In the news recently was the mother who tried to buy a baby for her 14 year-old daughter who desperately wanted a child. Despite the fact of how very wrong this was, I did have some understanding of why this mother made the choices that she did.
When you see your child hurting, you as the parent only want the pain to go away. Maybe you have tried other methods to help erase the deep agony that your child is in. Not finding the way to ease their pain, you take matters into your own hands. Desperation can so easily lead to a distorted approach in finding healing.
You may be a parent whose child is so stressed out that they start to smoke cigarettes. You don’t want them to suffer the possible effects of cancer down the line so you look the other way after you mention other things that are less harmful, although illegal, as if giving permission without giving permission.
Then there’s the young boy who was caught looking at half nude women on the internet and you passed it off as the ‘coming of age’ and let it go. In the meanwhile, his curiosity becomes an obsession that grows into a full-blown porn addiction. You’ve talked to him many times about the issue but in the end, you give in and ignore the now massive problem and hope he grows out of it.
In time, you come to realize that you haven’t helped your teen at all. In fact, because we want so desperately to satisfy the needs or rescue our teen, we have instead caused more harm. We have encouraged the destructive behavior to a point in which it may be too late to turn the situation around.
No matter what your teen’s issues are, there comes a point in which your responsibility is called into accountability as a parent. Otherwise, a parent’s altering choices will surely affect the outcome of their teen. We as parents must fully weigh those decisions; such as the mother who sits in jail for trying to buy a baby for her daughter.
Parents are losing the battle of helping their teens in crisis. They are using all their own worldly wisdom and making unhealthy choices because they are panicking. They look to man, media or books for answers. I have rarely seen any of those avenues help a teen in crisis.
Instead, we are seeing a rise in parents today of appeasing their teens through friendship and giving them the things they want in order to make them happy just to keep them out of crisis. Unfortunately, this has only exacerbated their problems to the point of a complete breakdown of the family and of the teen.
The hero mentality of the parent to the teen must stop. They don’t need a hero. Teens need parents who are going to look out for the welfare of their teen, even if the teen doesn’t temporarily like it.
If you want to save your broken teen’s life, you have to speak truth, be firm, bring discipline, and give correction to your teen. The way about doing this is only with the help of God.
You are not there to be your teen’s best friend. You are there to raise them up to the fullest potential that they have been called for. Because honestly, every time you step into the arena of parenting “your” way, it will fail without a doubt. This is why God gave so much instruction, guidance, and wisdom in His Word. When we do things on our own, we ourselves are playing God and it will end in disaster.
This may require something of you that may be difficult, because it is the opposite of what you have been doing with your teen. Your teen may even think of you as unloving as you change the way of parenting them.
In the long run, you would be ensuring them a future life filled with healthiness and happiness through these changes. Before you get to that point, there will be some rough roads ahead of you. The good news is that you won’t be alone. Below is some helpful things that I have learned along the way.
1. Get a counselor! A counselor is not there to tell you what you did wrong. A counselor is there to guide you (and your teen) as help is given. Counselors are there to guide and listen. They give wise wisdom to point you in the direction you need to go as a parent. They will offer support. One tip of advice from one parent to another – listen to correction for you as a parent. This isn’t just a healing process for your teen but for you too.
2. Belong to a prayer group or support group who can uphold you during the tough times. Being alone in a crisis is not healthy or advisable. By having others uplifting you and encouraging you, the decisions you make will be done in a more balanced emotional and mental state. When a parent is upset or stressed it is very difficult to make good choices. When a prayer group or support group knows your needs, they can be there in that very crucial time.
3. Stay in touch with your Pastor or Clergy. They have resources that could be very beneficial to you. Keep them updated. They may even have a list of other parents who have been through similar crises and can get you connected with them.
4. Don’t diagnose your child! That can be very dangerous and foolish. It will also feed into fears and worries that are unnecessary. Leave it to the professionals to diagnose and prescribe the best tools to heal your teen.
5. Pray and read God’s Word. I cannot begin to tell you how much power there is by doing this. It gives peace during the times you don’t understand. If helps you discern some of the ongoing issues and give you direction to resolve those issues. It gives physical, mental, emotional and spiritual support when you feel that you cannot go on. It can break the chains that bind your teen who is in their biggest battle. And despite the crisis, you will even find time to rest and hear what God is saying to you.
6. Don’t share every detail of your teen’s struggles to family members or friends. They don’t know how to respond and sometimes they can give you wrong advice. Most importantly, your teen wouldn’t approve. Whatever is going on with your teen needs to stay private between them and their counselor.
There will be times in which you are scared, lonely, and unsure of what lies ahead. Remember, God has not forsaken you or left you. He knows all the details and hurts your teen is struggling in as well as you. Continue to seek Him. You will not be disappointed.
Psalm 9:9-10 “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
I ask that you lift up these weary parents and give them the strength they so desire and need during their very difficult time. Help them to focus not on the problems, but on You, the One who can meet their needs. Lead them to the right counselor and support team that will surround them with guidance and encouraging words. Let them know that they are not a failure as a parent, just a hurting parent that you can so easily touch. We know that you can give total healing to their broken child. Remind them of your many promises that you have given them in Your Word. Walk beside them, bend Your ear to their cries of help, and provide them with the answers they need.