A Question Parents in Pain Ask

The most common question parents in pain ask themselves is WHY? My husband and I did the best we could to raise our daughter with a lot of love, with a strong sense of right and wrong, to be a good moral person, to not get caught up in any addictive behaviors, and to be an emotionally healthy, happy person. We also raised her with a strong spiritual foundation. Yet, she ended up with multiple addictions, was involved in self-harm and had a brain disorder(mental illness). I would lay awake all night torturing myself with many why questions.

What about you?

Many parents in pain are plagued by questions like these:

  • Why did my son choose to abuse substances?
  • Why did my daughter become anorexic or bulimic?
  • Why were they drawn to the same-sex?
  • Why did my son get involved in pornography?
  • Why did my daughter need to burn herself?
  • Why did they become depressed or develop a brain disorder?

As parents who feel a high sense of responsibility for our children, we also feel a high need for answers. Now. Irrational thoughts tell us if we just knew why, then it would help us make sense of things. We drive ourselves crazy analyzing and scrutinizing the past. Did we always do the right thing? Probably not. Should we have done ______ or ______? I don’t know. Did we set out to raise a child who would have any of these problems? Never.  Because we love our children so much we have an insatiable need to answer our questions. We have a burning desire to try to understand how it could happen.

I have come to a conclusion. You may not agree with me, but I think all this why questioning is senseless. A waste of time. It doesn’t do any good. For most of us there are no clear-cut, decisive answers. Insights may come. Information might be revealed. Light could be shed that will help explain some behaviors. But, one former alcoholic and drug addict admitted, he began making his poor choices just because it was fun. He simply liked how it felt. No other reason. His parents had nothing to do with it. As the Bible says, sin is pleasurable for a season.

What we really need is – acceptance. Our goal should be to make peace with the ‘not knowing’ rather than understanding the reasons. We may never fully be able to understand why. It may be an unrealistic expectation. We have to let it go. Our child might not even understand why themselves.

Only God knows and He is able to give us His peace, with or without the answers we seek.

I like using the Serenity Prayer to help me stop asking why and move me towards acceptance:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference.

A great book that helped move me toward acceptance  is Hit By a Ton of Bricks by Dr. John Vawter. It’s full of invaluable information and stories of hope.

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2 thoughts on “A Question Parents in Pain Ask

  1. For the past two years my son (now 18) has been struggling with using pot. He’s been caught twice by me and my husband and had been given one last chance to straighten up or find another place to live. I just got a phone call from him – he’s been busted for possession of marijuana, less than 2 oz!!! He is being moved from a smaller jail to the county jail where he will see the judge in the morning. I am beyond heartbroken! I didn’t think it would come to this. I just need prayer tonight.

    • I have been praying for you since I saw your post on Christmas Eve, Cindy. I was not able to reply to you until now. I am so sorry for this painful experience you have had. Your heart has been broken by your son and it is a great pain no one can really understand except others who have been there. There is never a good time for this kind of thing, especially over the holidays. I know you are numb, angry, sad, and scared for him. I pray that the truth of the Christmas message – God is with us in our trials and came to redeem all of our losses – will be more real than ever before in your life. O Father, apply your healing comfort in massive doses to Cindy’s wounded and weary heart. Bring her son to his senses that he may escape from this trap that will only destroy his life. Uphold Cindy and hold her together. Wrap her up in a big hug with your loving, strong arms. Remind her that you are working in her son’s life. Help her keep giving him back to you, trusting him into your care. There are no guarantees, so empower her to choose to trust you with the life of her beloved son. In the name of Your son, Jesus, Amen.