As a mom, I think one of the hardest things I have to deal with, is watching my kids go through hurt. I’m not talking about the typical physical hurts, like cuts and bruises, but rather the emotional hurts that life can bring… difficult situations that break their hearts; situations that don’t seem fair; situations that seem overwhelming and unbearable to them.
Usually these are things that I have no control over, which makes it harder, because as a mom I want to protect my kids from hurt. However, I have to remember that going through trials is one of the best ways for them to grow and learn. God uses trials to strengthen and refine us. He allows the things that happen in my kids’ lives for a reason. “All things work together for good….” Romans 8:28
There have been times when I caught myself asking God to make things easier for a child who was in a rough situation, but immediately God spoke to my heart. He reminded me that rather than praying for things to be easier, I should pray that they would have the strength to handle it, while growing and learning from it.
Here are some of the things to do when your children (this includes young adult children!) are hurting:
1. Cry with them and for them.
My heart breaks for them and their pain. The Bible says to weep with those who weep. When it’s my children, that’s pretty easy to do!
2. Hug them and hold them for as long as they need it.
I don’t believe that “kids” ever outgrow the need for hugs from their parents!
3. Listen and try to hear not just what they’re saying, but what they’re feeling.
4. Bite your tongue and hold back words of instruction, or reproof.
Sometimes the hurt comes as a result of their wrong choices, or natural consequences. However, they have probably already figured that out, and don’t need to be reminded. If you DO feel it’s necessary to talk about it, wait until the hurt isn’t as bad, and the child is ready to talk about it.
5. Encourage them to go to God.
I tell my kids that I know they are hurting, and I try to acknowledge their emotions. However, as the song says, No one understands like Jesus. So tell them to go to Him and pour our their tears, anger, questions, hurt, and whatever else they may be feeling. God already knows what they are thinking/feeling, but bringing it to Him helps them release some of the emotions, rather than holding on to them and getting bitter, or staying angry or hurt.
I often remind my kids of the verse, Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8)
6. Encourage them to listen to good music, that is uplifting and comforting.
Music will help soothe their hurting spirit, and Godly music will remind them that He is in control; He can be trusted, He sees their hurt, and He cares.
7. Try to spend extra time with them, and do something special.
This could simply be going out for breakfast, or a shopping trip. Shopping normally includes buying some chocolate, which usually makes everything seem better!
8. Encourage siblings to be extra understanding, and to show extra support and love.
9. Pray for them!
I pray for my kids daily, but when they’re going through a hard time I keep bringing them and their needs before the Lord whenever I think about it.
God can do things that we can’t, so as parents we need to ask Him to work in the lives of our kids. We need to pray His power and protection over them daily.
I’m so glad that as Christian parents we have a God we can turn to for not only our needs, but also the needs of our children.