Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

How to Deal With a Wayward Child

posted by Linda Mintle

Q: We raised our daughter to love God. She grew up in a Christian home, made a commitment of salvation and was very involved in her youth group. When she left home for college, everything changed. She rebelled against every moral principle taught and has made poor choices that grieve our hearts. What can we do?

Dr Linda: My heart goes out to you. No parent enjoys watching a once strong godly teenager make poor choices that negatively affect her life. But the reality is that once young adults leave home, they are in charge of their choices. Some are better than others at resisting temptation and standing firm on their convictions.

The biblical directive in Proverbs 22:6 is, “Train up a child in the way he should go. And when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This verse warns us that children must be brought under parental and spiritual control. In some cases, that discipline is lacking in God-loving homes. Parents take their children to church, teach them about God but fail to break their will and properly discipline. That is not the case in your situation.

Other times, parents have been consistent disciplinarians, raise their child with a biblical view, and their child chooses a different way. In those cases, you pray that the godly foundation will eventually win out and the child will come back to his/her senses. Unfortunately that process can mean heartache for a time.

In other cases, family problems that were never addressed may be influencing your daughter. Families that don’t deal well with conflict and don’t get help when family conflict is out of control, produce adult kids unprepared to deal with conflict in their now adult lives. Unresolved family problems carry over to other relationships. For example, one young woman was sexually assaulted as a child. The family never dealt with the trauma and covered it up. Later, that daughter had major boyfriend problems that could be traced back to her childhood sexual assault.

Also, remember every person has a free will and is ultimately responsible before God. Our role as parents is to insure we have done everything possible to shape our children for independent adult life. Take a quick inventory of your parenting: Were you consistent? Did you set godly examples? Did you break your child’s will at a young age? Did you give in too often? Did you address family dysfunction?

Finally, keep in mind that many emerging adults struggle with making their faith their own. They need a personal encounter with the Lord even when they have been raised in a Christian home. Pray to that end–if Christ can show up to Muslims who don’t know Him, He can encounter your daughter in a life changing way. Hold on to that hope and pray to that end.

Obviously parents can’t go back and redo inconsistent parenting, but they can admit failure,  talk to their adult children and ask for forgiveness if necessary. You can also talk about foundational principles that bring a happy life. Be honest when reacting to your daughter’s poor choices. Point out the negative consequences that will result from ungodly living. Deal with family problems now. Love her unconditionally but not her sinful behavior or lifestyle.

Above all, pray. Prayer is powerful. The Holy Spirit can remind her of her childhood learning and bring others into her life who will positively influence her. Get support from other parents who will agree to pray with you. She may go through difficulty, but don’t give up on God’s best for her life. Continue to pray and intercede.

 

Lady GaGa Pushes the Envelope Yet Again

posted by Linda Mintle

Lady GaGa is such a mixed bag. She is talented singer, but so disturbing at times. And this is one of those times.

One moment she is helping children stand up to bullying, the next she is smoking marihuana on stage at her concert in Amsterdam!

And her latest antic is all over You Tube and the Internet. Now, teens can watch one the biggest music stars glorify pot smoking and actually engage in the behavior in a public forum. With impunity, she lit up on stage and talked about her love for weed to an audience of screaming teens.

How irresponsible! Yes, you can smoke marihuana in Amsterdam legally, but that is hardly the point. You can also drink yourself into a stuper legally, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Great role model for those kids trying not to be victims. Last time I looked, drug use is not a path to success for teens! And for most kids who will emulate her love for weed now, they won’t be affording the expensive drug programs to get them functioning again once the addiction takes hold. But GaGa, with all her money, can simple go to celebrity rehab if she gets in trouble. And more disturbing, this from a woman who overcame an addiction to cocaine before she reached her current fame.

I had hoped she would be different in terms of the usual rock star who drinks herself into oblivion and gets high to be “inspired” or check out of reality. It appears not. She is taking the predictable path. Next thing you know, we will have a behind the music show documenting her road to darkness and attempt to climb back.

Do you think this is just another desperate move to stay in the spotlight and be relevant? How far will she go to be outrageous?  And how sad  considering her immense following and actual talent. I’m afraid we are about to watch another pop star implode. Some people would argue  that this is only another pop star indulging her every wish, allowing money to make her reckless and doing anything to get attention.

But Lady GaGa is  a woman who could lead a generation another way and be a positive influence. She has moments of goodness but this overshadows her light.

