"My older child is making bad choices - they are not listening to me and are choosing to live in sin. What should I do?"
Is your child making bad choices?
Maybe they are smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or running with a bad crowd?
You are not alone.
God loves you and wants to help you through this difficult time of parenting.
If this is what you are going through, here are a few steps you might want to consider taking:
God is the One who gives all wisdom so pray that He will give you wisdom on how to handle your situation with your child. He knows you and your child (even better than you know them) and He loves them just as much.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. ~James 1:5
Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. ~1 Peter 5:7
2. Address their sin with them and if they don't listen consider what consequences need to made.
Don't turn a blind eye to their sin. Sit them down, talk with them, and point them to the Scriptures. Warn them about their behavior and how God views it. If they continually don't listen to you then you will need to consider what consequences they will have to face.
3. Don't give up.
You might find it easy to lose hope and grow weary chasing after your child that is going astray but you must not give up! Remember, it is ultimately God they are rebelling against. Darkness loves darkness and that is why it is important to bring it to God and shine His light of it.
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
4. Have hope in God.
It is important not to lose hope here. Remember that even through the toughest storm and trial that you have God and He is by your side. Do not let Satan speak his lies to you about giving up on your child, giving you a guilt trip, tempting you to sin yourself, or making you feel hopeless.
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." ~Romans 12:12
5. You are not alone.
You are not the only parent going through hard times, just remember that many parents have walked through the same things. I have mentioned before about Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, who had two prodigals and there are many others who have also walked in their shoes. Consider also how we continue to sin towards God even as we are His children. God, Himself, knows what it is like to have His creation rebel against Him and go astray. He knows your pain and will walk with you through your trial with your child.
6. Get help as needed.
Relationships and parenting can be complicated so if you need help and the problem is serious (drugs, drinking, etc.) then you might need counseling depending on the situation. Seek out wise counsel such as your pastor or Christian counseling.
Have you gone through a hard time with your child?
Feel free to share any biblical, helpful advice in the comments.