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Monday, January 16, 2017

You're a Mother Forever--Or Not?

Mom says to her fifty-year-old son, “You have to obey me, because I’m your mother.” A different mom tells her thirty-six-year-old daughter what to wear, where she can go, and what time to be home.

Once a mother, always a mother?


And no.

You will always be your children’s mother, even if you’re eighty and they are sixty—exactly the case with my parents and me. My own “children” are in their thirties, married, and parents themselves. I am still their mother.

But, we’re going to talk about mothering. When does it stop? Does it stop?

Are you always responsible for your kids? Can you always boss them? Do they have to obey you?

I can’t tell you how many marriages have had issues over in-laws. His mom won’t let go. Her mom meddles. Parents pop in unannounced or call at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings—the only time their daughter and son-in-law can sleep in. I even heard about one mother-in-law who decorated the house for the newlyweds! (I’m sure she thought she was helping.)

Does the Bible address this? Yes, it does. I think we can find some valuable guidance about being grown children and being parents.

For adult children:

  • Honor your parents. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise (Ephesians 6:2).
  • Grow up. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Corinthians 13:11).
  • Take care of your parents in their old age. (Matthew 15:3-6)

For parents of grown children:

  • Be there as an advisor. Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding (Proverbs 4:1).
  • Be a friend. Her children arise up, and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28a).
  • Be a godly example. Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
  • Influence your grandchildren in a spiritual way. We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done. For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments (Psalm 78:4-7).

Some practical tips:
  1. Encourage adult children to live on their own and support themselves financially.
  2. Treat adult children as adults—even if they act like children. Let them make their own mistakes and have their own life experiences.
  3. Give advice when asked for it. Don’t preach when it’s not asked for. Keep communication open and free, not condemning or criticizing.
  4. Ask before volunteering to help.
  5. Give a married couple time at the beginning and end of the day. Don’t call too often either. Be considerate of their schedule.
  6. Love your children—always, unconditionally.
  7. Pray for your children, their spouses, and their children. Never give up praying. This is the best thing you can do for them.
  8. Love your grandchildren and look for ways to impact them for Christ. Can you give them a meaningful gift? Can you share about Jesus in a natural way—Christmas, Easter, birthday, etc.?

Once a mother, always a mother? Yes! 

God bless you as you effectively mother your adult children.


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