You call, no answer. You text. Silence. Communication has dropped just like your internet signal. You try again and you feel like you just had a deja vu experience.
Let’s face it. Parents across the globe are getting the same response. Teens and young adults are caught up in their own world, coupled with resentment, anger, cold-heartedness, and more. Their reasoning is:
- “You are just too toxic for me.”
- “You hate what I love, you don’t support or understand me.”
- “Let me live my life the way I want to.”
Mind you, for a teen/young adult in crisis, these are all excuses for them to continue in their lifestyle of addiction, rebelliousness, and destructive behaviors fraught with mental illness and disorders.
Moms and Dads are disheartened, upset, worried, and filled with emotions too many for them to carry. They ask themselves –
- “Did we do something wrong?”
- “Are we to blame for them not wanting a relationship with us?”
- “Did we push them over the edge into their problems?”
As parents, we can honestly say that we are not perfect by any means and that we have made some real blunders in our lives in raising our kids. I have met quite a few parents who could raise both hands with the admission of faulty parenting. Hey, I can too!
This isn’t a time for self-blame or self-guilt. I think we can wholeheartedly agree, that despite our mistakes in parenting, teens and young adults can think for themselves. They can make their own choices and decisions, even the really bad ones. Yes, they are accountable and know right from wrong.
For a moment, let’s get past this point and think about what we can do to change the situation. Honestly, for some parents, the pain is all too real and painful to even visit. Eventually, we will have to face it. Take a look at the world and the direction it is going, our hearts desire is to see them rescued and saved.
Communication is the key. I cannot say this enough. However, you may ask, “How can I communicate to my kid who doesn’t even respond to me?” The idea is not about trying to get a response from your child. It is more about letting them know how much you still love them despite the walk of life they have chosen.
For some of you, your child may be wrapped up in addiction or struggling with a mental illness. Other teens/young adults have issues of anger and resentment. Of course, there are also parents who are dealing with children who have made extreme choices or ideals for themselves with a clear voice of not wanting anything to do with the family. Period!
So how do we respond? Here are some things that anyone in a parenting role can do.
- Pray! Prayer is the only avenue that can reach a hurting and wayward teen or young adult child. When we pray, God is being petitioned to work in our children’s lives. God can intervene, pursue, reveal, approach, speak into, convict, and even minister in His own way. Remember the Word that says….“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts – Isaiah 55:8-9. We need to understand, oftentimes, the lifestyles that they live are another part of who they want to be recognized and accepted for. When that rejection comes, what and who will they fall back on? Who will still love them in the long run? You and God! We can also PRAY THE WORD into their lives. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12. By using God’s Word as your prayer template, you are speaking forth with spiritual power through the Holy Spirit created by God. The power of God’s Word brings healing, restoration, freedom from bondage, blind eyes to see, and chains to fall. Prayer can also bring about humbleness, peace, joy, and surrender.
- Speak God’s Word without speaking – There is nothing more powerful than the scriptures. Even Satan knows this which is why we are encouraged to utilize God’s word to come against the enemy and anything that would bring havoc into our broken family. The best part – an exercise that only takes five minutes of your day. Just get a pack of index cards and write out scriptures of what God can do, how He helps, and His great love for us. You can even google top 25 scriptures to encourage teens/young adults. Easy peasey! However, it is always best to pray and seek God as you spend time with the Lord, for which He can give you the perfect Word that your child needs to see. Everywhere you place that card (on your fridge, mirror, nightstand, doors, etc…) read/pray the Word. There is nothing better than to be encouraged, given increased faith, and knowing that God is working in your family’s lives. Even better, your child (if they still live with you) will also read them. They may not tell you that, but it won’t go unnoticed.
- Tips and Suggestions – (If your child lives with you) – Leave a note about how much you love them. Send them off with a candy token of their favorite kind and message to have a great day. Put a collage together of their (not yours) favorite moments via pictures with a note that says, “Boy, does time go by quickly. You have grown so fast!” Take them on a trip to the fast food of their choice or pick up an ice cream or smoothie on the way back from a destination. If you know their hobbies, help them create memories by doing those hobbies. If you know what career they plan to follow, find places and activities that support that plan. Find mentors that they respect and look up to and invite them to lunch or a one on one day so that the mentor can have some impact in their life. (If your child lives outside the home) – Some of these can be utilized. Just be creative but not pushy. Remember, teens and young adults are smarter than you think and will take your loving gestures and turn it around on you by saying that you are doing these things to gain control of them or buy their love. Take it slow. Seek God for wisdom and discernment. There is no rush.
- Love them exactly where they are at – Parents struggle to love their kids when all they have seen and felt is frustration, anger, worry, and more. Maybe you have seen them take on lifestyles that you totally disagree with. Can you still love them while they are immersed in that sin? You have to remind yourself that they are broken and hurting. They only way they will gravitate back to the love that God gives us is to be an example of His love in the midst of the storm and chaos. Teens and young adults watch our every step. They will push every button. They will observe all of our responses. In the end, they are looking to see if we still love them despite it all.
When will any change for the better happen? It will take time. How much? Could be weeks, months, or a year or longer. Only God knows that answer. The question is, “Are you willing to keep going and not quit?” There are countless stories of many moms and dads who have prayed for their teens and young adults to turn their life and faith around. God answered many of their prayers and some are still waiting. However, it’s their persistence and unwillingness to give up when so much time goes by. Stay in the race! Keep going! Your child will reap God’s blessings in the end.
A note of personal advice – LIVE YOUR LIFE!! Don’t get so caught up in sorrow, pain, guilt, anger, sorrow, and more, because of the decisions your child has made and to push you away. They are lost like the stray lamb the Shepherd always looks for. This is why prayer is so important. However, we as parents cannot be consumed by their actions towards us and other family members without understanding the root of their issues.
We don’t know how God will minister to our child. What we do know is that He is faithful to hear and act upon our prayers. The Lord sees and pursues our children just as He pursues the lost sheep. He loves them beyond what our love is capable of. So trust in His timing and plan. God is good!