Today’s blog is an excerpt from the book I’m writing about my difficult journey as a parent.
“No one is exempt from tragedy or disappointment—God himself was not exempt. Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, but rather a way through . . .” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God; Zondervan. New York, NY. 1988; p.217)
As loving, conscientious parents we had the need to find an explanation for why things turned out like they did with our daughter. At nineteen, she was struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, bipolar, anxiety, cutting, and trauma from being raped. How could this happen to the dreams I had for her? What did I do wrong? It’s not fair! Where is God? I was so angry and disappointed.
Have you ever felt hopeless about your child? They were arrested – again. Now they’re facing a longer jail or prison sentence. Have you reached the point where you couldn’t believe any more that change was possible? Maybe they relapsed for the umpteenth time. You were encouraged after their last stint in rehab, convinced this time was going to be different. They finally “got it”. You’re hopes rose, then fell, shattered once again. Or maybe they struggle with a mental illness they can’t manage. Suicide threats are frequent. You can’t take it any more.
You want to have hope–oh, how badly you wish you could. But you just can’t. You’ve been disappointed too many times. Your heart’s been crushed too often.
Maybe you got your child back – not just once, but several times–only to lose them again to drugs or alcohol, to mental illness, to one more bad decision, to any number of things. The list of possibilities is long. You’re too familiar with them.
Can we be honest? You aren’t who you once were. You’re smarter and wiser now. You know more than you wish you did–much more. You’ve become cynical. Resentful. Bitter. You’re faith may even be wavering. Hope is gone. You’ve given up. I did–BUT GOD helped me find a new kind of hope.
Since Robin Williams’ tragic death, there has been volumes written and discussed about addiction, recovery, depression and suicide in the media. Depression. Substance Abuse. Suicide. Each strikes fear and trembling in every parent’s heart.
“O God, please don’t let any of these ever happen to my child”, we say to ourselves. We hope and pray none of these will touch our lives. Most of us are unprepared and uninformed. Unless your family or personal background has these elements in it, you’re probably like me – clueless.
If you’re a parent who’s troubled by your son or daughter’s behaviors,
Are you the parent of a child who cuts themselves? I had never heard of this until my daughter cut herself the first time. She was twelve. That was fifteen years ago. I was shocked, scared out of my wits and clueless. I had no idea how to help her.
*Photo courtesy of webshots
Cutting. It’s a form of self-injury also called self-harm or self-mutilation. Other forms are burning, hair pulling, breaking bones, picking sores or wounds, eating disorders and biting the tongue or inside of the mouth. I’ve also learned that tatoos are yet another form, only it’s controlled. You’re just paying someone else to do it for you, so it feels more acceptable.
Have you wondered if there was anything you could do to help your son or daughter? The following information is from a counselor. There may be some helpful ideas here you could share with your child. You might want to print the main content and give it to them to read. Make a copy for yourself and keep it nearby to reference when needed.
Here is a Word of hope for you mom or dad: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him and I am helped.” (Psalm28:7a) NIV
He will help you find your way through this difficult time. Please email me if you’d like more resources to find help for this issue.
As parents, we naturally do a lot of talking, especially to our kids. However, as they get older, become teenagers, and grow into adulthood, for many of us, it seems like we don’t command the same attention as we did when they were younger. Especially if they’re involved in self-destructive activities – drugs and alcohol, self-injury, any addictive behaviors, an eating disorder; or if they struggle with a mental health issue or same-sex attraction.
Many of my attempted conversations with our daughter went south and the clash of two strong-willed individuals resounded throughout the house. Tempers rose, voices were raised and the only thing accomplished was an increasing distance between us.
As the high school years went by these incidences occurred more frequently. By her senior year things had escalated to the point where I think she was grounded most of the time.
I was frustrated, angry and confused. At a loss as to what I could say to get through to her, I wasn’t making any progress. I only wanted the best for her.
One day I praying about this mess. I was on my knees, complaining to God about my inability to talk to my daughter. I hoped I could change the destructive course she was bent on taking.
In the midst of my plea, I sensed God say something to me.