Last week I shared a story of a mother who was more focused on accusing her daughter’s friend rather than handling the challenging situation in a way that would foster relationship with her teen. (Click here to read.) The same week that I was traveling, I spoke with a grandmother who was trying to impact a difficult situation with her teenage grand-daughter. The situation had just occurred a few days prior and this woman was sharing how she was trying to have influence in an extremely gut-wrenching situation.
As I listened, I was in awe. I kept wondering if I would have had the wisdom to handle a situation in a similar manner. Truth be told, several years ago I was in the same situation–as the mother instead of the grandmother. And I’ll admit I didn’t handle it well. Honestly, I wish this woman had been in my life then. I might have done things much differently with her sage advice and wisdom.
“Monica was caught vaping and smoking marijuana with her friends,” the woman began. “I’m just glad my daughter called to let me know. It’s hard to believe that Monica would do something like that. She just became a teenager a couple of weeks ago. She seems to be so young to already be experimenting with drugs.”
I was able to share with this woman about teen drug use from my own experience with my teen. I found myself transported to all the things I wish I had done differently. As a result my heart breaks for parents who are in these tough situations.
“I’m so sorry you are having to deal with it. It know it is hard.”
“I know that God is aware of everything and I’ve been coaching my daughter not to accuse Monica but to put her energy into listening and validating her daughter’s feelings.”
“That’s really great advice. Something is obviously going on deep inside your grand-daughter and her feelings do matter.”
“My daughter says that she and Monica are having conversations that are much deeper than they would typically have. They end more amicably than in the past.”
” That’s great. What else are you doing?”
“I’ve been asking God to show me the next step and how He wants me involved in the situation. Yesterday, I got to spend two hours alone with Monica. We talked about how much God loves her. I was also able to ask her if there is any lie she believes about herself. The more we talked and I shared different stories of things that I remember happening when she was little, Monica was able to tell me that she always felt like her brother was more important than she was. She felt that “she didn’t matter and no one really cared about her.”
“Wow. That was huge for a 13 year old to get to a place where she could identify the lie.”
“I thought so too,” the grandmother replied. “I went on to tell her that what was important is what God thinks about her and what she thinks about herself. She needs to find a way to love herself and understand her value. After all, God took His time to create her as a special person. I love her, her parents love her, but she needs to love herself as well.”
“That’s really awesome. I think too often as parents we get focused on what others think about us and not what God thinks or what we think. I love that you were able to get to a place where these are her choices based on what she believes about herself. I love it too that you are stepping into her life in an active role rather than sitting back to let your daughter and her husband struggle with it on their own.”
“One of the things I’ve come to learn,” I continued, “is that teens need several people who are active in their life and people who will not “tell them what to do” or “where they have messed up” but can focus on influencing them toward right decisions with the understanding that ultimately it is the teen’s choice. As much as we want to, we don’t necessarily have ultimate control. Learning that as parents is so difficult at times.”
So what about you? As a parent, how would you handle a situation if you discovered your teen was smoking pot, vaping, or doing drugs? What if they were having sex or doing something else that you disapprove of or is against your faith? Would you accuse and try to control or would you have the skills to influence the situation in a way for the best possible outcome?
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Most parents have the tendency of accusing their teens and bringing down the hammer along with the lecture when they’ve done something out of line. Dare you to choose to handle your challenging situations differently.
“Let Go…and Let God”,
Wish you had people like this grandmother in your life to help with your parenting challenges? Grab the book With All Due Respect and join us in our on-line ecourse. There you will meet our mentors who have learned how to think differently about parenting challenges and can walk with you through the struggles. Whether it is drugs, sex, alcohol, defiance, or even a good kid who you want to connect with on a deeper level, we can help. Hope you will join us.