For many families who have a teen in crisis, the most common problem is the elephant in the room. Now for those who are not familiar with that term, it is in essence the metaphorical idiom to describe an obvious issue that no one wants to discuss. By pretending that it does not exist, you wouldn’t have to face it and deal with it.
In many homes across the world, there are families with a large elephant in their home. It is so big, that the thought of discussing it might destroy whatever family is hanging together by a thread.
That elephant could be a representative of an eating disorder, self-harm, addiction, gender issue,mental illness or disorder. It could be a plethora of things that are upsetting and hard to swallow.
However, if the elephant remains in the room, there will never be a chance to restore the family and find the healing that the family needs.
As we all know, truth is hard to hear. There is this vulnerability to open yourself to a place that can feel scary or shameful. Sometimes that fear is caused by a parent’s perception that if they speak truth to their teen, their teen will stop loving them or leave them. For others, shame can lead you to hide from the truth and accept the elephant as if it is a piece of furniture in the room which will not improve the situation.
In either case, eventually you can’t keep ignoring the elephant. It will get bigger and bigger until it destroys everything.
So, what do you do?
Confess – Confess that there actually IS an elephant in the room in the first place.
Admit – Come to terms that you are not alone. Many broken and hurting families have an elephant in their home and yours is no different. It is better to confront this now than to realize that any hope for restoration is too late.
Plan – Make a plan in how to get rid of the elephant. Don’t just confess and admit there is one but follow up on how to put it where it belongs.
Take Charge – Be a leader. Even if you feel like you’re the weaker person in the situation, take steps to get you in the right direction. Call a counselor, call your pastor, or call a close friend. Get it out in the open.
Communicate – Talk to your teen about your concern, your love for them, and your desire to have healing for them and yourself. You just might find out that they truly want help but are looking for you to lead the way.
Get Support – You can’t do this alone. Seek others to encourage and pray for you. Find a support group who understands the real issues up close. Get an accountability partner so that you are doing all that you need to do on your end for your teen and for yourself.
Pray & Read – Dive into God’s Word and pray for guidance and wisdom as you take steps of restoration for your family. Find several encouraging and powerful scriptures and post them on your mirror, refrigerator, in your car or on your phone. By doing this on a daily routine, it will build your faith and trust in the Lord to help you find strength during some really tough stuff.