My first instinct is to rescue them. Now that they're teenagers, I can't. My second instinct is to remove them. With teenagers, I can't usually do that either. I'm also tempted to let what is happening to them tap into a wound of my own. That's when I need to recognize how my past experiences have equipped me to coach my child through it and pray with sensitivity. But I have to be careful not to project my emotions and fears on them.
My friend Glynnis Whitwer has written a great book, "When Your Child is Hurting" to help us with this aspect of parenting that so few of us were prepared for. And she's giving away 2 copies to 2 of you. I asked Glynnis to share with us why she wrote this book and how it can help us help our kids when they are hurting:
What was your motivation to write this book?
My first son, Joshua, wore glasses at 11 months old. And for the next six years, my little boy wore a patch over one eye to strengthen his weak eye. As a result, I was very protective, even to the point of being over protective. I wanted to save Josh from anything that might hurt him, especially the teasing I imagined he would face. If he had any problem, I wanted him to come to me, and I would take care of it.
However, the day Joshua entered kindergarten, I came to an abrupt realization of our new reality: Joshua had moved beyond my ability to protect him. As this truth wound its way around my heart, I realized I had to find another way to help Joshua. I really wanted to hide my little boy under my wings so no one would ever touch him, but knew that wasn’t an option.
As I wrestled with this desire to protect at all costs, God started speaking gently to me about two very specific issues. The first was trust. God asked me a question He continues to ask me today: Do you just say you trust Me, or do you really trust Me? Really, this has been a defining question for my life; one that I had to settle in my heart. Do I trust Him with the life of my children, or do I just say I do.
Through this question, God revealed that my self-sufficiency was in fact pride. I assumed a role God never meant for me, and through that role, took God’s place in the life of my child. The truth is, I am a woefully imperfect and inadequate substitute for such a holy, perfect, and powerful Savior. When I assumed responsibility for my child’s complete protection, I was in fact training my son to look to me for answers and not God.
The second issue God dealt with me about was preparing my child to effectively deal with life and all its inevitable problems. I realized I had to teach my own children to be problem solvers. By trying to protect them from any problems, I was in fact thwarting their ability to become independent. God showed me I needed instead to prepare my kids to deal with problems, because trouble will arrive on our doorsteps our entire lives.
This book is really my story about how I addressed these two issues in my parenting.
You say allowing some pain to enter a child’s life is actually good. Why is that?
There are two reasons I think some pain is good for a child. The first is that pain, or suffering, or trials – whatever you want to call it – actually make us stronger. This is a biblical principle. Here’s what Romans 5:3-4 says, “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (NIV)
Learning to persevere through hard times develops character, and without a challenge, we can raise children with weak moral fiber. We want to build adults who won’t give up at the first sign of trouble, who will push through to achieve a goal. And it’s great for children to learn that under the protection and guidance of a loving parent.
Second, allowing some pain to enter our children's lives also teaches them to turn to God. If a child’s life is free from all pain, she can easily miss her need for God. Although this seems paradoxical, I have experienced this in my own life. It is in times of deep pain and suffering I seek God’s peace, and God responds by settling in close. God teaches me things about Himself that I would never learn in the easy time.
How will parents benefit from your book?
It’s my prayer that parents will be helped as much as their children. As I struggled to help my children deal with life’s challenges, I’ve realized that my own emotions and patterns of thinking can hinder that help. I’ve had to work through my own fears, failures and disappointments. I want to help parents do that.
Second, parents will find very practical help in this book. I’ve filled it with examples from my own life, and the lives of others. Plus in every chapter there are very specific steps to take to help your child deal with some hurt.
Finally, I include some extras in each chapter to add value. I’ve included some great motivational quotes, Bible verse and discussion questions. It would be a good resource for a moms group or even for personal study.
Thank you so much Glynnis for your wisdom and generosity in giving away 2 copies of your wonderful book along with 2 weekly reminder pads with scriptures to encourage and help busy moms.
I'm also adding 2 copies of my new message on CD entitled "The Power of a Purpose Driven Mom." We'll draw one winner from my blog comments and one from hers. Just tell us why you'd like to win today's gift pack by clicking on the word "comments" below. Please include your email or blog address so we can reach the winners.
Then click here to visit Glynnis blog to enter for another chance to win! I'll announce my winner Saturday so anyone who doesn't win can buy Glynnis' book for 31% off at P31 since - our amazing sale ends Sunday.