Living with teens is hard work

Parenting is the most difficult job on earth. I know we’ll have jobs in Heaven, but I kinda hope parenting isn’t one of them. I have experienced the terrible twos, the troublesome teens and some of the tumultuous twenties with my kids. I’d pick anything over the teen years.
Living with teens is hard work; but trying to protect, direct and relate to them is nearly impossible. Their hormones are raging, their bodies are changing and they face constant judgment by peers who are living with the same craziness.
A woman I know (we’ll call her Sally) agreed to share her story:
Sally’s son (we’ll call him Steven) had been diagnosed in early childhood with ADHD and struggled because of this disorder as well as the medications to control it. During his senior year in high school Sally noticed some erratic behavior and, after some sleuthing on her own, confirmed that he was using drugs.
Steven’s choices began to get him in minor trouble with the law and school was a challenge. His girlfriend was also using drugs. Sally knew that she had to take serious action. She had never been one of those parents who took a gentle approach to this type of behavior, even calling the police herself once when she found him drunk at 15. She wanted him to experience consequences early so that he’d learn and not have bigger problems down the road.
Following the advice of a counselor and educational consultant, she sought out a rehab facility to help her son. With only three months until his 18th birthday, she was under the gun. She drove hundreds of miles from her house to see the place and meet with the counselor and “transport agent” who would accompany Steven to his temporary home.
As Sally made the long drive home on Mother’s Day 2005, she remembers feeling very tired and sadness consumed her. But the over-riding feeling was hope. She knew that while this would be an unpopular choice with her son, it was the only choice she could make.
Steven was surprised with the news of his treatment plan and taken away. He was very upset and Sally wondered if he’d ever forgive her, but that was less important than saving his life.
At the end of seven long months filled with encouraging ups and painful downs, the counselor recommended that Steven go home. When Sally picked him up he presented her with a card. On the cover it said, “Thank You for Pet Sitting.” Puzzled, she looked at him. “I don’t have many options for shopping and that’s the only one I could find,” Steven said.
The funny moment was soon replaced with an immense rush of emotion as Sally read what Steven had written inside:
“I was running for a cliff and you tripped me,
Before I could fall you caught me,
For that I will be forever grateful.”
Steven continues to do well and is living an independent and drug-free life. Sally wants to encourage parents to take big steps as early as possible to save their kids from drugs. For a single mom, this facility seemed out of reach. In addition to a chunk of her savings and a little help from Steven’s dad, she sold her son’s car and dipped into his college money to cover the cost of his treatment. She feels that it was the best investment in his future she could have possibly made.
Share your “parenting teens” stories, or offer a comment about Sally and Steven’s. Remember that you are never alone and the Lord loves you kids more than you do. Don’t fear making tough choices, God chooses the hard way a lot of times on our behalf.
Diane Markins

Visit my blog and listen to radio show: Bold Living

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