Before commencing on how to deal with a prodigal child, let’s go to the meaning of the same. The literal meaning of prodigal is wasteful—mostly with regard to money. Its origin lies in the Latin word ‘proagere’ where ‘pro’ means forth and ‘agere’ means to drive. It talks about a person who wastes money by spending it in a reckless manner.
A prodigal child is almost always adamant to make damaging and dangerous decisions, which is quite disheartening for a parent to see. The given points will help parents breathe a fresh whiff of oxygen to deal with such a situation.
- All decisions are God’s: If you realise and accept that all decisions are made by the almighty, you will live peacefully. A human being cannot take charge of another person’s attitude. And when we force things upon anyone, we often end up doing more harm than good.
- Being good to yourself: One of the most important things for a person is to take care of oneself. Sometimes, you need to go out and hang around with your friends. Friends act as great counsellors and when you see them often, you will naturally feel relieved and your body will act in a positive manner. Staying healthy and fit when you know your loved ones need you is your foremost duty.
- Love unconditionally: When you love someone, there would be no complaints. All that needs to be there is just love. Don’t give up on your prodigal child, but pamper him/her and shower as much love as you have on them.
- Bail them out: Sometimes, you need to let the person you love make his/her own choices. Being a parent, you would think selfishly in terms of your child’s betterment and protection. But sometimes, release is the best option to pick to let your child decide on his/her own.
- Accept them: Possess the power to receive your child after he/she has been long off. You should have the courage to accept them, show compassion towards them, run for them, and embrace and kiss them. This will make them feel welcome. You may experience much pain from what your prodigal kid put you through, but upon their return, remember to shower your love on them.
- This too shall pass: Know that this is just a temporary phase, which will definitely get over. This attitude makes it less painful when you watch the destructive behaviour of your children.
- Don’t think you are alone: Everyone has their issues which parents of prodigals do not often consider. These parents feel they are alone and none can relate to their problems. But the truth is there are many people out there who are ready to listen to you and be by your side—just explore.
- Develop boundaries: Say no to abusive behaviour from your prodigal child. Draft out the rules to follow at home. Your prodigal child will throw tantrums, but when you establish boundaries, they will try to act accordingly. Strategize in a way that your child should feel that if they cross their limits, it will have serious repercussions.
- Pray: When you know your strength is waning, pray for your prodigal daily. You can put forth your wish list before God.
- Never give up: It may take your prodigal child weeks, months or years to correct themselves, but never give up the hope of them improving over time.