Parenting is messy. But sometimes it’s really messy.

That’s why I’m glad there are people like my friend Lori Wildenberg to guide us through the rough waters of parenting.

Lori and I talked in this week’s No More Perfect Podcast episode about the realities of having a prodigal child. Lori was my guest last week on the podcast and I asked her to come back this week to share her story of the hard parenting journey and the wisdom she has learned walking out her story.

As a licensed family and parent educator and parent coach, Lori is the author of five books. She and I both have walked down this path before with one or more of our children. It isn’t easy and sometimes you are consumed with the feeling that you failed as a parent. If you are in that place right now, this is the episode for you.

Join us as we dig into one of the toughest situations you can encounter in parenting and how to love your child through it all. Lori and I share our experiences with parenting children who walk a different path than we anticipated. We also explore what our children often fear the most, and offer practical direction for parents with a prodigal child. I pray this is an encouragement to you!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

My Key Takeaways:

1) Our children are often bracing themselves for shame and rejection. We need to meet that with love and acceptance. When our child’s struggles come to light, they have usually been preparing themselves for the moment you find out. They’ve anticipated that moment with fear. Our reaction should be one of love and acceptance. We may not like what our kids are doing, but they always need to know they are welcome in your home. Acceptance and approval of their choices are two different thing. We can accept and love our kids, but not agree with their opinions or choices. There may come a time where we need to stop helping our kids or our help has conditions with it, but when it comes to loving them, it should never be conditional.

2) For parents, there are seasons we are called to pursue and seasons we are called to wait. Letting our kids go is one of the hardest things we can do. But just like in the story of the prodigal son in the Bible (Luke 15:11–32), we may be called to wait, watch, and hope for our child’s return. There are times God asks us to pursue our children but, more often than not, he calls us to wait. Take some time to ask God: Am I supposed to be pursuing or am I supposed to be waiting right now?

3) We need to learn how to lovingly detach from the problems. It’s easy to get caught up in our kid’s problems. We want to protect and help them. As I shared in this episode, my kid’s problems were starting to steal my time and it felt like it was stealing my joy! We can still be there to love our children, but we don’t have to take on problems or stop our entire world to bail them out each time. In fact, sometimes we can become part of the problem by trying to help. In the example I share in this episode, I practiced lovingly detaching by showing up for my son for 15 minutes, telling him I loved him, and then leaving to continue with my plans. I was practicing loving my son, but also lovingly detaching from his problems.

About Lori:

Helping families build connections that last a lifetime is Lori Wildenberg’s passion. As a licensed family and parent educator and parent coach, Lori is the author of five (soon to be 6) books. Lori leads the popular MOMS Together Facebook page and group and co-hosts the companion MOMS Better Together Podcast with Life Audio. Lori and her husband, Tom, have 4 adult children. Their family is experiencing a growth spurt, adding a daughter- and sons-in-love, plus a few grandbabies to the gang. Learn more at





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