When you have a son or daughter you can’t stop worrying about, it can take a toll on you. Watching them struggle with alcohol, drugs, self-injury, their sexual identity, an eating disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, DUIs, arrests, pornography and more is emotionally draining. There’s plenty to worry about. It’s easy to fall into a rut of endless worry that you can’t get out of. When you can’t change things in your child’s life you need to shift your focus on what you can change – your attitude.
The Serenity Prayer from Al-Anon has some of the best advice I know of for managing worry:
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.
Click here for the full version of the prayer which is worth printing out and posting somewhere for you to ready daily.
When we worry about something we have some measure of control over, something we can change, we’re able to get busy and figure out what to do about it, then we can go do it. But, it does no good to worry about the things we have no control over, things we can’t change – which includes more of life than we’d like to admit, especially when it comes to our children.
If you’re making yourself crazy worrying about your child, someone you have no control over and can’t change, try to focus on something you CAN change – your attitude.
Your thoughts have an affect you so change your negative thinking and self talk into positive thinking and self talk. Do you tend to say things like this to yourself? “Not this again.” “Why do they always have to . . .” “Just what I was afraid of.” “I knew this would happen.” “They’ll never change.” This feeds your worries, damages your peace of mind and keeps you trapped in the problem. Supportive self talk is a healthier remedy.
Replace those negative thoughts with true and positive ones. “I know God will help me.” “This too shall pass.” “With God’s help I can handle whatever happens.” “I’m going to be okay.” “Let go and let God.”
When you find yourself in a worry-wort-rut laughter and humor can help you climb out. Watch a funny movie or TV program. Old reruns of I Love Lucy always make me laugh. Another favorite is YouTube videos of the comedian, Tim Hawkins. I think he’s hysterical. Call a friend who makes you laugh and is encouraging. Listen to soothing music or an uplifting message on CD or on the internet.
Sometimes we just need to get outside ourselves for a while and our worries will calm down.
This is a great Bible verse that addresses worry: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? . . . Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:27 and 34 NIV)
*Some of these thoughts were taken from a Care Notes booklet.