Thursday, March 11, 2010

The following is my response to a concerned mother of adult aged children, one of which is 21 and living an immoral lifestyle while away at college. This mother was concerned her husband, whom she is in the process of divorcing, continues to pay to support their son's tuition and living expenses even though he is not doing well in college. This mother believes his negative attitude and lifestyle are because he "plays World of Warcraft every waking moment." There were many other issues and I felt completely inadequate to counsel her. I am posting my response to her because some of what I said to her may be helpful in your situation. Let me know.
In His,

Al
MY RESPONSE IS BELOW:

Dear (name withheld),
I am so sorry to hear about your family situation with your husband and middle child. Before I respond to your questions, I would like to encourage you and your husband to do everything possible to reconcile. Don't allow your son to destroy your marriage. Decide that your number one priority is to save your marriage, not to bring your child under control.

As for your son, he is 21! Officially he is an adult. Some day you will have to turn him over to God. Why not make it today? He has to be responsible for his own actions, no matter how painful they are for you to watch. Life is a series of choices, choices have consequences. He has to experience the consequences of his choices.

It is NOT up to you to MAKE your children live for Jesus. The best thing you can do for your family is to let them see God's love, mercy, and grace in your life. It is up to the Holy Spirit to come along side of them and to encourage them to decide to live for Jesus. You job is to give your children a clear picture of Jesus. When you can't get along with your husband, you are telling your children your God isn't strong enough to keep their parents together. That's not true. Jesus was not a doormat, but He didn't demand His own way either. I don't know your family dynamics so it is difficult to be more specific.

I suggest that you have few, flexible, but firm guidelines for your son if and when he comes home. He either chooses to follow your loving direction or he is free to live as he pleases. It is your home. He needs to know that your love for him is unconditional, but any family and/or business needs to have simple operating procedures. You decide what is acceptable. Don't make it a combative situation. If it already has become combative, do your best to defuse that situation. I would encourage your ex to get involved to help you set guidelines and to enforce them.

I suggest:
Make prayer your top priority.
Make reconciliation with your husband a close second.

Pray that God will use this situation to make you the mother and wife He called you to be.
Pray you will have unconditional love for your husband and children.
Pray for wisdom to grow through this difficult situation.

You and all your children decide what would be fair and reasonable guidelines for living under your roof. Make certain that you are not punitive but make certain you will be comfortable with the final guidelines. It is YOUR HOME! Discuss the consequences for disregarding your guidelines. I suggest a warning for first offense, a financial consequence for a second "defying" your authority offense. A third defying offense will be a frank discussion if your children still want to live under your roof.

If your children continue to defy your authority - no matter their age - they are in control, not you.

As for W.O.W; it's not specifically evil, but your son is demonstrating that he is addicted to the game. He is choosing to "hide" in his game and not function as a normal healthy adult. That's his choice, but you don't have to have it in your home if it concerns you. I suggest encouraging him to get addiction counseling help as part of the guidelines for him to live in your home. Make certain he doesn't think you are "throwing him out" because he plays a game or missed Christmas. Your are giving him a choice to do what is best for his future or choose to live a destructive lifestyle.
If you don't want W.O.W. in your home, it's your home. Let me know what you decide. I care.
In His service and yours,
Al Menconi

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