It’s all over the news. You can’t escape it. No matter what your opinions, thoughts, ideals, or philosophy on the topic, one thing is very apparent; bashing the parents will bring more harm nationally to families who have teens/children in crisis.
How do I know? I talk to many parents who have teens in crisis: which consists of doing harm to themselves, to others, having addictions such as porn and drugs, sexual promiscuity, risky behavior and more.
Parents of these teens struggle with:
When parents find out that their child has been involved in risky behavior or dangerous activity, they react in many different ways.
1. Go numb, be in shock, and not able to respond to those issues
2. Get defensive and have unbelief that their child would do something like this
3. Shut down out of shame and embarrassment
4. Unable to ask for help because they don’t know how or who to go to
5. Immediately make decisions that may not be in the best interest of that child/teen in crisis
6. Pretend that it didn’t happen
7. Get angry, then hurt or shame the child/teen as to defend their honor or defend themselves as a parent (e.g. public shaming)
8. Wait and hope that what they know isn’t true as well as getting help
The fact is, no one can know the whole circumstance unless you lived with that family. I personally have never followed their story on TLC. I have not read their books, although I was given a book written by the daughters as a gift from someone.
But what I do know is that this national bashing is only bringing back the past trauma for the sibling victims as well as any victim outside the family. How does this bashing help them?
Parents across the world are watching this ever so closely. What if they found out that their teen daughter or son did the same as Josh Duggar? Would they reach out for help? I’m not so sure they will. They are seeing very clearly instead, the violent talk about how they want the Duggar parents to go to jail or to rip the children out of the home. It won’t surprise me if social workers are called in next to make sure that Josh’s children haven’t been molested or harmed in some way. I’m all for protection, however, until evidence is brought up, there would be even more damage to the Duggar children.
Having read a portion of the book, Growing Up Duggar, it is obvious that these young women are very mature, knowledgeable, smart, and do not show any symptoms of post-trauma (from what I have read thus far) from the event that happened so many years ago. If they did, it would be evident in many ways, privately and outwardly. But now that Josh’s past is being drudged up again, it can most likely cause pain and hurt for these young ladies as if they are reliving that moment of time. Is this really the right thing to do?
In the end, their story has catapulted many parents to pull back and keep their teen’s crisis private so that they are not condemned and ridiculed as the Duggars have recently. As a society, we did not move forward in helping victims of sexual abuse, but backwards.
So how then can we help victims? I believe that though some are in the public eye, that doesn’t mean that their private life should be plastered across the media for a frenzy bashing. There are innocent young people and children involved here that didn’t ask for their stories to be exposed on such a very sexual and private nature. That is abuse again – emotionally and mentally. This time, it isn’t at the hand of someone in the family, but by the public and media.
I believe that all sexual abuse information and stories need to be kept under a no speak or share order when it comes to teens and children. Safety and mental health is the priority.
We need to also make available more information for parents to go to when they do encounter a crisis such as this. Unfortunately, sibling abuse is rampant around the world, not just physical but sexual too. We need to make more resources available to them. Otherwise, parents will try to fix the problem on their own which never solves the issue. It can and will get worse.
Have compassion on parents until the matter is dealt with among professionals. The public and media only intensify the problems and make parents scared and unwilling to get the help due to the fear that has been instilled in them.
Encourage teamwork – have multiple parties involved (pastor’s, support groups, medical/mental health professionals, and family). Families need as much support as they can get. By doing so, there is much more wisdom involved to help that family heal and make good decisions. And if justice needs to be served, let it be served in the privacy of those involved along with the professionals.
The goal for these families – they need prayer, understanding, and be free of judgment. Only then can they be set on the correct path for healing and a healthy future.
Image Courtesy of Stoonn by FreeDigitalPhotos.net