Tag Archive for: Dena Yohe

Six Reasons Parents Should Never Give Up

Thirteen years ago I was struggling as a parent.  I grew up with the lie that every problem could be solved and if it impacted me then it was my problem to fix.  The reality that I wasn’t supermom hit hard and shattered me to the core.

I wish I had known my new friend Dena Yohe during that period of time.  She has such wisdom as the parent of a struggling child.  As I read her book, You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids, I felt like I was reading my own story.  I knew that she would be a “safe” person to share my pain.  I love how she can see God in the midst of the struggle.

Dena is co-founder of Hope For Hurting Parents.com; blogger, former pastor’s wife, and CRU affiliate staff. She and her husband Tom have been guests on Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson, Family Life with Dennis Rainey, and Focus on the Family with Jim Daly. She’s the proud mom of three adult children and loves being Mimi to her grandchildren.

If you are a hurting parent, I hope this will bring you hope.  

Here are words from Dena:

“I give up. I can’t do this. It’s too hard! I’m not strong enough. It’s beyond me. I need help!” This was how I felt about the weeds and plants behind our screened in patio. They’d taken over. They had to go. But I didn’t have the ability to remove them myself. Their roots were too strong and too deep for me to dig up. I couldn’t manage it. I tried hard—so did my husband. Neither of us could tackle the job. We were exasperated.

To be honest, this is how I felt about one of my children. I’ve said many of these things to myself about her. You may have felt this way about one of yours. Maybe today you’ve almost given up.

It’s awful to admit we feel this way about our own flesh and blood, but sometimes we do. When they abuse drugs or alcohol, steal from us, lie to us, disrespect us, can’t stop hurting themselves, have a mental illness but refuse help, make repeated suicide attempts, break the law or are involved in a same-sex relationship, it’s hard not to despair.

Over time, anger builds up. For some of us cruel words have been spoken on both sides. We’re guilty of hurting one another. Our other children can become bitter and resentful. Their troubled brother or sister took us away from them. They feel robbed. It’s not fair—although they may never tell us. They don’t want to cause us more pain. But they’re right. It wasn’t fair.

We’ve tried repeatedly to help our child, draining the family’s financial resources. We’ve also invested large amounts of time and energy attempting to save them.

Yet nothing has worked.    

It’s understandable to want to give up. But how can we? This is our child!

These are the 6 reasons I never gave up:

  1. Because God is a big God—bigger and greater than our child’s problems. He’s the Sovereign King of the universe who’s in complete control of all things. Nothing is impossible for Him.
  2. Because God cares and understands—more than we can comprehend. He cared enough to give his son, Jesus, to die for them.
  3. Because God is all-powerful—it’s never too late for them to change. They can get better and recover. They can stop their addictive behavior; the stealing and deceiving. They can get help and find their way back to wholeness, to a healthy relationship with you and most of all, with their Creator.
  4. Because nothing is too hard for God—He can do what no man, no counselor, no psychiatrist or rehab can do. He can transform a sinner into a saint; the lost into the found. The sick can be healed. Hard hearts can be softened. Stubborn souls can surrender. The dead can be raised to life. If God resurrected Jesus to give us eternal life, then what can he not do?
  5. Because God loves your child with an everlasting love—even more than you. He’s crazy about them and will do whatever it takes to reach them. But he won’t force them to respond.
  6. Because God wants you to trust Him—even though things may look hopeless at this moment. As you bring your child to Him, He can bring something very, very good out of something very, very bad. He’s still with them. He’ll never leave.

At my lowest point, I received an astonishing phone call. My daughter had finally agreed to go into rehab! I never thought it would happen. I’d almost given up. In moments of despair, a dear friend would often encourage me with these words,

 “As long as your child is still breathing, there is still hope.”

  Yes, dear parent, there is.

“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help . . . and grant you support . . .  may he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed . . . may the Lord grant all your requests . .  . Some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God . . . we rise up and stand firm” (Psalm 20:1-5, 7).

Great and loving God, when I feel like giving up, help me remember these things and keep trusting you with my child. I’ll hold on to hope because of who you are.

In your life-giving name. Amen.

Write down these six things on a piece of paper or print them out. Put it where you can see them the next time you feel tempted to give up and stand firm in the Lord!

Dena sums it up well.

