There’s something that almost always accompanies a troubled teen, and that’s a troubled parent. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It certainly would be troubling to have someone in your home who is dealing with issues ranging from anger and rebellion to addictions and depression.
But once in a while, we see a parent of a troubled teen who seems somehow resilient to the kinds of oppressive emotions that threaten to eclipse their joy. What’s the deal with these people? Are they simply in denial? Don’t they care about what their kids are going through — or putting them through? I’m sure there is the occasional parent who’s emotionally disconnected entirely, but generally speaking, there’s another reason some people can remain calm — and can even laugh out loud — during difficult times.
They Expect Difficulties
This isn’t a cynical view, but it is realistic. In John 16:33, Jesus Himself tells us that we will have “tribulation” as long as we’re here on this earth. “Tribulation” is another word for trouble, or difficulties. Unlike all the good things we hope we’ll experience this side of eternity, troubles are promised; we can be sure they’ll come. When trouble on the home front is met expectantly rather than with shock or disappointment, parents can more confidently deal with even the most difficult situations.
They Prepare for Difficulties
Going into this difficult time, the resilient parent probably became practiced at the spiritual warfare they’re encountering, allowing them to be well-equipped to face the challenges they’re facing (Eph. 6). Like the woman described in Proverbs 31, these parents can actually laugh at the future — not because they’re lighthearted about hard times, but because they have a confidence that transcends temporary circumstances. Just like the virtuous woman makes sure her family has cold weather gear in place before the first snow hits, the spiritually prepared parent has Scripture and biblical virtues at-the-ready before spiritual battles arise (Eph. 6).
They Manage Difficulties
The word “manage” carries the idea that the resilient parent is in control rather than helpless victims of circumstances or emotions or decisions of others. Did you know that someone can’t actually “make” you angry (or emotionally hurt or any number of other feelings)? Your emotions are your own reactions to circumstances or situations, and they’re based on what you believe about any given situation.
For instance, if you see someone approaching you with a gun, you may (understandably) feel afraid. Your emotional response is, of course, based on your knowledge that guns can be used to kill people. You would probably feel that way even if your best friend were nearby. If, however, you knew that your best friend was a trained sharpshooter with his sights set on your attacker, your fearfulness would not be nearly so intense. So it is when we fully realize Who God is.