Are you a parent or grandparent who lives with a broken heart due to the behaviors and choices of one or several of your children or grandchildren? They may be under eighteen and still in your home or thirty-five and married with children. The feelings of loss, embarrassment and shame often keep us from reaching out to others for prayer and support.
You need to know that June 2nd is the Annual Day of Prayer for Prodigals, sponsored by Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ). This was designed for you!
When my husband and I found ourselves grieving the choices of our daughter, we suffered deeply when she moved out to pursue a life of substance abuse. We isolated ourselves. Heavily involved in our church and full-time ministry our whole adult lives, we didn’t want anyone to know what was going on. There would be too many questions, too much judgement, and too few people who could understand. Have you ever felt this way?
What was our greatest need? Prayer
You’ve been a good, loving, conscientious parent. You did the best you could. You thought you did it all right, you even took your child to church so they would believe in God and know right from wrong. You provided everything you thought was necessary for them to have a great life. But, somehow, you find yourself facing terribly painful situations with them that you never saw coming and you beat yourself up about it. You’re so hard on yourself, convinced it’s all your fault.
Your son or daughter has developed an addiction. They smoke pot every day. They need alcohol to function. They’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness (brain disorder) and either refuse treatment or can’t find the right medications. They’ve attempted suicide and been hopeless many times. Your daughter’s pregnant, or your son
Are you the parent or grandparent in pain from a broken heart? Is your pain from the choices, behaviors or struggles of your child or grandchild? Mental illness, addiction, self-injury, an eating disorder, suicidal tendencies, same-sex attraction, incarceration, or an unplanned pregnancy?
They feel like elephants sitting on our chests. They hang like menacing storm clouds over our heads, creating a constant state of anxiety and panic we can’t shake. Nausea is our regular unwanted companion. Maybe you’re a relative or friend of someone this describes. If so, I wrote this for you.
In my opinion, there are 5 things parents in pain (and yes, I’m a member of that club) want their loved ones and friends to know:
1. We need a lot of patience and understanding. Lots of it. We’re not ourselves. We can’t think straight. We may be more forgetful than usual. We may look all right on the outside, but inside we feel like we’re dying.
Parents who are in pain over the choices and behaviors of their children often feel like they’re being tossed about in a storm at sea. Whether it’s a rebellious teen or a troubled adult, the hurt is the same. It’s deep and wide and consuming.
Mental illness, addiction, self-injury, same-sex attraction, suicide attempts, divorce – it doesn’t matter. Pain is pain. It’s overwhelming, especially if they’re older and there are grandchildren in the picture. That adds to the heartache and worry. It complicates everything.
What can you grab on to that will hold you steady in your raging storm? Where can you turn for what you need – stability, encouragement, comfort, wisdom, hope, and strength?
Today’s blog was written by fellow mom blogger, Stacy Flury: Anchor of Promise. She has some excellent insights for parents of teens who are in crisis. I think you’ll find it helpful.
I have met a lot of parents with teens in crisis throughout the years and among them I found four common responses.
When a situation arises and your teen is in crisis, which one of these negative parenting styles are you implementing into your life?
The Denial Parent – Although you love your teen, you think that what they are doing is just a rebellious stage in their life in which they will finally outgrow it and get their life together with time. When you do see the outright dangers and concerns, you hope that it will quickly die down and be fixed on its own by the next day. If someone confronts the situation head on, you retreat and let them know that you are working on it but it is never addressed in the long run. When you cannot deny it any longer, you find many excuses as to why you couldn’t help in the first place.
This is part 2 from Sunday, March 29th’s blog post. This is the second installment of a collection of quotes to help parents whose children struggle with an addiction from Kathy Taughinbaugh. (Found at kathytaughinbaugh.com)
Glean from the wisdom of others and see if something here will help you on your journey from pain to peace.
“If there is one overriding “fact” in the world of behavior change, it is that people who record important information about their lives are the people most likely to succeed in making important changes in their lives.” ~ Robert Meyers, Ph.D., author of Get Your Loved One Sober