My 18 year-old is struggling
Question: “My 18 year-old is expressing her independence and is doing things I think are wrong – she’s really struggling, what do I do?”
Answer: I wish there was an easy way out. Most young people in your daughter’s situation lose their way and wander from the faith. It’s sad to say, but your window of prime influence has closed. If you feel like she no longer trusts you, then any effort you make to exercise your authority will only drive her further away. And, that may be necessary to the extent that she still depends on your funds. You need to negotiate a win/win deal if she’s to expect further funds. And don’t be afraid to walk away – welfare checks won’t help her.
For those of you with children ages 13-17, this is your last, best chance to influence their spiritual future. It’s urgent. At that age you can still give them experiences that help them see the reality of their faith. If you still have children that age, I suggest you date them on a weekly basis and spend quality time with them. Have family devotions. Get them on a mission trip lasting 2-3 months with disciplers you trust. If these changes seem difficult, you’re probably too busy – change your schedule to reflect your true priorities.
I’m not saying it’s a lost cause for parents of children over 18. You need to pray like you’ve never prayed before for divine intervention. If your daughter would consider spending a year overseas with an FYM team, that is the best strategy I know for pulling her back from the brink. We did it with two of our kids and it was the best thing we’d ever done (see pic of Estie in Kenya). Or, if she’s already made some bad mistakes – maybe she’s struggling with an eating disorder or other deep-seated issues – talk with her about RAD. They have a great track record of helping good kids rediscover their relationship with Christ.