Regarding her married children, one mother said, “Lord, give me the wisdom to bite my tongue.” Our hope for parents is that you trust the Lord with your children so that you won’t need to bite your tongue. Let them make some mistakes (by your standards).
Parents tend to give advice on how they would run things, how they would spend money, how they would raise kids, and so on. If your children don’t do what they know you expect them to do, they may feel guilt.
Realize that times have changed —not scriptural values. Your children may live in nicer housing than you did at the same age. Your children may leave their children with childcare far more often than you did. Avoid developing a critical attitude. Criticism will wound your children. No one enjoys being with a critical person. Over time your children may begin to distance themselves from you, and you may destroy your opportunity to watch them grow to maturity and to enjoy them as friends.
It is wise to say to your children, “Listen to what I say, and then do as you please.” This assures you of always having the freedom to offer advice and suggestions based on your experience, yet it assures your children that they can make their own decisions. This leaves the door of communication open for all of you. Allow them to then do as they please without further unsolicited advice or an “I-told-you-so” attitude.
Criticizing your children or their spouses will only drive them away from you. If it continues, they will avoid you and will dread their times with you. Think before using the statements, “You never.” and “You always…” Also, don’t do something nice for your children, and then remind them of it. Sometimes it is best to just drop a subject than to cause conflict.
Don’t forget to be sensitive to their need for privacy. If you live in close proximity, call before you visit and don’t overstay your welcome or visit too often. Instead, establish a visiting pattern that fits everyone. Exchange visits at appropriate times.
When grandchildren come, more communication will be required. Exchanged visits then become even more important. Never assume your children won’t mind if you just drop over, especially early in marriage. When both husband and wife work, their time in the evenings and on weekends may be their only time for privacy. Be as considerate of them as you would your other friends.
Make Them Feel Welcome
Make sure your daughter-in-law or son-in-law feels welcome in your home and with your family. Balance your gifts equally to your married children and their spouses. Treat them as part of the family and they will be. If you do, God will use you in their lives in ways you would never dream. This may be their first opportunity to observe mature Christian parents. Fathers, it would be a good idea to initiate time with your son-in-law so the daughter can spend time with her mom.
Finally, many couples today have several sets of in-laws if their parents have been divorced. This obviously can cause problems, especially around the holidays. If this is the case with you, allow your children and spouses to visit all the parents involved.
With serenity and love, you can become a source of joy to your children all the days of your lives.
The above article comes from the book, Two Becoming One by Don and Sally Meredith. It is published by Christian Family Life, Inc. In this book, couples can learn how to eliminate sources of conflict and put Christ at the center of their marriage. They can also learn the definition of the divine purpose of marriage and God’s faith-based principles for oneness. There’s also practical advice for how to build marital intimacy and how to move from a performance-based to a faith-based relationship.
— ALSO —
Below are a few articles on this same subject. Please click on the links to read:
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Filed under: Dealing with In Laws & Parents