One of the things I strongly dislike about counseling teens and youths is the parents!
Typically, we meet with the parents FIRST before meeting with the child. In most cases, the child is a product of the lack of parenting or poor parenting of mom and dad. It’s not always the case as some parents are doing their best with rebellious, risk-taking children.
Usually, if mom and dad can change, the child changes, too, depending upon the circumstances. Each case is different.
Now, here’s the thing I strongly dislike and it happens nearly every time. We’ll be working with a child (sometimes an adult child!) and the child is doing well. In the case of an addiction, the child will be doing great for an extended period of time but then the child makes a poor choice to go back to drugs/alcohol.
How do you think the parents react to their child going back?
The answer: The parents are angry at…the counselors! They say things like, “my child told me that you don’t call anymore” or “that you cancelled a meeting” etc. Amazingly, their anger is not toward their irresponsible child who is choosing drugs but toward the counselors who somehow failed the child.
I’m writing this blog to those of you who work with addicts. Do not be surprised if the child decides to go back to a destructive lifestyle (and many of them do NOT by God’s grace), then you will likely be treated like an enemy by the parents. You must respond with “good” according to Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.”
-Mark (sad that parents are cloudy in their view of their children’s responsibility)