 

 

 

You Don’t Want to Be This Mom!

posted by Linda Mintle

Melissa denied she was an alcoholic despite two DUIs on her driving record. Mandatory adult alcohol education classes did little to curb her drinking. She had no intention of giving up alcohol because she didn’t consider herself a drunk.

Mornings, however, were tough for Melissa. Hung over from the night before, she could hardly pull herself out of bed. Tired of feeling hung over, she swore she would cut down on the amount of alcohol she consumed every evening. But this morning would prove to be too late and a living nightmare.

When Melissa awakened from yet another night of heavy drinking, she found herself lying in a hospital room. Tubes were stuck in her arms. Her head pounded and memory of the night before was foggy. The news she was about to hear would change her life forever. Last night, a drunk driver killed her seven-year-old son, Ryan. The drunk driver was Melissa.

The night before was no different than most nights. Melissa began drinking in the early evening hours to unwind from her stressful day. Her son, Ryan, had a scheduled sleep over at a friend’s house. The friend only lived a mile away so Melissa told Ryan to get his things and hop in the car. As Melissa buckled into the front seat, she didn’t notice that Ryan wasn’t wearing his seat belt. Driving through the winding roads of the neighborhood, she lost control of the car and hit a tree. She survived the crash but Ryan did not. He was thrown from the car and instantly killed.

We know that drunk drivers kill people. What you may not know is what researchers reported in the May 3, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association—that drunk drivers who are responsible for the deaths of children under the age of 11 are usually relatives or moms like Melissa.

Researchers studied the crash fatalities records of children killed between the years of 1991 and 1996. Two-thirds of the children were killed while riding in the drunk driver’s car. The other third died from being hit by drunk drivers while walking, skateboarding, riding their bikes or being transported in another car.

The sobering reality is that driving drunk makes you a potential child killer. The incredible risk that is taken every time you get behind a wheel is staggering. If you have an alcohol problem, admit it now. You don’t want to end up like Melissa—an alcoholic responsible for the death of her child. The pain from that kind of loss is unimaginable. Help is available.

(Melissa is a fictional character based on a real life story)

 

Click on this link to find resources to stop drinking.

How Do I Love My Gay Son?

posted by Linda Mintle

Q: Dr. Linda, my son recently told me (his dad) that he is gay. I am having the most difficult time because of my Christian faith. It bothers me to think of him with other men. How do I deal with this?

A. Many parents don’t know how to approach their children and end up cuting off their relationships. But gay sons and lesbian daughters need parental love even when they don’t have approval for the lifestyles.

I talked to a dad not too long ago who said he couldn’t talk or even look at his gay son. Consequently he’d been avoiding him for over six months. He kept thinking about his son with another man and couldn’t stomach the thought. He asked, “Why should I talk to him? He’s living a life my faith does not support.”

My answer was simple, “He’s your son. He’s a person and he still needs a dad.” I asked him these four questions:

1) Did you love your son prior to knowing his sexual identity? His answer was, “Yes, of course.” Then remember that he is still a part of you. He’s still your son. You don’t have to accept his gay lifestyle, but you  love him unconditionally. That’s the model of Christ. God doesn’t always find us acceptable. We sin, disappoint Him, but He loves us just because we are His children. Love him, he is your child.

2) Does his sexuality define your relationship? Surely there is more between you and your son than his sexual identity. Focus on those aspects of the relationship. Stay connected and committed to wanting the best for him. Many gays struggle with feelings of inadequacy. You don’t want to add to those feelings by rejecting your own child who is desperate for your love.

3) As difficult as it is to do, try to get to know him. Ask him about his journey  and how his sexual identity has impacted his life. Know his story. It will help you know how to specifically pray for him.

4) What would Jesus do? It’s a cliché now because of all the times we’ve seen and heard it. But it is still a good question. Jesus loves the gay person as much as the straight person. He came to earth to heal the broken-hearted not avoid them. Your child is in a difficult place if he is cut off from you. Ask God for the wisdom to deal with him. Your acceptance of him may be key. Rather than alienating your son, be a part of healing his hurts.  He probably knows your struggle. But he wants your love. Loving him does not mean you agree with his lifestyle.

5) Consider family counseling. It may be helpful to find a Christian counselor who can help you talk to your son and keep the relationship going. The focus would not be on trying to change each other, but on how to be in a relationship. I am sure both of you know how the other feels. He was raised in your family and knows your position on his lifestyle. Now he is being honest about his. You can talk about why you both feel the way you do, your beliefs and faith, boundaries,  and how to continue to be in a relationship with differences. Having those types of conversations may take the help of a third party.

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