When parents with teens in crisis get overwhelmed with no hope, they start a process within them to protect their heart. It is called, “Detachment”. For many parents, this is not something willingly expressed but instead suppressed. If you think about it, how many moms and dads with teens in crisis are willing to openly share their true feelings as a parent?
While many do not want to talk about it, they often want to run away from it. For some, the fear of news that their teen overdosed on drugs, cut themselves so much that they ended up in the hospital or ran off with a total stranger can be very distressing.
In the meantime, those parents who are weary and tired are also vulnerable to that detachment. In their mind, they find that it is easier to distant themselves from their struggling teen as a way to cope with the everyday problems that continue without any let-up.
In all the years that I have met struggling parents, there has never been one parent that really didn’t love their teen or young adult. However, their hope was extinguished to the point of giving up out of frustration, as well as feeling isolated and alone. They had nothing more to give of themselves. Unfortunately, with that mindset in the parents, the teen in crisis continued the cycle of their pain and hurt which only evolved into something worse.
We should never judge these parents who feel helpless in their circumstances. Each situation is different and so of course, we can’t always understand what they are going through. But it is okay to let them know that they are not a horrible person for the feelings that they have. Remember, dealing with a teen or young adult in crisis is a day in and day out job. It taxes you in every area of your life; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
It can also lead to open doors of other problems in a parent’s life such as depression or abusing substances they never thought they would be doing. Parents also feel drained in caring for the siblings of those in crisis. They need just as much attention and sometimes more because these siblings often feel that they lost their parents to the brother or sister who is in crisis. It is a balancing act of caring for the needs of all children within the family dynamic, even in crisis.
So what if you are that parent and your teen has worn you down to the point of almost declaring a divorce from your child?
First, recognize that a lot of parents feel tormented with the same emotions you have towards your child.
Secondly, the one way which is often the most difficult, is openly sharing what is going on in your life through a counselor, a pastor, or a good family member or friend.
Lastly, seek help as soon as possible for your teen. Don’t try to fix things yourself. It never works. You need a support team working together in an effective way.
Remember also when getting help, there will be times in which you the parent will need counsel as well. In order for the family to find healing, all those involved in the family should have counsel. It only strengthens the family, not harm it.
If we would like to see changes in our teen, we as the parents must also be willing to change. You must also consider what part you played in the situation of your teen in crisis. This is not a time for doing the blame game. But if we want to see a huge turn-around in our teens, we have to be willing to admit to or own up to where we missed it.
In the end, the goal is this. Letting our teen know that they are still loved and cherished. Telling them, not so much in words but in actions, that they are of great value and although we may feel exhausted, we are not giving up in getting them the help they need. Even when you have done all of this and there is nothing more you can do physically, you can lay them at the altar of God’s feet and pray for them.
Until they come around, YOU, get the counsel and help you need…for yourself. Surround yourself with a support group specific to the crisis your teen is in so you have someone who understands what you are going through. Go to church regularly to find fellowship and for others to pray for you. Meet with a pastor or clergy and a counselor to get advice and input. So when that time comes when your teen really needs you, you will be strong, empowered, and have a support system in place.
Proverbs 15:22 – Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
Romans 8:26 – In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.