Six Things to Do When Parenting a “Firecracker” Child

statue of libertyHas your parenting experience felt like trying to control an unpredictable firecracker? Did your child set off emotional fireworks on a regular basis bringing chaos to the family? On July 4th many people celebrated by setting off fireworks they purchased because they enjoy them, while many live with fireworks of a different kind they didn’t choose and they don’t enjoy one bit. These fireworks are caused by their child’s rebellious behavior when they engage in various forms of destructive and dangerous choices. They’re drinking too much, smoking pot, using drugs of various kinds, getting in trouble with the law, cutting or burning themselves, having sex or attracted to the same-sex. All contrary to the way you raised them, violating the values you tried so hard to instill in them – breaking your heart.

So what do you do with this firecracker? How do you survive these fireworks without getting burned?

1. You get them help if they’re under 18 and are still in your home. Take them to a counselor or a psychiatrist, maybe even go yourself. You need all the help you can get.

2. You find a support group and/or talk with a trusted friend. You need emotional strength from others who care and understand to help process your feelings.

3. You make sure you exercise, simplify your life and get plenty of rest. You’re under so much stress and strain – you need to stay healthy.

4. You don’t play the guilt and shame game. Take it easy on yourself. Remember Al-Anon’s 3 C’s: You didn’t cause it. You can’t change it. You can’t cure it.

5. You hold on to hope, give them back to their Maker and keep trusting Him with your child.

6. Pray, pray, pray. Never give up asking for complete healing, restoration and reconciliation. God can do anything.

I know these fireworks are shaking your world, but you can get through this without permanent damage. If you do these things you will get through it a lot better. I hope you enjoyed the fireworks you saw this year, even the firecrackers.  Remember, the ones caused by your child won’t last forever even though it feels like they will.

God’s message to you from the Bible is: “He sent His Word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction.”  (Psalms 107:20)

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2 thoughts on “Six Things to Do When Parenting a “Firecracker” Child

  1. This is so clear and specific, Dena. Great wisdom, hard-earned. As I often say to expectant parents: it’s not for the faint-hearted but it’s very important work…that never quite ends. Self-care is as important as child care.

    • You are so right about how it never ends and the importance of self-care. I remember when I thought it ended once they turned eighteen and were out on their own — what a surprise to learn how wrong I was! It just changes, doesn’t it? Someone once told me this very sobering statement: “When I first had children I didn’t realize it meant I would be walking around for the rest of my life with my heart outside my chest!”

      It scared me then and it moves me now. Everything that effects our child effects us. As caring parents we feel it all. Thank God we have a an ever-present Helper and Comforter, yes?