Win the relationship, not the argument

“I could easily become an old man sitting in my rocking chair waiting for my kids to come home.”

These are the words said to me by a father, when discussing his struggle with his children’s life choices and his current response to them.

In many way’s I can relate, I’m not a natural at this relationship thing myself. But I did catch myself saying to him; “We can’t tell our adult teens what to do. All we have with them is our relationship, and if we don’t have that, we have nothing.”

Leadership Author, Pastor and Speaker Andy Stanley say’s something like: “We all want a thing or a fling, but what we all come to really, really want, is a great relationship with our adult children.” It’s so true.

However, in addition to the hustle for things and flings, the other big thing that can get in the way of the relationships with our adult children is our ideals.

The reality is, the time for telling, instructing and boundaries is when children are young. At some point along the way, and the timing is different for each child, you need to tell less and influence more. There needs to be less rules and more relationship.

Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone. Healthy influence always happens inside of a healthy relationship.

So if you are seeing the life choices of your young adult diverging away from your perfect ideals, remember your relationship is always more important than your ideals.

How can you influence your adult children without condemning their choices or implementing new rules?

No tips from me, you have to work that out for yourself.

Just remember, you don’t want to become that old man, knowing his kids are crystal clear on your ideals, but grow old in your rocking chair, alone.

When it comes to our children – relationships are always more important than our ideals.