For parents: Healing Yourself & My daughter is gay
I thank you from my heart for your wonderful site on parenting. I live in a country where there are no parenting groups or support and to see a psychologists costs a fortune. I have 5 children ranging from 7 to 24 years old. S 21, and D is 20 are in college in Canada. Y 10 and M 7 are with us.
When I read your columns, I felt as if you were talking to me because I feel I missed out on my children's most beautiful years. Now my daughter S has been diagnosed with bipolar by one doctor and another doctor thinks she is depressed. She thinks she is gay and is struggling with it because it is not acceptable in my religion.
Y is also portraying some emotional issues. When I read your article "For Parents: Healing your hurt places" I felt I you hit the nail right on the head. I will heal my hurt places first and then start working on Y.
Can you give me some suggestions on readings that can give me a right direction to help my daughter? I don't want to lose her.
I'm so glad you wrote.
We all have wounded places, and our children are always affected by them. Your commitment to healing yourself is inspiring, and I wish you godspeed not only for your children, but also for your self.
RE your 21 year old daughter S: I assume that in Canada she can find therapy for her depression, as well as support for coming out as a lesbian. While it may be difficult for her to reconcile her religion and her sexual orientation, your support will help her tremendously. As you probably know, sexual orientation is not a choice people make, but an innate part of who they are, like brown eyes or black hair. In a homophobic culture, it is especially important that young people who are coming to terms with being gay have the support of their family to reassure them that their sexual orientation is part of what makes them uniquely themselves, and that they are well and truly loved.
My favorite book for parents working on themselves is: Giving The Love That Heals by Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt. I strongly recommend this book, which “helps parents nurture their own development as they encourage emotional wholeness in their children...by resolving issues that originated in our own childhood, we can achieve a conscious, and thus healthier, relationship with our children, regardless of their age... helps to end the "cycle of wounding" -- the handing-down of wounding we received as children -- as we raise our own children... how to give children what they really need from us ... practical, insightful approaches that can powerfully shape the parent-child bond.”
My favorite book for kids who are having issues (for your ten year old daughter Y) is Smart Love: The Compassionate Alternative to Discipline That Will Make You a Better Parent and Your Child a Better Person by Martha Heineman Pieper, Ph.D. And William Joseph Pieper, M.D. This book is terrific at helping us understand why children act out and how to love them through to health and wholeness.
I want to add that whatever mistakes you have made as a parent, it is never too late to create a beautiful relationship with each of your children, whether they are 7 years old or 24 years old. Your clear intention is the tool that will help you become the mom you want to be.
You have my great admiration for your courage in facing your wounds, and learning to love and forgive yourself. May you and each of your children be blessed with grace.