To the Mom who feels like it might be too late:
If your son has already been influenced negatively — if he has made some bad choices, gotten into trouble, or seems uninterested in a relationship with you…
It’s not too late.
If you feel like you’ve blown it as a mom – overlooked things that you wish you had tended to, been too busy with work or other obligations and neglected areas of parenting, or have regrets about anything related to raising your son…
It’s not too late.
We have a God of 2ndchances (and third and fourth chances, too.) He is a God of fresh starts. His mercies are “new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:23)
Most of the time, when we realize things are not how we wish they were, we can look back and see where things started to go wrong. It can be painful, but it’s important to reflect. For some this will take you back many years…or maybe it’s more recent….or anywhere along the way.
Yet, no matter where your son is today, there is hope for the future.
Here are three steps I encourage you to take to begin to repair relationships, build bridges, and look forward to better days ahead.
- PRAY. This is the time to get on your knees before the Lord and be as honest and desperate as you can be. Confess your sins and regrets to Him and ask forgiveness. Pour out your heart to Him – nothing will surprise Him. Believe that He hears your every prayer and trust that He cares. He is full of love for you and your son. Then ask Him to lead you to a new place. Ask Him for wisdom to find resources, counsel, or help to get your son to a better place. Then open His Word, the Bible, and start looking for answers right away. God will speak to you – through the Bible, and through circumstances and through other people – if you are listening. (Side note: If you do not have a relationship with God yet, before anything else turn to the resource from Chapter 4 and follow the steps there to begin a relationship with God.) Commit to praying for your son and whatever challenges he is facing every day.
- Talk to your son. Humbly, lovingly, honestly. Find a time that is not stressful and where neither of you are in a hurry. Ask your son to sit down, or – better yet, go for a walk or a drive (boys tend to communicate better when shoulder to shoulder than eye-to-eye.) Begin the conversation by owning anything you have done to contribute to the problem, or where you might need to ask forgiveness. Then tell your son how much you love him and express that your ultimate desire is that he will grow up to have a bright and happy future…This is a great time to let him know if God has been working on your heart and encourage him to consider if he might be open to hearing from God on the topic at hand. Tell your son that you want to be there for him – to encourage him and help him, but that it is your job to parent him, not to be his best friend. You might have to make some hard choices on his behalf, and you need him to understand it is all out of love. Try not to carry on too long, but keep the conversation brief and clear. Do not get overly emotional or clingy. Be strong. Be loving. Be firm. If you have not been talking to your son about difficult things regularly, let him know that you would like to have more open conversations in the future. Then wrap it up a hug and if possible, ice cream or something else to celebrate that you made the first step of having an honest conversation about hard things. They will get easier as you practice.
- DO THE HARD WORK OF PARENTING. This is where you need to get serious about your son’s future welfare. Not his feelings today. Not making him like you. But doing everything you can to help me move towards a healthy, positive future. This might mean doling out some difficult consequences. It might mean taking away his phone, or any number of privileges. It might mean getting a counselor involved, or a youth pastor or a family friend. If you’ve prayed and God has given you wisdom, by all means follow it. Making hard choices on behalf of our children is difficult, but it is the right thing to do. Be sure to tell your son you are making choices out of love, then do it and move on. He will be ok.
I know families that have pulled their kids out of school to homeschool the rest of the year or moved their entire family into a new area because of bad influences. Sometimes you have to tell your son plain and simple ‘That kid is not good for you and I don’t want you hanging out with him outside of school anymore.’ (You can always suggest that if the friend has changed in the next year, you’ll give him another chance, but if you know in your gut someone is dragging your kid down – get your kid away from him/her.) Your son’s future is worth some very hard choices, so you must be confident to do what you think is right.
- FIND POSITIVE ROLE MODELS. Finally, begin the process of leading your son to better role models and influences. Point him in the direction of inspiring people who might set an example for him. If he hasn’t been attending church or a youth group, get him to one and make it a simple requirement for the rest of the year (or however long.) Be firm – he is your kid and you know better than he does what is best. Try to find some inspiring Youtube videos or podcasts and sit with your son while he watches. Get books about young men who have overcome challenges and read them (out loud if you need to) with your son. Your son is only in your care for so long, and this is the time to be the parent. You can do it with love and respect, but by all means – do it. I’ll be praying for you all along the way!
With much Aloha,
PS As always you are welcome to email me to tell me how you’ve done with these steps! Find me at [email protected]