“Let go…and Let God”,

If your teen is just starting to dabble in the areas Dena mentions, I would encourage you to start with our book With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens.  In the book you will have opportunity to take a parenting assessment and find ways to rebuild the relationship with your difficult teen.  If your teen needs intervention, Tom and Dena provide hope for parents who need to make difficult choices.  Be sure to check out their website.

Emotions Out of Control? 5-Steps to Reset the Relationship

Emotional outbursts can be spurred in most of us.  We find ourselves yelling at our kids when our space has been upset.  The same is true of our teens.  They come home from school livid at something that happened and instead of dealing with the situation, they stalk through the kitchen screaming at us and what we’ve done that has ruined their lives.

I’ve been doing research for several years about our emotions and how they affect us as well as our kids.  One of my kids has always been hypersensitive emotionally and the smallest thing could bring a mountain of inconsolable tears, or anger, or even full-on rage with a sibling being the targeted opponent.  As a mom who hadn’t been taught to understand my own emotions, I was helpless to understand my child’s.  Trial and error brought nothing but further anguish and louder communication (okay, yelling!) on both our parts.

What I’ve since discovered is that there is a small part of the brain called the amygdala that never lets us forget.  It houses the emotional control center where the fight or flight response occurs.  Everything we encounter runs through that emotional part of our brain before we can discern if it has a valid reason to respond.  That center tells us if something is good, bad, or terrifying.  If that part of the brain is triggered before we have time to give the situation cognitive thought, we will react rather than respond appropriately in a given situation.  Years later, if we encounter a situation that brings about a similar fear or feeling, we will again react without thought.  It is ingrained and “remembers” the feeling and causes us to respond accordingly even when we don’t understand why we did what we did.

New research that is out  talks about the brain skills that many of us as parents haven’t learned.  When we have emotional outbursts we need to pause so we can:

  1. Recognize the emotion
  2. Understand what our reaction is attached to from the past
  3. Identify what expectation we are holding onto that might solicit the out-of control response
  4. Transfer the emotion through our cognitive thought in order to form a better response
  5. Re-engage with an apology to re-set the relationship

Instead many of us keep doing what we’ve always done in similar situations as we emotionally erupt or we see many kids and adults alike resort to drugs and alcohol use to dull the pain within.

How can we teach our kids to establish emotional control when at times we don’t have the capacity to display what it should look like?  If we were never taught these skills how can we pass them on to the next generations?

Life Model Works has a book out entitled Transforming Fellowship: 19 Brain Skills That Build Joyful Community  to raise awareness of how emotional skills can transform relationships.  While their book is focused on building community within the church, so many of the principles apply to us with our kids.

Scripture also gives us a clue:

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Choosing to focus on the good even in painful or difficult situations can help us re-wire our brain and our emotional capacity.  Learning to pause long enough to analyze the patterns or getting help from professionals can also help us gain control over our emotions.  And when we are in relationship with others who struggle with emotional control it is important that we learn to take care of ourselves.

If you have kids that are struggling with emotional outbursts, With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens is a good place to start.  In it you’ll find ways to interact with your kids and help them see healthy coping skills.  If you have kids that are further down the path and are already into drug or alcohol addiction, I’ve discovered a new book that will help you get your life back.  In her book You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids Dena Yohe shares her story and practical tips for parents who are  dealing with teens and 20-somethings who are on a destructive path.  You can listen to her interview on Focus on the Family, Monday and Tuesday, August 21-22, 2017.

Praying that God will raise your emotional awareness as you parent this next generation.

“Let go…and Let God”,

Interested in leading a parenting Bible study that will have women talking and learning about emotional maturity?  Want them to walk away with a WOW! experience?  With All Due Respect will do just that and we promise to make it easy to lead.  You don’t need to be a perfect parent; you don’t need to have perfect kids; and you don’t need to have ever led a group before.

For the next month we’re offering our new Small Group Leader’s Guide for only $5.95 so you can get your small group started right away.  That means you can start a group at a greatly discounted rate!

Our Small Group Leader’s Guide is an easy-to-follow guide that will give you questions, exercises, and opportunities to engage with other parents as you think about your own parenting.  If you know a mom who has kids that are 9 or 29 this study will be life-changing as they think about parenting.  You can even get suggestions on how to run your groups from me.  I love to engage with other moms and leaders and you can reach me through the website at www.greaterimpact.org. 

 So grab your friends, and grab a copy of the Small Group Leader’s Guide here .

Dare ya!

With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a More Fulfilling Relationship with Your Teens and Tweens by [Roesner, Nina, Hitchcock, Debbie]