When a police officer was asked how many robberies he had responded to since the Coronavirus impacted our country, the answer was quite revealing.
He only had to say a few words – “No robberies, family violence is what we are dealing with now.” Police stations across the country are seeing an increase of double digits in violence within the home. Although most of them are domestic violence between husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc…, we cannot leave out the violence that transpires between a parent and child.
The COVID-19 crisis has now developed into a family crisis. Even as Christians, we are not immune to violence and abuse in the home when you are dealing with a hurting and broken teen/young adult. Either we snap as a parent or our child does.
The stress levels for parents over the loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of hope, have elevated a torrential downfall of emotions never experienced before. Fear, worry, anger, and stress are just a few. Living within four walls daily with someone always in crisis furthers the feelings of despair and loss of control. Like a ship in the severe storm, you cannot see where you are going and just want to know it will end.
How on earth are we supposed to handle all of this?
My daughter and I were discussing one of those moments that happened a while back when her PTSD and anger were at an all time high. Her mental health was deteriorating in front of me. A conversation turned volatile as words were exchanged and with us both ready to fall apart, we let loose. Before we realized it, a shove took place and then a Ninja Turtle move of falling backwards in a roll and popping back up like a poptart with fists drawn. Today we laugh about it and I have since nicknamed her my Little Ninja to which she jokes about quite often.
At the time however, it was not funny at all. A third person entered the picture and before we knew it, we were both hugging and crying in each other’s arms. A nice scene in a movie, many families do not have this kind of outcome. For some, a child leaves home threatening to never come back. Other cases, a child may become more suicidal or act out in a way that is not only dangerous to themselves but to others too.
As a Christian, we may be chastised and told to walk away or pray over the dilemma before handling a very hot and serious situation. Truth is, as much as we agree with that, we are also very human, carrying loads of emotions that will burst inside of us because we have been holding it in for such a long time for the sake of the child.
For many families, they may have a counselor or therapy specialist who can see the child to help them get through whatever problems they are dealing with. Now with the mandates across the states due to the COVID-19, those in the mental health field are turning patients/clients away due to restrictions as well as safety and only dealing with emergency cases. So where does that leave the family who are struggling with their teen/young adult in the home?
I can honestly admit that when I wasn’t spiritually prepared, that is when chaos started. When your home is not spiritually protected, this leaves doors open for satan to attack at your most vulnerable moments. A good resource to rid that chaos is Purging Your House Pruning Your Family Tree by Perry Stone.
For some parents with multiple ages of children and schooling them during the COVID crisis much of your time is taken to just get them fed, do school, and break apart arguments. Before the sun rises is one of my opportunities to sit quietly in my bed and read God’s Word and pray. The only other time I have available is back in my bed again, to read and pray before falling asleep. This however, should never stop you from communicating with God. He is ever present, always listening, and by your side. When I am not able to sit quietly (especially as a grandmother with two toddlers living with me), I share my innermost thoughts and prayers with God silently.
Time is not the issue as to how long you spend with God. It is your heart that He looks into. He already knows what is going on in your home. Maybe you feel inadequate as to how to pray for you and your family’s problems. There are some great prayer books that can encourage you to recite the verses and apply them to your circumstances as well as wonderful prayers. Another great resource is From the Courtroom of Heaven Prayers & Petitions to the Throne of Grace and Mercy by Jeanette Strauss.
What about all those bottled emotions? Get outdoors if you can. Find games to interact with your teen. Watch movies. Talk about remodeling a room or future goals. Go ahead and even ask about how they feel regarding the COVID-19. Just listen. There is either a lot of fear behind their answer or feelings of ridiculousness behind it. This is a wonderful way to open doors of communication with your child. If your child is unresponsive to you, pray and ask God to break that wall down. He will do it. God will provide a way.
The most important area that you need to keep in check is your own emotions. When we are stressed, it trickles down to the ones we love. This is how angry words get fed. Our children in crisis need to see a parent who is stable and open for that time in which the teen or young adult needs them. We want to be a vessel for God to work through, even through our emotional state.
My emotions were quite often all over the place. For parents now, it is even greater. For such a time as this, God directed me to write my devotional – Turning the Tide of Emotional Turbulence: Devotions for Parents with Teens in Crisis (although you can have a child at any age). You do not have to be alone in your crisis. Take it from someone who understands.
I leave you with this – “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13
Remember that God will meet you in your place right now and will continue to comfort you and guide you through your journey as a parent. The COVID-19 virus cannot stop God from working on your family in crisis. Praying for you today!