Don't Try to Control Your Adult Children


We told our daughter we didn't approve of her fiancé, but she wouldn't listen to us. So far they seem to be getting along OK, but we still think she could have done better. How should we handle this?


We can’t always control what our children do as they grow older and become adults—nor should we. And even when they make mistakes or go against our advice, they are still our children, and we still love them and want what is best for them.

This is why I hope you won’t cut yourself off from your daughter and her husband (as your letter elsewhere says you’re tempted to do). After all, what would be gained by this? It wouldn’t change your daughter’s situation; if anything, it would only alienate her from you and make it harder to be reconciled in the future. In addition, if they have children someday, why should you deny them the privilege of knowing their grandparents?

Instead, accept the situation as it is. Rather than rejecting them or wishing ill of them, I challenge you to pray for them and ask God to bless them as a couple. God may answer your prayer in surprising ways—and even change your attitude. God loves them just as much as He loves you, and He “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

In addition, do all you can to reach out to them—not in an overbearing way, but simply to let them know you care for them and value them as part of your family. Encourage them also to put Christ at the center of their marriage. May this also be a time of recommitment on your part—to each other, and most of all to Jesus Christ.