Sometimes being a mom means having to face some really difficult situations and the need to ask some scary and uncomfortable questions. As a counselor, I often help people look a little deeper and ask themselves if there are issues that need to be addressed. Fear tempts us to avoid confronting things that need to be exposed. But healing comes when hidden things are in the light and plans of action are in place.
Fear tempts us to avoid confronting things that need to be exposed. But healing comes when hidden things are in the light and plans of action are in place.
Here are 5 uncomfortable questions you may need to ask.
1. Am I or is my husband drinking too much?
In order to answer this question, you need to ask yourself some other questions first. Does either of your moods change when you don’t have an opportunity to drink? Do either of you get angry or sullen when you’ve had alcohol? Has alcohol become a priority in either of your lives above connection with each other or with the children? If you can answer yes to these questions it’s time to reach out for help from a counselor who specializes in drug and alcohol issues.
2. Has my child been molested?
When one of my daughters was a teenager, I discovered she had been sexually active with several different boys, one of which was in the backseat of her car after meeting the boy that same day. This revelation came after she started to distance herself from the rest of the family and some incidences of shoplifting. She finally told us that when she was twelve a family member had been inappropriate with her. Once she shared her secret we were able to help her work through it. I wish I had recognized signs that she had been abused when the shoplifting and lying starting. If your child has started to engage in risky behavior and is disconnecting from you, it’s time to ask some questions in a gentle and inviting manner. Shame might be behind those scary choices they are making.
3. Is my child doing drugs?
Drug abuse has recognizable indicators. Is your child more distant and withdrawn? Are you catching them in lies? Are they suddenly getting in trouble in school? And are they hanging around different friends who feel uncomfortable for you to be around? Have they stopped caring about their appearance? Are things of value missing? Is money missing from your purse? Answering yes to any of these questions is a reason to investigate further.
4. Is my teen suicidal?
When I was nine-years-old, my father committed suicide. No one was more surprised than my mother. But had she known some of the signs and symptoms she may have been able to help him avoid making that fateful decision. Teenagers don’t always have the ability to see that what they are experiencing right now won’t always be true. Peer rejection, isolation, academic and/or sports failure, and heartbreak can feel overwhelming and hopeless in the midst of a body full of hormones. Has your child become despondent? Are they isolating themselves? Do they have a preoccupation with death? Has their mood become dark or depressive? Are they giving away their possessions? These are signs they may be contemplating suicide. Ask them questions. Take them to a counselor. Get them help immediately!
5. Is my child engaging in self-harming behavior?
Eating disorders aren’t always about looking attractive. They are also about needing control. When things in life seem out of control, a teen might try to find that control through obsessing about their weight. If your child is avoiding eating, hiding food, taking laxatives, sudden fluctuations in weight, obsessing about body image, or constantly critiquing other people’s weight they might have an eating disorder.
Cutting behavior is also about needing control. When emotional pain is intense, some teens find release through cutting themselves. This a pain they can control. It’s also a way to feel when they are emotionally shut down. Is your child withdrawn? Are they wearing pants or long sleeved shirts in hot weather? Are you finding razor blades in their room? Do they seem emotionally shut down? These may be signs they are cutting. Seek out professional help if you suspect your child is cutting themselves.
Tell us! What is the most difficult situation you have faced with your kids?