Ways to Help Your Child with a Drug Problem

September 18, 2014

Alcohol and drug-related problems have become the downfall of many adolescents and young adults. Parents are frustrated and often do not know what to do. Here are three specific ways you can help if you suspect that your child has a drug problem. First, pray and ask God for wisdom. He can and will guide you in finding the help you need. Second, seek counsel from a qualified person on what steps you should take. Don’t try to solve the problem on your own. Third, practice “tough love”. Tough love means letting your child suffer the consequences of their drug and alcohol abuse. This is the fastest way for your child to become willing to go for treatment. Be kind, but firm in refusing to bail them out.

Internalized Anger in Young Adults

September 16, 2014

One of the most common problems for adolescents and young adults is passive- aggressive anger. This person has a subconscious motivation to do exactly the opposite of what one is supposed to do. Typically this behavior is designed to get back at a parent or other authority figure, at whom the individual is angry. The tragedy is that their behavior hurts them more than the other person. It is an immature way of handling anger. If your child’s behavior is illogical, rebellious, and self-destructive it may well be coming from internalized anger. The answer lies not in condemning their behavior, but in dealing with their anger. Someone must hear the pain and help the child find a better way to deal with anger.

Q&A: Relationships and Age Difference

September 15, 2014

Q: How much does age matter in a relationship?

Gary: It depends on how old you are. If you’re 16 and he’s 26—then yes, age should be a deal breaker. You’re too young to be involved with someone 10 years older than you. You have high school and college ahead of you. A person who is 26 and wanting to date you is revealing his own insecurity and may even be a predator. On the other hand, if you are a widow of 46 and dating a man who is 56, age difference is less important. You’re both old enough to be mature. There may be other factors that would indicate you should not get married, but age would not be that significant. The general principle is that the younger you are the more important age difference becomes.

Q&A: The Choice to Have Children

September 12, 2014

Q:  Are married people obligated to have children?

Gary: God said to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” In the Bible, children are viewed as a gift from God. However, I don’t think this means that every Christian couple is obligated to have children. If a couple decides not to have children, their reason for such a choice should clearly be understood and should not be rooted in selfishness. Some good reasons for not having children might include: physical and mental disabilities, poor relational skills, or ministry for Christ. Selfish reasons might be: the desire to travel, not willing to accept responsibility, or wanting to be free to follow personal interests. Make sure that your choice is based on a genuine desire to follow God’s plan for your life.

Do’s and Don’ts of Depression

September 11, 2014

If you know someone who is depressed, let me give you some Do’s and Don’ts. First the Do’s: encourage them to go for counseling. Let them know that if they want to talk, you want to listen. Look for life-threatening symptoms such as suicidal talk or actions. Inform the counselor of such talk or actions. Invite them to do things with you. And pray for them daily. Now the don’ts: Don’t tell them that they have nothing to be depressed about. Don’t tell them to snap out of it. Don’t tell them that the problem is spiritual. Don’t tell them that the problem stems from their past failures. With proper help your friend or family member can work through depression and be able to move toward independence.

Depression in Young Adults

September 9, 2014

When Dr. Ross Campbell and I wrote our book: Parenting Your Adult Child, we discovered that depression is the most common hurdle faced by young adults. Symptoms include feelings of helplessness, despondency, and despair; problems with sleep (either too much or too little); problems with eating – too much or too little; and lack of energy. Depression in turn will affect the young adult’s performance in school or on the job. This may result in flunking out of college or being fired from a job. It is often at this point that the young adult turns to parents for help. May I encourage you, don’t try to help them alone. Insist that they see a counselor, medical doctor, or a pastor. Use the resources that are available to help your child succeed.

Q&A: Dealing With Substance Abuse

September 8, 2014

Q: What’s the best way to deal with substance abuse in marriage?

Gary: My approach is to see yourself as a positive change agent. The process is two pronged—first, tender love and second, tough love. By tender love I mean learn their love language and speak it daily no matter how they treat you. Then, 6 months into this process you make the request that they seek treatment. Keep loving them. Next, apply tough love. You might say, “I love you too much to sit here and do nothing while you destroy yourself. If you don’t go for treatment, I am moving in with my mother.” Finally, move out. Since you’ve loved them in a meaningful way for six months they now have something to lose. Typically they respond to this. After treatment you can get marriage counseling and rebuild your marriage.

Q&A: Jealousy Issues

September 5, 2014

Q:  I have jealousy issues toward my wife. We are newly married, but I struggle with her having other guy friends. How can I deal with this?

Gary: Some jealousy is normal, particularly in the early years of marriage. We cannot, however, smother our spouse and not let them have friends. If it’s simply friendships with simple conversations, then no problem. But if indeed she has hidden (or not so hidden) feelings for these friends and there are some romantic elements involved, that’s not permissible in a healthy marriage. Be honest with her about your feelings. She in turn needs to be honest with you about the nature of these relationships. Marriage is designed to be exclusive and this conversation will help set that standard.

Escaping from Reality

September 4, 2014

As parents, we want our children to reach the point where they can function independently of us. It is the way life is designed – children are born to become adults. However, in contemporary culture it is not uncommon to see adult children who are not succeeding in life and want to return home. Is this a good idea? Perhaps! If you can help them find healing from their hurts; and rediscover their direction then time at home is good. However, if they move home simply as an escape from reality; if they are not open to your help, then you may enable them to live irresponsible lives. My suggestion is to have a family conference. Agree on a plan and hold each other accountable. This is responsible parenting.

Release the Person to God

September 2, 2014

If you have a tendency to hold anger inside and to withdraw from the person at whom you are angry, please listen. The apostle Paul instructed us to “get rid of anger.” Jesus said, “don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Anger was meant to be a visitor, not a resident. It is not wrong to feel anger, but it is wrong to hold anger inside. There are two biblical ways to handle anger. First, you may lovingly confront the person at whom you are angry and hope that they will apologize and the relationship can be restored. Secondly, if they persist in hurting you and not apologizing, you can release the person to God. The scriptures say, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay says the Lord.” Trust Him, and don’t live another day with anger.