Imagine this said with knitted brows, worried eyes, and a tone of desperation. That’s the way I mean it here.
This post is for you if you know this feeling – the feeling of deep concern in relation to ongoing health concerns or around how your child is behaving or expressing emotion.
Being a parent is hard on so many levels – from the early days of sleepless nights, breastfeeding challenges, and adjusting to life with a baby…to making decisions about discipline and schooling…to teaching your child what’s most important in life (like faith, responsibility, forgiveness, kindness).
All of this is hard no matter what your child is like, but sometimes there are other factors in your child’s personality or experience that bring this to a new level. You get worried. Your experience of parenting this child feels really different from
that of the other parents you talk to and maybe even different from your experience with your other children. You begin to feel alone. Carrying the burden of giving this child what he or she needs feels unsettlingly heavy.
We have a child like this in our family. In our case, a child who struggled with regulating emotions – sometimes for extended periods of time. At a low point in my parenting journey, a friend and fellow mom asked to meet with me privately to say that she did not feel comfortable having her child around mine anymore.
I felt shame and defeat as a mother. In my mind, I had done everything “right” – my little one had been protected from traumatic experiences and chemicals from the beginning. He was born at home, breastfed past a year, not allowed any sugar or junk food until after age 2, raised by parents who loved him – disciplining him gently and praying for him. What had gone wrong?
Even worse, I often felt alone: as though my husband, parents, and in-laws were quietly blaming me for the struggles my child was experiencing. It was a painful and isolating feeling – piled on top of my own deep concerns for the well-being of my dear child.
I cannot give you a formula for how to support your child through similar crises, but I can tell you that things got better. Still, this one is a child who needs continued support and regular troubleshooting along the way. AND, I still need to deal with my own responses and worries with trusted friends and mentors.
Different actions have helped at different times, but here is a short list of what’s helped over the years (notice it has been a combination of support for my child & support for me):
- School counselor visits
- Releasing my burden to God through prayer
- High quality fish oil
- Dietary changes
- Disciplinary changes
- New sleep routines
- Self care for me – including have a mentor
- Moms in prayer group
Today, it is heavy on my heart that many mothers may be carrying similar burdens with their children and lacking in the support they need.
This is such a lonely place.
For me, I so longed to do a natural route that I was wary of seeking help from doctors or psychologists, for fear that they would recommend medications. I deeply desired support from some one who could give me a grounded, natural perspective with recommendations I would feel good about.
If this is you today, I would like to offer you a lifeline of sorts.
For a limited time, I am offering one hour sessions at a minimal cost that include:
- Listening deeply to the story of your child and your experience of parenting that child.
- Praying together – for you, your family, and your child.
- Coming up with three action points for moving forward. (We will do this by a process I call discernment. I will not be giving you advice or a prescription for what to do. Rather, through our prayer time and being sensitive to the Spirit and our inner wisdom, we will come up with three action points that resonate with you and that you feel good about doing.)
Please, do not suffer alone.