The Dark Side of Parenting: Weathering the storms

“The challenge of all challenges is to think of detouring from what we’ve been taught all our lives-how scary is that? But not to embrace your child completely is more destructive to the gospel than to love and fully accept them.” A parent

Remember the early years? Those tiny hands.  The sweet chubby cheeks.  Days were a reverie of juice boxes, leggos and baby dolls.  You had dreams for your wee one.  They were going to be a doctor (she’s so smart), a professional ball player (did you see how far he threw that ball?) a musician (you should hear how he plays the piano).  They would go to school and excel in sports and music and academics.  They would be popular and go to lots of parties. Then they would go to college (on a full scholarship of course), graduate with honors, find a great job, meet the girl (boy) of their dreams, get married, buy a house (just down the road from you) and have 2.5 children a dog, a cat and maybe a boat. 

Every Sunday you would be the proud grandparents-- your church pew full of a happy Godly family.  Perfect.

Today however, you sit in stunned silence.  Your coffee cold in your cup.

“The school wants to meet with you and mom about me skipping class.”

“I hate school.  I want to quit.”

“I got arrested. Can you come get me out?”

“Dad, I just don’t feel like living anymore.”

“Mom, I’m pregnant.”

“Mom, I’m gay.”


Hold up a second. This isn’t what you planned.  This is totally off the dream track you had in mind.

Heart pounding. You feel numb. A million thoughts are flying through your head:

How can this be true?

Who else knows?

What will people think?

Will they be safe?

What about their future?

Will life ever be ‘normal’ again?

Then you start replaying life events: You spent time with them, made cookies, went to their games, their performances.  You made play dates. Shuttled them to practices, games and sleepovers. You talked to them about right and wrong.  You took them to church and taught them about God.  You read labels, fed them organic food (most of the time), made them wear helmets and buckle their seat belts.  You prayed. You volunteered. You were a good person. You. Did. Everything. Right.  Right?  How can this be happening? To your sweet child? To you?

Perhaps you’re in the midst of a life storm with your child.  Your dreams feel more like a nightmare.  Your experience is not one you can share easily without fear of further judgment, humiliation and shame. More than likely you’re not adding this one to the prayer list at church.  The very place that should be a sanctuary has turned into a torture chamber for you and your family.

You’re not alone. There is hope. We’re here to help.