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pray1Are you a parent in pain? Be honest–do you feel thankful? In my darkest days, I didn’t.

Does the mention of the word “thankful” make you want to run and hide? When your heart’s been broken by your beloved son or daughter the last thing you feel like doing is being thankful. If they’re incarcerated, have AIDS, are slowly killing themselves with alcohol or drugs (or maybe an eating disorder), suffer with a mental illness, threaten suicide repeatedly, self-injure continually but refuse help, you want the world to go away. I know. I’ve felt that way, especially when my daughter wasn’t doing well close to Thanksgiving.

But wait – there’s so much to be thankful for, EVEN when you’re in pain because of your child’s choices, behaviors and struggles. You may say, as  I once did, “Shut up and don’t talk to me. It ain’t happening. How can I? There’s nothing to be thankful for! “

I know,  I know . . . it’s so easy to get stuck Continue Reading »

I am the mother of Renee Yohe. Who is she? She’s the troubled young woman whose story became a phenomenon when it DSCN1835birthed a global, non-profit movement called To Write Love on Her Arms (twloha.com; also on Facebook). They bring help and hope to those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. Their website describes their purpose: “To encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.”

These are the issues my daughter has struggled with for years. She nearly lost her life more than once. My journey as her mom has been, by far, the most difficult experience of my life, yet the most transforming. And now her story has been transforming the lives of thousands, if not millions, around the world. We marvel over it.

A little over three years ago another amazing thing happened. A movie was made about Renee’s story and the five life-changing days that snowballed into what we know today as twloha. Continue Reading »

Have you ever found yourself in a place where you didn’t know your way around? You had no map to help you get your bearings or direct you to lostwhere you needed to go. You were lost. And on top of that you were alone. There was no one to ask for help. Or maybe you were in a foreign country and everyone  spoke another language. So they couldn’t help you.

It’s frightening and unsettling. This describes how I felt when I first learned my daughter had a serious problem with alcohol and drugs. Lost and disoriented I had no clue where to find help. At the time no one I knew had faced this with any of their children.

I’ve been on this path for a little over ten years now. It hasn’t been easy to find resources and learn about this strange, foreign world I found myself in the middle of. Today I’m going to share with you a few of my favorite books for parents of addicts. Each one has helped me regain my bearings. Continue Reading »

Holidays are the most difficult time of the year for anyone in emotional pain, especially for hurting parents. Their hearts are full of pain and sadness over their child’s struggles and destructive choices. It may be from any number of things: Alcohol, drugs, porn, self-injury, mental illness, eating disorders, trouble with the law, same-sexual identity issues and more.

Sometimes you wish you could skip the holidays altogether. You certainly don’t feel thankful or festive.  All you can think about is the last trauma or anticipate the next one. You wonder where God is and how you will survive this so-called happy season. Continue Reading »

Today’s blog is from a writer friend of mine who addresses families whose loved ones struggle with addiction. Her name is Sharron Cosby and I’ve featured her before. You can follow her at erecoverychurch.com

In this blog Sharron interviews a recovering addict with over two years clean time, LS. Hers is a story of 40 years of use and abuse, but today she walks in victory – one day at a time.

R is for Recovery
Briefly share when you started using.

I started using when I was fourteen-years-old, a high school freshman. The first time I drank I got drunk. I started smoking weed. By the time I was sixteen, I was having blackouts. During high school, I experimented with many different drugs. After graduation, I attended business school and stayed at one of the local university’s dorms. Here I was introduced to more drugs and more drinking. I didn’t finish the secretarial course. I ended up in a hospital from taking drugs. Continue Reading »

Are you a parent who’s wondered where to find help, encouragement and insights for your troubled teen? You may only need a book with freshattitude ideas. But your problems may be more serious and you need a residential program. I’m a parent who struggled for years to find the help, encouragement and insights I needed, too.  In today’s blog I’ll share some books and websites for teen programs around the country. It took me years to find these and I believe each one has much to offer.  It is my prayer that something here will help you.

