How Troubled Teens Programs can Help?
Is your heart aching for your troubled teens, whom you once knew? You raised him with such love, care, discipline…and so much prayer. Why is it, you ask, that he has chosen a path of recklessness? Do you wonder how troubled teens programs can help your son? Your heart is heavy as you think about your troubled teen.
First of all, it’s heavy with anxiety. You’re anxious about his health, his safety and his character. Whether its cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, or whatever else, you know your troubled teen is participating in acts detrimental to his health and safety. You know he is acting foolishly. You are afraid his character, which perhaps once was honorable, is worsening day by day. He makes one unethical choice after another. It seems he will never be respectable again. You wonder whether you should consider one of the troubled teens programs to help him out.
Secondly, your heart is heavy with guilt. You feel like it’s your fault he’s acting this way. You think you must have made mistakes in your parenting. “I have failed as a parent,” you say to yourself. You even feel guilty that you are even considering schools for troubled teens.
Thirdly, your heart is heavy with grief. You feel you have lost a son. Spiritually, he has drifted far away from you and your household…and you miss him profoundly.
Now, the question is, are these three feelings of heaviness in your heart good or bad? Should you keep letting them weigh on you, or should you try to fight them? Well, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about them, beginning with anxiety:
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Clearly, God does not want us to be anxious. Why is that? Because when we’re anxious, our eyes are focused on the wrong things. They’re focused on our problems rather than on the One who can overcome our problems. As it says in that beloved verse of Philippians, present your requests to God with prayer and supplication. Ask Him to change the heart of your troubled teen, and trust that God will work things out in the way He knows is best. Think about this: God is familiar with suffering and pain and loss just like you. And He listens to your cries with open ears. Therefore, Approach the throne of grace with confidence so that you may receive mercy and find grace in your time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
David Powlison, a writer for Family Life, a Christian ministry organization for families, says, “God’s listening does not guarantee that what is making you anxious will go away. But this God has a way of comforting, strengthening, and giving hope in the midst of the most difficult circumstances.” This echoes the truth Jesus voices in John 16:33—that in this world you will have trouble, but take heart! Christ has overcome the world!
Now, let’s looks at guilt.
- Know that you have not failed as a parent. The fact that you’re reading this article proves that you care deeply about your troubled teen. So if you hear a voice in your head saying you’ve messed up, and reminding you of mistakes you’ve made, don’t listen. That is not the voice of God, and therefore not the voice of truth. And by the way, remember no parent is perfect; every single parent makes mistakes. So don’t be hard on yourself!
- The truth is, Satan wants us to feel guilty. In fact, his other name, the Devil (diabolos) means “accuser.” When you start feeling guilty, know that Satan is accusing you. Turn to Jesus for refuge. He says “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
- Now, understand that your son is his own person, meaning you can’t control the decisions he makes. God gave us free will. Just like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32, your troubled teen has chosen to rebel. Therefore, it’s not your fault that he is getting into trouble. Continue to advise him and encourage him to make wise decisions and if that does not work, research programs for troubled teens and find the one that has the best biblical focus to get your troubled teen back on track . But do this with the knowledge that he must make his own choices and you will make yours.
Finally, your heart is heavy with grief.
This is a sorrowful, painful time for you. It’s sorrowful and painful because you love your son. And it feels like he is gone forever. You also may feel you are betraying your son if you place him in a troubled teen program. Grieving and mourning are not only natural; they are good. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
In the midst of your grief, stay hopeful. Remember, your son is not a lost cause. Looking closely at the story of the Prodigal Son, you see that the troubled son (who was likely a teen too!) eventually came to his senses (Luke 15:17). He realized the reckless life he had chosen was a dead end, and that life with his father was so much better. Even beyond that, he remorsefully admitted that he had been sinful in his lifestyle. He returned to his father in humble confession. In light of this story of redemption, know that there is always hope for redemption in your troubled teen’s life.
Now is a time for grief, but it is also a time for hope. It is good to be sorrowful about your troubled teen, but it is not good to sink into depression or despair. Stay hopeful, patiently praying and trusting that God will lead you to make the right decision to help your troubled teen. If God leads you to board your son in one of the Christian schools for troubled teens, consider Gateway Academy for Troubled Teens.
Gateway Academy for Troubled Teens is a Christ-centered Teen Challenge program designed to equip and discipline troubled boys in preparation for a successful future. Give Gateway a call at 850-547-9011 or visit Gateway Academy at www.christianmilitaryschool.org . Gateway will partner with you to change your troubled teen’s heart. And Lord willing, he will eventually come to his senses. When that time comes, run to him, throw your arms around him and kiss him, like the father did in the parable. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” (Luke 15:24)