Advice for parents of adult children

Hi, I know this question is very basic but sometimes answers are not so clear. But here goes.
We have 3 adult children. When they were at the end of teens and beginning of 20’s we always had the rule at our house that if they brought home a boyfriend or girlfriend they were not allowed to share a bedroom at our house. They just knew that was a rule. We had 2 younger children in the house also at the time. Now, speed ahead 12-15 years. Two of our adult children are divorced but recently have partners. The last couple times our daughter has come home, she and her partner opted to get a hotel room. We are soon going on a trip as a family and it has come up again. We as parents just do not feel comfortable paying for a hotel for them together. We offered for our daughter to share our room and her partner share a room with our son. They are getting their own room. I believe it is really beginning to alienate them from us. Our daughter’s partner did not grow up in a Christian home. Joshua 24:15 was always the scripture we have used to explain our reasoning," As for me and my house…" Is there a time when the relationship is more important than the rules? Has anyone else had this situation and how do you handle it?
Thank you,


Thank you this is a question for many who’s children have changed over time. For my wife and I who cohabitated prior to marriage which all our children knew it was difficult for them to grasp the new standard we had to set, just as well as you had done. Tough love is real love when we love the sinner but not the sin. Your home has rules without rules there is chaos and confusion. We know that author. With our Children they did not always agree. But ultimatley respected our wishes and the standard set. I appreciate your stand for truth.


Thank you very much for your encouragement, Mike.

Hi Lindylou @Lindylou. I hear your heart on this. I have not had such a situation, but one similar. My brother-in-law was dating a woman who contributed to the break-up of his first marriage. He was not living a Christian life at the time. He wanted to come visit us and bring his new girlfriend. My husband and I felt we could not accept her in our home at the time because of what she had done. He respected that and so came without her. He did go on to marry her, and we were forced to accept the marriage for the sake of peace in the family. That marriage failed, but he has now become a strong Christian. I think if we hadn’t accepted the marriage, it could have been a different story. So, a different situation from yours, but one in which we felt we had to maintain what we felt was honoring to God.
I am blessed to have a daughter who is raising her children continuing the standard her father and I set. I think the policy we always set was one of consistency, but also one of bending when it didn’t mean compromising godly standards.
As to your situation, first, I think you have to accept that your children are now adults making their own decisions and mistakes. Second, God does not hold you responsible for their actions now. Their mistakes and “unChristian” lifestyle do not mean you have to conform to them. You must realize that your standards and rules are not yours…they are God’s. Third, you are answering to God, not your adult children. They have rejected God for now, but that doesn’t mean you need to go along with them just to keep peace in the family. Unfortunately, this is one of those prices we pay for maintaining a godly standard. Your consistency will speak far more volumes than if you compromise out of fear of alienating them.
So, what can you do? You can assure your daughter of your total love for her and show her your love. In fact, it’s because you do love her, that you are maintaining God’s rules. You treat her partner fairly and respectfully, not with hostility. I think if they marry, you will need to treat the marriage with respect. It doesn’t mean you cave to their current lifestyle.
Because your daughter is an adult, if she chooses to reject those rules and your love for her in this way, it is her decision, not yours. It will be painful, but it is a sacrifice you may have to endure for the sake of Christ. God will honor you for it.

“Whoever serves me must follow me…My Father will honor the one who serves me”(John 12:26)

Remember what Peter and the other apostles said in Acts 5:29: “We must obey God rather than man”.
You are not being legalistic here. You are being an obedient and caring child of God. Just be sure that the rest of your life reflects Christ. Examine yourself and ask God if there is any wayward way in you that is being projected. Then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, respond. The way you live your life will speak far more volumes than what you say.
This is a hard one. I will pray and ask the Lord to give you guidance and strength.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to send wise words. The encouragement from brothers and sisters in Christ help us stand stronger in our faith.