I have a thirty-year-old daughter who was widowed and left alone with two daughters. After her husband passed away, her father and I asked her to move into our house… because we wanted to help her out.
Four years have passed, and my daughter is still living at home with us. Although she is no bother, my husband and I are worried because we want her to make a life for herself while she is still young. She has had three boyfriends, but nothing serious. She works and goes to school, and my husband and I take care of the girls. I want to stress that our daughter does not inconvenience us, but we want to help her and we don’t know how.
How blessed your daughter is to have you! How blessed your granddaughters are to have you! And how wonderful that you have a place for them and can participate in their lives!
All good parents are concerned about their children’s futures, so of course you want your daughter to have a happy life. But she is not a woman alone in the world. She has two daughters who must take first place in her life. She is being very responsible by working to support them and studying to improve their economic future. And while she does those things, you provide stability and a happy home for your granddaughters.
If your daughter had gotten into trouble because of irresponsibility or poor decision making, our counsel would be different. But she did nothing unwise or wrong. She has no fault at all for being alone with two daughters. So we encourage you to help her as long as you can, even up until the time that the little girls become adults. It is almost always better for children to have a loving grandfather than a new step-father. In this case, a step-father could resent the demands that the girls make on his new wife. And it is certainly better for your daughter to devote her time to the girls rather than to a new relationship. The girls came first in her life, so they must have priority until they are adults.
We expect many people to disagree with our opinion. They will write to us and say that your daughter deserves to have a relationship now, without waiting until her daughters are grown up. Of course she deserves that! But as a mother, she must be certain that any change in her life is also best for the girls’ lives.
By assisting your daughter, you are also doing God’s work. King David described God as “A father to the fatherless” and “a defender of widows.”1 Our Heavenly Father loves and cares about your daughter and her children even more than you do. If you ask Him, He will be with you and help you in any future decisions or difficulties. And if your daughter will trust in Him, He can give her the wisdom and help that she needs to make a better life for herself and those precious little ones.
We wish that every young widow had parents like you and your husband!
Linda and Charles
1 Ps 68:5