 

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by David Tripp; davidtripministries.org   Helpful information and video talks by pastor, author David Tripp.

 

Relief for Hurting Parents : How to Fight for the Lives of Teenagers: How to Prepare Younger Children for Less Dangerous Journeys Through Teenage Years by  Buddy Scott; buddyscottministries.com  Excellent help to struggling parents including materials to help start support groups for those using their materials.

 

When Your Teen is Struggling: Real Hope & Practical Help for Parents Today by Mark Gregston; heartlightministries.org; Heartlight is a residential therapeutic boarding school with counseling located in Texas; Gregston leads “Dealing with Today’s Teens seminars across the country and has a radio program.

 

When Your Stranger Becomes: The Stranger in Your House by Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. Founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a leading health-care facility near Seattle that specializes in whole-person care. Also authored Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders.

 

When Teens Stray: Parenting for the Long Haul by Scott Larson; Executive Director of Straight Ahead Ministries, a faith-based program for troubled youth in a hundred facilities in 10 states, straightahead.org

 

Sharon Hersh’s books:  Becoming your daughter’s ally in the major areas of temptation and struggle for today’s teens.

Mom, I Hate My Life!

                                             Mom, I Feel Fat!

                                             Mom, Everyone Else Does!

                                             Mom, Sex is No Big Deal!

 

Mercy Ministries, mercyministrioes.org  Founded by Nancy Alcorn. Mercy Ministries’ is a free-of-charge, voluntary, faith-based residential program that serves young women ages 13-28, who face a combination of life-controlling issues such as eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, depression and unplanned pregnancy. Mercy also serves young women who have been physically and sexually abused, including victims of sex trafficking. Using proven methods, a holistic approach and professional counselors in a structured residential environment, Mercy has helped thousands of young women be restored to wholeness.  Locations: Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana and California. Books on relevant topics (Cutting, etc.) are available through their online store. There is a waiting list and an extensive application process.

 

Teen Challenge, teenchallengeusa.com  Faith-based residential, non-residential and drug prevention programs for teens, as well as adults. Programs are all over the country and in other countries. Offers a bible-based discipleship program to change lives. Separate boys and girls programs. Typical stay is 12 to 18 months. Offers year round schooling. Their adolescent centers help students overcome many issues haunting their past and/or affecting their judgment, whether it’s drug or alcohol addiction, abusive pasts, eating disorders, cutting, sexual promiscuity or any other inappropriate behavior.

 

New Beginnings, newbeginningsteenhelp.com  Residential drug abuse program for adolescents located in Louisiana. Separate male/female residential complexes. Their campus ensures privacy and ample opportunities for quiet, personal reflection as well as structured activities and group interactions. Offers these programs: Detox, residential, partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient.

 

Books on Prayer:

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

Praying the Scriptures for Your Teenagers by Jodie Berndt

 

Dear God,  the issues these parent’s sons and daughters are struggling with often feels overwhelming, to everyone involved. Please help these moms and dads not give up. Convince them with You there’s always hope! Always.

 

 

 

 

 

Were you bullied as a child or teenager? Are you a parent who suspects your child is being bullied? The dictionary defines bullying as physical, verbal, or psychological aggression or harassment toward others, with the goal of gaining power over or dominating them. If you were treated like this when you were younger, then you remember what it felt like. You know how damaging it can be.

bullying2Some victims become so despondent they become suicidal. A child or young teen might say, “I just wish I could go away and never come back”. Completed suicides directly related to being bullied are rising in number every day. This is such a tragedy.

I’m writing a book about my experiences as the mom of a daughter who has been bullied. She eventually developed addictions, mental health issues (brain disorders) and self-injury. Since this is part of her story, I dedicated a chapter to this topic. I’m including a few excerpts in today’s blog.
My daughter, Renee, was the victim of a bully at a very young age—from first grade through third grade, then some in middle school, but we never knew how severe it was. I believe this experience ultimately impacted how she viewed herself and others. She’s still processing those experiences. She’s almost twenty-eight years old.

