Holidays are the most difficult time of the year for anyone in emotional pain, especially hurting parents.
I’ve been one. Our hearts are full of pain and sadness over our child’s struggles and destructive choices. This pain might be from any number of issues: alcohol, drugs, self-injury, mental illness, and more. We’re not in a festive mood. All we can think about is the last trauma or what the next one might be. We wonder, where is God and how can I survive this so-called happy season?
This Thursday is Thanksgiving, the official start of the holiday season, but many people aren’t looking forward to it.
For parents whose children are ruining their lives with drugs or alcohol, struggle with a mental illness or self-injury, have an eating disorder, struggle with their sexual orientation, are in trouble with the law (in prison) or can’t stop gambling or looking at porn, the holidays can be a brutal time of year. They don’t look forward to Thanksgiving – much less the Christmas season.
I remember when my daughter was young and innocent. She’d curl up on my lap, giddy with excitement to watch the parade. Happy sounds filled our home. After the big meal, she would join in pulling on the turkey’s wishbone, smiling and laughing, hoping her wish would come true.
Years later, when my daughter was in full-blown addiction, the holidays changed for me. I became desperate for my wishes to come true.
What I once looked forward to, I dreaded. What previously brought joy, brought increased pain and sadness, regret and longing. I didn’t know how to cope.
What about you, dear mom or dad? Do you know how to cope? Do you yearn for your wishes come true – for your child to be restored? Would you be giddy with excitement just to have them back, healthy and whole? If only things were as easy as pulling on a turkey bone and making a wish.
My wife and I were clueless when we began our journey of parenting a rebellious teen.
We found an endless amount of information on how to raise a great kid, but little help when it came to hard issues … like what we were facing: alcohol and drugs, mental illness, and self-injury and more. We had never even heard of cutting prior to discovering the marks on our daughter’s arms.
While I don’t cherish my time spent on that difficult road, the lessons I learned there have become treasures—similar to panning in a river for gold and finding something of great value.
Last Monday (Nov. 6th) I shared two golden nuggets of truth I found. Today I’m sharing two more truths I gleaned on my difficult parenting journey:
3. Set Reasonable Boundaries
photo cred. wikimedia commons
My wife and I were clueless when we began our journey of parenting a rebellious teen. An endless amount of information was available on how to raise great kids, but I found little help when it came to hard issues … like the ones we were facing. Addiction and mental illness were strange to me, and I had never even heard of self-harm or cutting. Many of you are dealing with many other hard issues.
While I don’t cherish my time spent on that difficult road, the lessons I learned there have become treasures—similar to panning in a river for gold. I found something of great value.