resentful of folks we see as well-meaning.

In giving advice about these situations: TREAD CAREFULLY.

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As my friend with the adult son cannot FORCE her son to be offended and thus remove this woman from his life, neither can we FORCE our kids “get over it” when they feel offended.

We CAN PRAY for forgiveness and healing. We can pray with them for the right words to speak into the situation.

We SURVIVE through prayer and forgiveness and so will they.

We have to model how to forgive and when to let the friend go…

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Did you really think the hard work of parenting ended with teaching them to drive?

I would love to hear your comments on how to deal with disappointments in the lives of your adult children dealing with HARD & HARSH RELATIONSHIPS! Please comment below.

Sibling Rivalry: Is this STILL a thing?

You always take her side!
Mom, he’s doing it again.
She always get her way!
Why does he always get to go first?
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Remember when your kids were little and all you hoped for was ONE day without an attack of sibling rivalry?
The timing may have changed but not ALWAYS  the conflict…
Unlike training bras and training bikes, sibling rivalry may not be something your kids grow out of.
Several years ago one of my daughters ceased talking to the rest of the family. It started with me. One of the other girls let me know that this child felt abandoned by me.  True enough. She did FEEL that way. But the hurting child’s sister said it best, “You know, Mom, in this family you have to carry your own water. So I am not in it. You two work it out.” Within three months their relationship had disintegrated, also.
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What is the CURE for sibling rivalry in adult children?
 In our daughter Rachelle‘s bathroom there is a plaque that MIGHT give us hope for overcoming sibling rivalry:
THINK THE BEST and FORGIVE THE REST
We have to preach (and unfortunately that is the only verb that will work at times) mercy… not justice to our children.
We cannot take up their offenses.
We must teach them how to go to each other in love. Forgive in LOVE. THINK OF THE BEST OF EACH OTHER IN LOVE.
 Recently a friend wept over two of her sons who were at odds with each other. After hearing the complaint that one young man made towards his older brother she had to ask him, “Is this going to be the thing that you allow to separate you and your brother forever?”
The brother shrugged, “Maybe.”
 “If you can live with that, it is your choice to make. You are an adult.”
Although she didn’t agree with this decision, it was not her call to make.
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Few other times can our adult children break our hearts as easily as when they are angry with one another.
Our job is to forgive and MODEL how they can forgive, even when they are hurt as well.
My pastor preaches often concerning mercy and being merciful to others.
He reminds our congregation that the ground at the foot of the cross is all level.
Even though it is much easier to see someone else’s fault than our own, we must OFTEN humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. We must FREELY forgive.
My daughter that sent word to me that she was hurt and felt abandoned returned to the fold after a personal transformation in her own life.  Although we both had done equal shares in damaging that relationship I had to reach out FIRST. Our reunion was tearful, loving, cherished, a bit scary after seven years, and totally life-changing.
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We SPEAK AND SHOUT AND ACT OUT forgiveness often as they are growing up … and since they are now adults we MIGHT feel that we are mumbling the same message.
The time for shouting and sermonizing is over. With adult children they need to see us suffer injustice with grace and mercy.

When Our Adult Children Are Angry (part two)

Jon Gordon, author of The Energy Bus, in his blog recently stated the key to overcoming challenges lies in the ability to fight negative forces with love.

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Turning Negative Actions into Positive Thoughts
Jon Gordon, author of The Energy Bus, in his blog recently stated the key to overcoming challenges lies in the ability to fight negative forces with love.
Attempting to use love to overcome anger, I have been examining my reactions to my children’s anger and determining how I could have met that negative energy with love.
Here are some things I know:
  • I must love the struggle with my young adults because it makes me appreciate their intelligence when we work through a hard place together.

 

  • I must love challenges because they make me stronger and cause me to change in ways I would not have done before.

 

  • I must love the competition of fighting for time with their growing interests, hobbies, and jobs because it makes me better at appreciating their time as well as my own.

 

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  • I must love the negative people that say I will never be close to my adult children because they provide an opportunity to practice positivity in all my relationships to other young adults I know.

 

  • I must love my adult children when they hurt me because they teach me forgiveness.

 

  • Most of all, I must love my fear in this new journey with adult children because fear makes me more courageous.

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Often, as the parent of young adults, I fail to see the benefit in the hard emotions of parenting because this is a new chapter in my parenting journey.  Since this is foreign, my mind says, “This must be wrong! I have never done it this way before!” New signals growth. New can signal an even better relationship than I previously thought possible.
New might mean more honest and mature.
Anger might be the immediate reaction to growth on the horizon; instead,
meet it with love, and positive thoughts will replace negative actions.

I must seek BETTER through love.

 

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How do you fight negative actions with positive love? Leave a comment below!

Our Children ARE ANGRY with us!

We often tell our young children, “It is more important to be kind than to be right.” 

Can you employ that motto today with your adult children?

