Have you ever heard of the expression, “3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back”? I know I have and believe me, I hated it for a long time. Why? Because we have a tendency to look at the negative first instead of the positive.
Raising teenagers and dealing with the crises day in and day out, you wonder if you will ever see any good changes. When those changes come, they sometimes are either a fleeting moment or something really small and hard to see, but longer lasting.
As a parent, I had often gotten myself overly excited about my teen turning a new leaf in their life only to be short-lived. What I didn’t realize though, is that changes come with time. We live in a fast world wanting fast changes with fast results. But you cannot do that with people, let alone teenagers.
They think and deal with things differently than adults. That is something I have to remind myself from time to time.
What I have learned more than anything else is that the smaller changes last longer and eventually turn into bigger and better changes than those fast and quick turnovers. I have also come to the conclusion that I had looked too much at the negative of those two steps back instead of the one gained step that stuck.
So, if your teen has been battling with drugs or self-harm for a long time, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and you start to see that it is changing to 5-6 days a week and less hours of the day, then rejoice! It means that a slow transformation is taking place. It may take weeks, months and even a few years to really see its completion. Until that end goal is met, we must continue to praise them and encourage them in those little changes as well as pray for them.
The next time you see your teen go 3 steps forward in their transformation, be prepared and slow down your expectations. Because part of those 3 steps forward might be too much for your teen to handle which is why they can fall back. It took a whole year for my daughter to stop self-harming and six years to accept herself and be secure in her own identity.
When we as parents put the pressure on for them to change, it becomes too overwhelming for them to handle and then a relapse occurs. By not adding so much pressure to change, they find more strength on their own which is exactly what we want. This will last longer and be more beneficial to them in knowing how to learn and cope with future problems.
When all is said and done, be encouraged and find hope in that added step.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.