If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome!
Your child is in trouble. Maybe you suspect it. Or maybe it’s obvious to the world. And you’re worried.
What can you do?
I shared the story of my friend who prayed for her son. He came from a strong family, one that cared, but somehow he got mixed up with drugs. Bad drugs that led him to steal. To do things that he would have never done before.
His mother feared that he would go to jail, but feared more that she would one day find out that he had lost his life.
Maybe your story isn’t as scary as my friend’s was, but you love your child and you don’t know what to do.
1. Don’t pretend that nothing is wrong.
My friend Mickey lay it all out before God, but also to others. Not the whole world, but to close friends, to other moms who loved her. And to those who asked.
She didn’t pretend that her son wasn’t in trouble, because he was. Long before it became public. This did two things: One, it helped her focus. It wasn’t about reputation or embarrassment. She was in a fight for her son’s life.
Two, it banished the obstacles of secret keeping. It allowed her to pull in people who would pray with her, who would believe with her, and be truthful if they heard or saw something that she didn’t.
If someone asked about her, she said, “Yes, he’s doing that and I can’t change him, but I believe in the power of prayer and I believe that my son will one day be the man he is supposed to be.”
There’s nothing harder than praying when you see no answers, but every Tuesday night she met with other moms and they warred spiritually for their sons, believing that God loved their children even more than they.
3. Don’t protect your child from natural consequences
This is the hardest. The most frightening. If your child is in trouble, be upfront with him. Let them know you will never stop believing in him. Tell her that you will always be family. But stop cushioning the blows. Don’t take care of the consequences for them. Don’t offer money when it’s not earned. Don’t bow to pressure or guilt.
Natural consequences will feel harder for you in the beginning, but allowing our children to feel the pain of consequences (paying back money, losing freedom momentarily, losing cell phones or other material items that you pay for) help them understand that they are in trouble.
Maybe this doesn’t fit your child. It’s not that bad. Not that scary. But the concept is the same. Allow natural consequences to take their course. Love your son or daughter, but love them enough to let them hate you for a moment as they endure the consequences from their choices.
4. Don’t give up on your child
Don’t give up on your child. He or she is valuable to God. Your child has a purpose. She’s beautiful in the sight of God though her sin causes such chaos. He hates sin, but He knows your precious child. Every hair on her head. Every plan He’s ever made for him.
Tell your child that you believe in him. Let her know she’s precious to God. That her life matters. See her through the power of your prayers. See the good in him.
5. Know that you matter
In my book, Real Issues, Real Teens: What Every Parent Needs to Know, I asked hundreds of teens what they would say to their parent if they could say only one thing. And the answer was almost always, “I love my parent. I want them to know that what they do matters.”
Even in challenging relationships. Even when things weren’t going the way they hoped. If a parent cared, they noticed. Did they tell you? No. That comes later when they find their way and they mature. For now, you tell yourself this one thing: you matter.
Everything you do. Your prayers. Your love. Your touch. Your hope. Your belief.
It all matters.
If you are looking for a group of moms to encourage you, pray with you, and where you can find community, come join me on Facebook at Moms Together.