A few weeks ago, I asked a group of moms this question…
What is one piece of advice you would give to a mom who is at the beginning stages of this challenging journey?
The answers they gave were so thoughtful, I knew I had to share them with you, so here they are:
- Find someone to talk to about your emotions and feelings.
- Pray and trust in a power higher than yourself and keep living your life.
- Join a support group. It’s a game-changer knowing others understand what this is like.
- Don’t blame yourself or carry guilt for your child’s actions. You’ve done your best to raise them well.
- Try to be an ear and a voice for your child.
- Remember, you have a life and family outside of your child’s journey. Love them intensely but keep a balance.
- Believing that this journey might be the very thing that saves my child from a worse fate is sometimes the only thing that keeps me going.
- Breathe, It’s not your fault.
- Grieve when you need to, cry when you need to, scream when you need to. Allow yourself to honor all of your emotions.
- Find people who understand where you are and build a community within that circle.
- See a counselor, read a book on boundaries, and be kind to yourself.
- Be careful not to use alcohol to numb the pain of your feelings. I did, and it cost me a full year of my life.
- Accept that this is not your journey. This journey is theirs, and while you are a part of it, it does not belong to you. Learn to separate yourself where it’s healthy and draw boundaries.
- Remember that we learn more from adversity in life than we do when everything goes our way. There is value for both of you in this experience.
- Don’t believe everything your child tells you. Sorry, not sorry.
- Ask a lot of questions. The more you know, the more you will start to feel a sense of control over what is happening.
- Expect the unexpected. Good and bad.
- Don’t stay in isolation.
- One day at a time.
- Buckle up. It’s going to be a rough ride, but you will get through to the other side.
- Don’t be held hostage to protect them from feeling discomfort through this process. There is power in consequences.
- As much as you feel like you will never smile again. There will come a time when it won’t feel so heavy, and you can breathe easier.
- Remember, there are still others who need you. Try not to overthink or obsess about the things you can’t control.
- Prayer and lots of it.
- Be careful not to enable negative behavior. Your child does not need you to be their savior, and nothing good will come from you trying to be it.
- Talk with your child about positive things. Allow your imagination to see how this will one day benefit their lives and then share it with them.
- Early on, I met with a counselor specifically about setting emotional and mental boundaries, and it made us closer in the long run.
- If you can’t afford therapy, get a sliding scale professional or look for some community public resources; they are out there.
- Join an online support group (like Pathways Closed Group). I’ve gotten so much information and helpful guidance from them.
- Remind them that they are still loved, and they will rise above this.
- Educate yourself. Read books, talk to people, ask questions. Don’t wait to start the healing process.
- Know that there are other moms out there that have been where you are. We’ll gladly walk this road beside you.
Can I just say that I love everything about this list? The women who responded are all beautiful examples of what it means to show up. Through tears and broken hearts, they have learned how to walk through the challenges they were faced with and still honor the unyielding love they have for their child.
Before I go, I want to take this opportunity to remind you about Pathways Private Group on Facebook. Our private group is a small group of parents like you that understands what it’s like to have a child going through the juvenile court system. This support group is free and available to you today. Take advantage of an opportunity to be part of a safe space where families can come together. A space where we talk about our struggles, help answer questions and provide judgment-free encouragement. Link included below.
Pathways Private Group – Support for Parents: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pathwaysprivategroup