One of my friends told me how her daughter developed headaches, insomnia, and an eating disorder as a result of being harassed by her classmates. Another friend shared her story with me. Here are a few portions. Maybe you will mirror your own or your child’s:

“My son has always been a target for bullies. Maybe it’s because he’s a foot shorter than everyone else his age, or maybe it’s because he’s one of the smart kids, or maybe it’s because he never liked sports. I don’t know what it is, but he’s had a problem ever since I can remember. It didn’t seem to affect him too much until his fifth grade year. That was the year we moved and he had to start making friends all over again.
He didn’t seem to click with anyone in his new school.

By the middle of the year, he told me about this kid who was mean to him a lot. He said they would make fun of him whenever he got the chance. He would get their other classmates to laugh at my son and generally exclude him from everything. He told me he hated school and didn’t want to go back. I told him I would talk to his teacher, but he didn’t want me to. So I didn’t do anything at first, but as the year went on, the bullying didn’t stop, so I ended up calling the school.

Come to find out, the kid that was bullying my son was a girl. A big, mean girl who’s mother worked in the school’s office. The teacher had a talk with this girl and she claimed to not know what my son was talking about. She said she never did any of those things. Since it was his word against hers and the teacher had no proof, nothing happened, except now she knew that my son had tried to get her in trouble.

For the remainder of the year she continued to harass him, but he stopped telling me about it, afraid I would call the school again. That’s when my son learned that telling on someone who’s done something wrong doesn’t always help . . . he knew I couldn’t protect him either.

In the beginning of seventh-grade, he broke down and told me he was being picked on in gym class. He never liked sports and he wasn’t very good at them. The kids made fun of him for being short and pudgy; he was always picked last for teams, and they would trip him.
When I say broke down, I mean in tears. It was so sad to see him like that, hearing how he was being treated. He told me he hated going to school so much that he wished he could fall asleep and never wake up. That was a huge wake up call . . .

bullying1I ended up talking to a couple of guidance counselors who were very helpful. I learned about Florida Virtual School: He could take classes online at home and the rest at school, or he could take all of his classes online . . .

We decided to have him take some classes online, and the rest at school. He was so happy to be able to take his gym class online.

I can’t stop kids from being cruel to him and apparently, neither can the school, but I can tell him it will get better. I can share my own struggles that I had with bullies when I was his age and how I dealt with them. And I can tell him how much I love him – how amazing I think he is. And that is what I’ve done.”

 

Resources for Parents and schools:

The Essential Guide to Bullying: Prevention and Intervention by Cindy Miller and Cynthia Lowen (Penguin Group; New York, NY; 2012)

Bullying: Help Your Child Handle a Bully; article by Mayo Clinic staff; mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/childrens-health/in-depth/bullying

Face Bullying with Confidence; article by KidPower  8 Skills we can use right away. They also have other resources to help parents; kidpower.org/library/article/prevent-bullying

Bullying: What Parents Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe by KidPower Solutions, by Irene Van der Zande ( KidPower TeenPower FullPower International, 2010, Santa Cruz, CA)

What Do I Do When: Teenagers Encounter Bullying and Violence? by Dr. Steve Gerali; Zondervan, El Cajon, CA, 2009

Bullying in a Cyber World, Grades 6 to 8 (also available for grades 4 – 5) ; additional materials available for parents and schools;
Didax Inc., 2012, Rowley, MA.

Bully Free it Starts With Me, nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html; The National Education Association (NEA) program to stop bullying in public schools.

God, Defender of the weak, please protect our children from bullies. Heal their heart, mind and soul from any damaging affects they’ve already experienced. Equip us to know how to help them. Make us wise as we show them how to be strong. Make us willing to be used to make a difference in our communities. Amen.

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