A while back I spoke with a young woman whose daughter was in a program appointed by the court. Her daughter would be staying in the program for about a year. This was really hard on the mom but if the program was going to help her daughter, then she would do her best to be strong and support her child while they finished out the year being separated.
Being away from her daughter was going to be very difficult. However, her hopes and desires for her daughter would be for her to succeed from the program with improved behavior and get the therapy that she so desperately needed. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long in which this mother began to quickly understand the undermining of her authority by those in the program.
In due time, the relationship between the staff of the program and this parent became strained. Then it happened. Instead of the program supporting the family, they were causing issues that brought more distance and damage to the relationship of this parent with their child.
When faced with difficult circumstances such as this, it is hard to fathom how God could allow such a situation to take place. It is even more unbearable when you feel all control as a parent was taken from you, leaving you hopeless and in despair.
What I have learned as a Christian and as a parent is that I can’t control everything in my teen’s life, including protecting them. This is impossible at every angle. Parents also can’t (as much as you would like to) control those who oversee your teen in a court-appointed program, center or in juvenile detention. We DO however, have control over how we pray and what to pray for.
I am a big proponent of praying for our children. Here are some of the prayers that I have prayed for various situations which can be used by parents in their situation now –
Lord, please remove every person that negatively influences my teen.
God, do whatever it takes to bring my teen to their senses.
Lord, reveal truth and discernment so that they will make better choices.
Heavenly Father, expose the lies of others around my teen in order to protect her.
Jesus, remove the blinders off of my child’s eyes so that she can know darkness from light.
Lord, bring Godly people in my child’s life to minister to her deep hurts and pain that she has been carrying.
God, remove people around her that will bring harm to her mind and spirit.
Lord, deliver my teen from their risky behavior and bad choices.
Father, protect my teen from those who do not have her best interest at heart and only cause division for our family.
Jesus, surround my teen with other Christians and people who truly want to bring about healing in her life.
Heavenly Father, protect my teen’s mind, their emotions, their body and their spirit from those who do not care about my child’s welfare.
While you are praying for your teen, there are some things that you can do. Some parents have teens in detention, a program or center in which they either have little say or do have things to say but are not being heard. As a parent, you have rights when it comes to parenting your child. If a worker or staff member is not responsive to the needs you feel are imperative for your teen, it is important to make yourself known.
Go to the top – find the director, the manager, or whoever is in charge and ask for meetings with them to discuss the welfare of your child. Find out your child’s schedule, schooling, counseling, health needs, etc… If you are still having trouble, seek out a counselor or CMO who can intervene in the child’s care and be a mediator for you and the program/detention staff. In the state of New Jersey, we have CMO’s.
Defintion of a CMO – Care management organizations (CMO’s) are agencies that provide a full range of treatment and support services to children with the most complex needs. They work with child-family teams to develop individualized service plans. The CMO’s goals are to keep children in their homes, their schools and their communities.
Each state has a form of care manager (although they may not be called by that name) and the service is free. They are especially helpful when you have a teen in crisis who needs extra care and resources.
Seek out your pastor. In many places a parent cannot go, clergy is able. They can represent you and your family and find a way to get resolve to the matters at hand that you are experiencing. If your teen has a counselor on the outside of any program or center, ask for their input. They too, may be able to also inquire and get you support.
No matter the battle, it is the Lord’s not yours. Every day be prepared with your armor on. Remind yourself who is in charge – God Almighty! He already won the war, all you have to do is pray against the enemy’s attacks of discouragement, pray with faith, and trust in the Lord.
This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.
For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark
world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 NIV
We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds
of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT