When your child goes through a tough time

by | Parenting with Courage

When your child goes through a tough time, you can guide them into safety.  Children are not exempt from hardships.  No matter their age, challenges will come.  However, these difficulties come in all shapes and forms:  growth challenges, learning obstacles, friend dynamics, peer pressure, disappointments, mistakes, and body changes.

Growing up is not easy

NewbornGrowing up is not for the fainthearted.  I sometimes think about how difficult it must be for a newborn to adjust to life outside of the womb.  Suddenly, gravity affects you, your tummy moves in strange ways, and you have bright lights, scratchy clothing and weird things shoved in your mouth.  It’s not that easy being a newborn.

As a mom, I was surprised at the myriad of emotions I experienced when my kids went through difficult times.  Such as when Matt was rushed to the hospital as a toddler due to a severed tummy bug, and there was nothing I could do to stop his screaming when they inserted the drip into his little arm. My husband held me as I sobbed into his strong arms.  Then, I remember the first day of school and having to leave my kids behind as I drove off.  I think it was more upsetting for me than for them. 

Teaching them to persevere

I also remember when my daughter struggled with learning to read.  It coincided with her gran having a stroke and heart-attack while sleeping at our home.  Emily was in the same room as her Gigi, and I remember rushing in to carry her out still groggy from sleep.  Learning to read wasn’t easy for her, but she persevered and kept on trying and trying.  She didn’t give up.  There were so many times that I wanted to rescue her but couldn’t.  I have interesting memories of her having to read to me out loud for three minutes every day.  Over dinner and in the car, she read The Secret Seven, The Secret Garden, and Humphrey Hamster books.  As a result, she made it through, and today, English is her favorite subject!

Furthermore, one of my children also encountered bullying.  With swift action, loving words and many role-playing activities, we managed to guide this child into safe waters.  During that time, I remember asking close friends to agree with me in prayer, and I gathered allies around me for wisdom.  They say that children who go through tough times during their schooling years learn resilience, problem solving and strength that stands them in good stead for their future.  

How to be the safe harbor for your children

Although you cannot protect your child from hardship, you can be a safe harbor for them to return to time and time again.  There are many ways you can be that safe place for your child. 

First of all, you can encourage and reinforce open and honest communication.  Keep them talking, and you keep on listening. 

Secondly, pay attention to their verbal and non-verbal cues.  These tell you so much more about what is going on in their hearts.  Ensure that your home is a place where they can let their defenses down.  

Thirdly, remind them that there is nothing they can do or not do that will not make you love them any less.  Remind them that they are loved and that they have a purpose and that they will get through this time. 

Fourth, be their advocate.  Speak up for them when they can’t speak for themselves.  Educate yourself about the issue they are facing. 

Fifth, if need be, get counseling or talk to experts in that field, but whatever you do, don’t do it alone. 

Finally, pray for your children.  There are plenty of types of prayers you can pray.  Pray prayers of intercession, pray over the meaning of their name, pray over their friends, their physical and mental development.  Speak Scriptures over your child and don’t be scared to pray with them.  The prayer of a mother and father has profound power. 

Don’t give up

When your child goes through a tough time – and they will – be that safe harbor, a safe space for them to run to.  And don’t give up when you child goes through a tough timehugging and loving them.  Your love will give them the courage to go on. “Boats in the harbor are safe but that is not what they are meant for,” wrote author Zig Ziglar.  Be the safe place for your child so that when they are ready to sail, they are ready for what life may bring.

You can read a more about how to pray for your children or guide them through their growing up years in my book Parenting With Courage. 

I’d love to hear from you.  What tough times have you gone through as you have raised your kids.? If you need prayer in any way, please email me or find me on Facebook



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