Mothering a Child through a Crisis with Purpose

It didn't happen suddenly. It was several choices made overtime that were brought to light and then we were drowning in crisis mode. There were a few indicators that something was stirring. But yet, we weren't sure what was going to happen.

Here's as much as I feel comfortable sharing about the specific situation: A child had not been making good choices and their choices finally caught up to them. 

This child was spiraling out of control and couldn't find which way was up.

It affected our whole family. We were all living in the aftermath of the situation. Life felt heavy and like a burden we couldn't escape from.

We were surrounded by the hard reality of poor choices and the stress of the situation was felt by each of us. Especially the child suffering.

I kept pondering this question:

How do I mother this child with purpose through this crisis?

I could put up blinders and focus on what was right in front of me. Not acknowledging my grief or pain. Just coast through life, trying to get by. Diving into survival mode.

I could pull through in my own strength and probably burn out on life within a week or so.

I could have fallen into old habits of acknowledging but burying negative feelings and finding myself stuck in the trap of resentment. Acting like everything was okay, even though it clearly wasn't.

When I pondered what my response could be, I knew I wanted to do this differently. The stakes felt higher. I wanted to purposefully mother this child through this struggle.

In reflection, after finding our new normal now, I found four things to be most helpful.

1. Remind them that you love them. 

Do this with words and actions. Even if, especially if, you aren't getting loving feedback from the child.

I have the mantra posted above my kitchen sink: No matter what, I can respond out of love. 

This is simple and important but so very hard. Especially in the beginning.

2. Don't condone the behavior.

We don't want our child to think that what they did was okay. So you have to couple your love with the reality that wrong was done. This is a tricky balance. But not impossible!

3. Keep normal things as normal as possible.

Whatever can stay consistent can and should. Do you always pray as a family before bed? If so, keep that rhythm and routine going strong. This will help everyone maintain a semblance of normalcy.

4. Trust the Lord with the results.

You can't change what your child did or the outcome of their actions. You can simply trust the Lord with the results. Even if they are scary and you feel unprepared. The Lord will equip you to parent this child. Somedays we simply have to trust that reality.

None of these things made the crisis go away. And I certainly didn't parent my child perfectly through this struggle. But it's the pursuit that is important. I did my best to show up for my child.

I imperfectly pursued purposeful mothering despite the circumstances. 


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