How to repair and restore your relationship with your adult child

While your child may be an adult now, they are still your son or your daughter. If you have an estranged relationship with your adult child, your heart grieves just as it would when they were living under your roof.

Though, because they aren’t under your rules and direction any longer, it can be difficult to know how to go about repairing that broken relationship. You don’t want to push them away any further than they already are, but you want to do all that you can to bring peace between the two of you. What’s the best way to pursue your adult child?

We recently talked with Jonathan “JP” Pokluda about this topic during an exclusive audio interview inside Kirk Cameron’s The Campfire. JP serves as a campus pastor at Watermark Community Church and is the author of  Welcome to Adulting: Navigating Faith, Finances, Friendship, and the Future. He also leads The Porch, where more than 3,000 young adults in their 20’s and 30’s spend their Tuesday nights together, worshipping God and studying His Word.

With his experience studying and leading young adults, we wanted to hear his perspective on how parents should begin to restore broken relationships with their children.

He prefaced his answer, “I don’t presume to know all of the little intricacies that make all of the stories of your listeners.” He asks that the listeners would test this advice to see if it is helpful for their situation.

So, what’s the best first step parents should take?

Ask for forgiveness.

JP knows that many of you may be thinking, “Ask for forgiveness? For what? I’ve poured my life, my time, my money, my attention, and my resources into that child and they have gone their own way.”

And all of that may be true, which can certainly make the distance between you and your child even more painful. However, JP encourages you with this:

“I would have you ask the Lord, ‘Is there anything I can own? Do I have a part in this?'”

He goes on to say that even if “your part” may only be two percent of the problem, while your child is responsible for the other 98 percent, you should still own 100 percent of your two percent.

Read that again.

Own 100 percent of your two percent. 

What does that look like? JP explains, “Even if you are two percent at fault, you can go to them first, and lead out, not to say, ‘I’m sorry but,’ or, ‘Will you forgive me but,’ but just to focus on your two percent.”

After sharing a few examples, JP reminds parents that while you may not see God work right then and there, it is a great way to build a bridge with your child that wasn’t there before.

Listen to a clip from the interview below:

If you have already gracefully and lovingly asked for forgiveness for your two, 15, or 80 percent, and you haven’t seen fruit from that conversation, keep praying. God can change hearts, He can restore that relationship, and He hears you. Keep fighting the good fight of faith, and keep loving your child unconditionally.

To hear about JP’s book, Welcome to Adulting, and to learn more about connecting with your adult child, listen to the full interview when you sign up for a free 14-day experience of Kirk Cameron’s The Campfire. 


Caitlin Jordan is the assistant editor for TheCourage. She lives with her husband, Ryan, in Dallas, Texas. She is passionate about the importance of transparency and loving those that disagree with Christian beliefs. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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