Halloween: 5 Tips to Help Parents of Teens

How Will You Cope with the Stress?

Halloween. The day was fun when my children were small, but not when they were older. Maybe you enjoyed the day when your kids were young, too, but now … everything’s different. Your son used it for an excuse to go out and drink with his friends – or worse. Your daughter planned to sneak off and meet up with that boy you know is bad news or smoke pot with her friends while they’re out trick or treating.


Now you dread the night. If you’re child is a minor, you feel like you have to be the bad guy – again. Your child will treat you that way when you ask those annoying, oh-so-hard questions: “Who’s going with you? Where are you planning to go? You’re wearing that? When will you be home? Who is __________?”

Then there’s the oh-so-tough boundaries you have to remind them about – and enforce, even if you don’t feel like it: “No, you can’t go there.” “I’d rather you not be with them.” “No, you can’t ride in their car.”

You can do this … but you can’t do that. This isn’t the best idea … that sounds risky. “You need to work on making another plan, please.” Ugh.

Be sure your rules, expectations, and consequences are clear. Mutually understood. A good idea we found is to write them out and agree on what they are ahead of time.

It’s because we love our children that we do these things. We want to keep them safe. If only we could.

We do everything we can think of or that we’ve heard others have done. Sometimes it works. Other times it doesn’t. It’s a crap shoot.

Will something happen? Will your phone ring late in the night when they don’t come home on time? Could there be bad news on the other end? We never know.

An older, wiser parent once told me, “Our kids are so smart. One way or the other, if they want to badly enough, they’ll find a way to do that thing you’re trying so hard to protect them from.”

Thanks a lot. That’s not what I wanted to hear.

chaosHow will you cope with the stress of the evening and other similar nights? With the worry? The anxiety?

Here are 5 tips that helped me:

Sometimes Parents Feel Guilty

Are My Child's Problems My Fault?

My daughter was going to rehab. She had graduated from high school only a few months earlier. I didn’t want to believe it. I was so hard on myself. Guilt set up residence in my heart. When your child has a problem with alcohol or drugs, self-harm (an eating disorder, cutting, etc.), sexual promiscuity, same-sex identity, is incarcerated, has thoughts of suicide or a mental health issue, guilt is a common reaction. We, the parents, wonder if it’s somehow our fault.

There’s no rest from the questions that plague our minds:

“How could this happen to MY child?” “Is it my fault?” “What did I do wrong? “What did I not do that I should have done?” “Could I have prevented this?”

The revolving door of What ifs and If onlys torments us. I could find no other way to answer these questions other than blaming myself.

Lessons for Hurting Parents from the Las Vegas Mass Shooting

The Value of Learning to Assess Your Situation

Vegas vigil

A few weeks ago we were shocked by the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas. Dozens were killed and hundreds were injured, in need of immediate medical attention. Hospitals were overwhelmed by the number of people flooding their emergency rooms. With the demand on the hospital’s limited resources, staff had to make some important decisions: who would receive treatment first; who could be treated quickly, and who could wait?

For parents, having a rebellious or prodigal child is not like the tragic shooting that took place in Las Vegas. But, the decision-making process the medical staff used in dealing with the crisis, does have some lessons hurting parents can gain from when dealing with their own heart-breaking events.

Parents of troubled teens or adults often find themselves in a crisis at a time when their mental, emotional and spiritual energy is depleted; when financial resources are overwhelmed by the demands being placed upon them.

We were often in this condition.

Five Things I Learned from Parenting a Challenging Child

What God Taught Me

My husband, Dave, and I were struggling with a boundary that needed to be set with our 19 year

photo cred. Ravish Kumnar

old daughter. Torn between the possibility of losing her or losing our other kids, we were battle weary and neither option was a good one. With tears streaming down our faces we cried out to God for a miracle.

Nothing came.

The risky behavior our daughter was engaging in brought fear into our home and a realization that this was something we couldn’t fix.

A Father’s First Year After His Son’s Suicide

Honest Words From a Grieving Dad

Today’s blog is a re-post from July 12, 2014. It was written by guest blogger, Nick Watts, a father whose son died by suicide a little over four years ago. With beautiful authenticity he shares what the first year was like after this significant loss, what restored him, and where he found hope to go on. If you’ve lost your child to suicide, it is our prayer that you find help and hope from his words.


It took me eight months to come out of shock after the death of my son.

I’ll never forget the morning this past January when I awoke noticing something was different psychologically. Powerfully different.

After a few minutes, I finally realized I had not woken up trying to undo my son’s death – which was a sort of psychological torture I had endured both consciously and subconsciously every minute of every day since he took his life the previous May. It was as though my mind finally exhaled.

I’ll never forget that moment. Truth was slowly having its way with my broken mind & heart.