I can’t believe you think that!
You don’t trust me!
I am not a child any more you can’t talk to me like that.
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Even with all the emphasis we place on communicating well with our adult children—sometimes words will hurt. Feelings will get smashed. Sometimes our children become very angry with us.
As parents, we might try not to overreact to certain words or actions by our adult children.
We might even think we are doing a good job of not overreacting only to hear, “You are so judgmental. You overreact to everything.”
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Even though we feel like we are being reasonable and logically presenting our concerns over how they spend their money or the friends they are choosing—they may not appreciate this (or other) unsolicited advice. Often our adult children hear screaming when we feel we are speaking in a controlled tone.
And then there are the times we REALLY ARE SCREAMING!  
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Your children will get mad at you. And you can bet it will be at the WORST possible time.
A few days before Rachelle (my first daughter to have a big church wedding!)  got married, she and I fought over something. I can’t remember what the issue was, but I DO remember running up the stairs yelling behind me, “Don’t follow me up! I am going to my room and lock the door.” Rachelle returned the volley with, “You can’t run away from me! I am your daughter!” 
That really happened. I can’t make this stuff up.
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Rule #1: Contain the emotion. 
Don’t act like I acted. Be the adult.  Jon Gordon of The Energy Bus defines emotion as energy in motion. If your child’s decisions have made your energy NEGATIVE energy, go for a walk or ride a bike before engaging in the conversation. Don’t put your NEGATIVE energy into motion through emotion.
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Rule #2: Focus on the issue … and keep it short.
If you disagree with their choice of job, habits, friends… speak your opinion and make a logical case. Then leave it alone. Avoid long explanations that validate your opinion. If you sell them on the first point you have given them enough to explore your point of view. You will not argue them into agreement.
No one ever changed their mind about something through long posts on Facebook. Your FACE-TO-FACE is no different.
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Your adult children are MORE than the issues that divide you…do not let the issues separate you!
Rule #3: Acknowledge the bond between you. 
If emotions run out of control: DON’T RUN THE OTHER WAY.
Unlike me running up the stairs, calmly say something like, “We are not going to agree on this, but we do agree that I am on your side and want the best for you, right?”
Sometimes even this blows emotion back in your face because your offspring thinks you are patronizing. When that happens find some way to make a bridge, even a small one, back to your child.
We often tell our young children, “It is more important to be kind than to be right.”
Can you employ that motto today with your adult children?
What topics cause anger between you and your adult children? How do you show you are on their team even when you disagree. I would love to read your comments below.

 

Encourage THINKING–Not the Thought!

When our darlings become adults we remember all those times they were the STAR OF THE SHOW!

From our perspective, they were destined for nothing but greatness.  Because of our perspective, we become disappointed when they don’t ‘reach their potential’ because of a thought they have.  

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

 

We think that when our children are small we want to encourage them TO THINK.

 

We delight in all their funny thoughts and repeat every witty comment every said over a meal or to a grandparent!

 

When Scott said to my sister, “Why doesn’t God just kill the devil? Oh I know! He has that pitch forky thing!” I thought we would double over laughing. The theology did not worry us! The four-year-old was  THINKING!!!!

 

 

They make home runs and we CHEER! They strike out and we say, “You’ll get ‘em next time!” Most of all, when they are young we are the BIGGEST cheerleaders. They make a 100 on their spelling test and we see visions of ‘writer’ in their future. They flunk a math test and we cross ‘engineer’ off the list of possible occupations and say, “The world has too many engineers anyway!”

We know they are going to be successful! 

 

 

When our darlings become adults we remember all those times they were the STAR OF THE SHOW!

 

From our perspective, they were destined for nothing but greatness.  Because of our perspective, we become disappointed when they don’t ‘reach their potential’ because of a thought they have.

 

 We try (sometimes not so gently) to get them ‘back on course!’ We KNOW they are destined for greatness and they just need a little push.

They just need a ‘tweak in their thinking…” OR IS IT THEIR THOUGHTS? 

Soon the push becomes a shove…and the shove… becomes our own frustration.

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 Why do we push them? Because we still see the adorable child whom we wanted to succeed. We see the ballerina that just needed encouragement. We see the scholar that only needed someone to believe in him.

The truth is: our kids MAY NOT DEFINE SUCCESS THE WAY WE DO.  They may actually have different THOUGHTS than we do. 

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They may not desire a corner office with a window; they may not even desire a corner office OR  any office AT ALL.

We wanted them to THINK and we encouraged their thinking! Now that they are thinking on their own, sometimes we are nervous, upset and even angry that the end of their thoughts did not lead them to the same destination our thoughts led us.

 

I am not romanticizing that we go back to believing in pixy dust and that the moon is made of green cheese, like when they were four…what I am proposing is that some of the basic ways to find truth might come back with different thoughts:

“We should learn to take care of the widows and orphans.”

        Hey Mom! We are adopting! Sure we can still conceive our own kids but we want to adopt.

 

“We should spread Jesus’ love to the ends of the earth.”

        Hey Dad! Last week we finally decided that our church’s missionaries need help! So we are taking the kids and going to _____ (fill in the blank with anywhere more than 200 miles away and preferably without clean water)

 

“We should put others above ourselves.”

    Yea, we know this is going to be hard on our family, but we prayed and we really feel like we need to take in this woman and her three kids while she gets on her feet.

 

 “As much as we can, we should owe no one anything except love.”

    We sold our second car. We are paying off all our debt. We can do this.

  

“As far as it lies within you, live peaceable with all men.”

    I am not gonna rock the boat on his lifestyle. Live and let live is what you taught me.
 

“He who doesn't take care of his family is worse than an infidel.”

    I am quitting my job. I can never be at home when he is home and it is just not worth it.
 

 

Encouraging thinking— not the specific thoughts:

JUST another super-power to parenting adult children.