4 Tips for Parenting an Adult Child Who Has Made Poor Choices

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Unfortunately, even good parents might one day see their adult children make poor choices. Here at Focus we’ve spoken with many heartbroken moms and dads who are grappling to understand and respond well to their grown kids’ decisions.

Here are four tips from our counselors on how parents can help their child get back on track.

1. Ease your guilt.
Every parent makes mistakes. However, as an adult, your son or daughter is now old enough to make their own choices and to take responsibility for them.

Parenting the Strong-Willed Child as a Team

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Let’s be honest: Parenting isn’t for the weak – especially when you’re raising a strong-willed child.

It’s not fun when a pint-sized little one defiantly refuses to obey or when a 14-year-old talks back. Our natural instincts want to kick in. It’s all too easy to respond in anger.

My wife, Jean, and I know this well. We have two teenage boys, and one of them is a strong-willed child. It’s interesting to look back over the years and see how he’s impacted Jean and me in different ways.

Is Your Family’s Schedule Overwhelmed?


I’ve got a riddle for you. “You can spend it, but you can’t keep it. And once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” Do you know what it is? Here’s a clue:

Let’s say you win a contest. The grand prize is $86,400 wired into your bank account each day at midnight. The money is yours to spend however you want. There’s just one catch. At the end of the day, every penny you don’t spend disappears from your account.

How to Pep Up Your Marriage

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Did you get married to work a job, to do laundry, or to pay bills? Most people don’t. Yet, many marriages wind up in exactly that kind of “ho-hum” condition. At some point after the euphoria of the wedding ceremony, life settles into a daily grind of routine activity. Careers are chased, children are born, a larger home is purchased with two new cars in the garage.

And, slowly, the romance fades.

What used to be hours on the phone together and regular date nights becomes two people who only talk about practical matters, like finances or the kids’ grades.

Avoid the Chore War with Your Kids

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Do you require your children to do chores? Many parents don’t bother. They’ve decided it’s easier to do the work themselves. That’s especially true if the kids fight the idea of helping out around the house and getting them involved becomes a chore all its own.

My wife and I have had moments ourselves where we wondered if it was worth all the trouble. But we never entertain the idea for long. As parents of two young, maturing boys, we’ve identified household chores as one of the most obvious and important opportunities they have to prepare for adulthood.

How Would You Answer This Critical Question?

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I decided to sit down with my boys over the Christmas break and have a talk with them.

We’ve already had THE talk about the birds and the bees. Trent is now 14 and Troy is 12. Like it or not, they’re well on their way toward the battles of life.

In fact, we regularly talk about the big issues of sex, drugs and drinking.  We have a mantra in our home which both boys can recite.

New Year’s Resolutions

I Will Live for God

It’s that time of year when we pause, reflect, regret, repent, and resolve to make some changes. I can’t say for certain, but I imagine losing weight and getting fit has to be at the top of the list for a few million people. Others desire to quit drinking or smoking, get out of debt, spend more time in with family and friends, and read more books. If you are a person of faith, resolving to spend focused time reading the Bible might be a big one, too.

Doing This Will Help Your Marriage

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My wife Jean always knows when I’ve taped a broadcast with author and speaker Dr. Gary Chapman.

It’s uncanny. I’ll walk through the door and, inspired by my time with Dr. Chapman, I’ll ask her something like, “What’s one thing I could do to help you today?” And she immediately knows who I’ve spent time with.

And that’s how God uses Dr. Chapman. He’s a relationship expert, and he helps couples create and maintain an emotionally safe environment in their marriages that is conducive to positive growth.

Can I Have Your Favorite Christmas Recipe?

Christmas cookies

A favorite from a few Christmases ago, this post features many interesting recipes in the comments section.  I hope some of these will inspire your family to spend some time cooking up some new memories together this Christmas… and if you think of it, please consider adding your family’s favorite recipe, too! -JD


Food ranks high among the many wonderful traditions of Christmas. Depending upon your family’s heritage and where you were raised, you probably have your favorite holiday treats.

Our Christmas Video Gift for You


There is something special and nostalgic about Christmas. You may find yourself back in the church of your childhood, lifting a lighted candle and singing the familiar carols of the season, your own kids by your side. Perhaps your children are now grown, and far from home this year. It might be quieter than you want it to be. Or maybe you’re far from home yourself this year, forging new traditions and experiences. Whatever your circumstance, Christmas is coming and the world’s largest birthday celebration is almost here.