When Some Children Don’t Grow Up

We are increasingly seeing more and more people in their 20’s and 30’s who don’t appear to have matured along with their body and age. Many of whom are moving back in with their parents. Many who can’t seem to handle “adulting” as some people have labeled it.  It is frustrating and painful for the parents. The expectations they’ve had of their child growing up and living successfully on their own are dashed.

I know this pain. Some adult children don’t give the impression that they will ever mature and make good choices. Sometimes you can’t tell the difference between them and their 10 year old child, although the child mostly acts better than they do. Sometimes you can blame it on a mental illness. Sometimes you can’t and you blame yourself. You play the “If only…”game . Sometimes you give up, you let go and let God. Sometimes you get a glimmer of hope only to have it dashed again the next day.

Life with these adult children is hard. Very, very hard. Anyone who hasn’t experienced this has no idea. I’m very careful who I share this pain with. Because I don’t need to be judged and I don’t want my adult child to be judged. So most of the time I keep it to myself.  My husband and I as parents, share this pain.  We at least have each other, and we can confide our hurt and our pain to each other. The downside to that is you can’t ever get away from it.  Where you might be having a decent day, doing your best to forget about it, they are maybe needing to vent and so you get dragged back down into it.

You love these children with your whole heart and all you ever want for them is for them to be successful at life.  It’s not about you or your pride.  Maybe the first couple times they screwed up and their mistakes were public, you cringed.  But now, it is all about them and wanting to see them have a better life than what they’ve settled for.  Now, I don’t care who sees the problems and thinks less of me as a parent for that.  I know better.  I know I’ve tried everything I can think of and then tried everything else.  I know I’ve given everything I have to give, I’ve died to self with this child over and over.  I’ve bitten back words, I’ve listened to them tell me how awful I am.  How stupid I am.  I’ve listened to them tell me they want to kill themselves, how they have nothing in their apartment to eat and they haven’t eaten for three days, and they’re probably going to get kicked out of their apartment and be living on the street because they can’t pay their rent. It is sheer agony and heartbreak what parents of these “kids” go through.  I have tried over and over to reason with them, to get them to see how their choices are hurting them.

So please, give grace to their parents.  Don’t judge.  Don’t ever judge.  Your children may have all turned out to be great people who are successful and whom you have a great relationship with.  If that is the case, I am happy for you.  Really I am!  Give thanks to God that they have turned out this way.  Be kind to parents whose children haven’t.  They have so much more pain than you can even imagine.
Thank you.

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