Dear mom of a difficult child:
When you thought about what your life would look like with children, you didn’t include all this heartache, did you?
You didn’t envision the never-ending tantrums or the unconsolable tears. Nor did you plan for the different ways you’d strive to tame your child or the neverending failure of tried and true parenting tactics.
Did you imagine the millions of reasons your peaceful and perfect baby would give you to doubt yourself as a mom and woman?
No, I’m sure the boundless love in your heart threw out those possibilities.
But now as your dreams float away into the darkness and you’re suffocating in nearly every facet of your life, you find yourself broken by a precious someone you expected to make you whole.
I understand the struggles of parenting a difficult child.
Weary mom, I’ve experienced the excruciating pain and relentless insecurity that manifests when parenting a difficult child that needs more than discipline and direction. The tears run steady and fears of the future prick daily. The chaos of attempting to control the uncontrollable cause an undeniable emptiness.
I’ve endured the stares of shocked passerbyers experiencing rage that shouldn’t exist inside such a little body.I’ve hid the anguish and shame that comes with doing everything you can for your child but feeling like you’re doing nothing at all.Click To Tweet
The impact of a child struggling to behave ravaged my home, attacking my marriage and targeting the emotional stability of my other children. It crept into the lives of those close to us too, leaving them unsure of how to help.
I know the stress of it because I’ve existed in the alternative reality that develops only in the lives of mothers fighting to survive this type of storm.
But you don’t have to let the challenging behavior of a difficult child define you.
I fell into this trap for too long. The judgement of others—both the false kind that I made up in my head and the real version I faced from those who didn’t understand—demolished my identity. I relied on my son’s “good days” to validate me and let the “bad days” destroy me.
How about you?
Do you throw away who God created you to be in exchange for what the world says you should be?
When my son threw books across the classroom in a bout of frustration, I blamed myself. If he disrupted my lesson at church, I failed as a parent. I even started to believe that I deserved his verbal attacks.
My difficult child’s mistakes became my mistakes and as these wrongs collided together, the explosion felt like the end of hope.
How I wish I would have found the words of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 back then.
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”
Please, don’t lose hope.
Even though you are a weary and overwhelmed parent, your difficult child isn’t the end of your life.
Though I’m sure it feels this way. I used to let lies like this creep in and dig deep. My hardest weeks plunged me into a false reality of what life should be and what it wasn’t.
Trust me. I’ve been there and I promise you:This trial and suffering, this sense of being lost, yet so desperately seeking to be found, doesn’t have to feel like an end.Click To Tweet
If you invite God to work through you, it will be the start of making you whole.
1 Peter 5:10 (KJV) tells us:
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
God’s plan for all of this is to complete you. To make you whole. Will you let Him? Will you invite Him into your suffering?
You don’t have to face this parenting struggle alone.
You don’t have to find the strength to handle the tough stuff. The words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV) give me much hope amidst trials, especially those surrounding my son.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Don’t put your hope in parenting advice, the passing of time, or the ability of yourself and others.The only true hope comes from Christ and in His promises to be our strength and comfort in a season of adversity and affliction.Click To Tweet
I’ve spent too many days combatting the problems of my difficult child that I’ve missed troubleshooting the problems of my heart. I’ve set my eyes on fixing a child created to God’s exact specifications, that I’ve blinded myself to the One most deserving of my attention.
Are you distracted from the Father who makes all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)? Are you ready to free yourself of a responsibility that you don’t need to bear alone?
You can change the way you think, transforming your difficult child into a blessing, rather than a burden.
At first this is difficult to understand. But I am living proof of the power of Christ to use tribulation for His triumph.
The Bible reveals the purpose of our troubles. Romans 5:3-5 (KJV) tells us that:
“…tribulation worketh patience and patience, experience; and experience, hope…”
How blessed are we to have a God that transforms the rotten into rewards!
When the agony with my son began, I correlated everything happening to myself. What did I do wrong in the past to deserve this punishment? Where did I go wrong in my parenting?
But then in the deepest pit of despair, when I had nothing left to give, God changed my heart. He comforted me and told me He would lead if I would follow.
Will you let God take over from here?
God uses our challenges to teach us what we lack, to mold us in His image, and to delicately guide us closer to Him.
Now I see my son as a blessing—the catalyst of my much needed growth in Christ. And if you rely on Christ to get you through this hard time and trust that God made your child just the way s/he was meant to be, you can see your child as a blessing too.