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Resources for Suicidal Teens and Parents

In the last few blogs, we’ve talked about a tough subject, suicide, and suicidal thoughts, with Lori Wildenberg. We first started the conversation with what is suicide and what are suicidal thoughts. Then we shared Lori giving her powerful testimony about how her daughter, who had an unsuccessful suicide attempt and now is thriving and doing great. We have shown risk factors and signs to look for in children. Today we conclude with a few lasting points and resources.

Keys to Overcoming Suicide and Suicidal Thoughts

One of the keys to overcoming suicide and suicidal thoughts is to stay connected and communicate. Many times this can be something we tend to avoid because this is a tough subject to talk about with our kids. We are reluctant to go to a child we love and ask the hard question, “Have you thought about suicide” and not want to hear the answer that they may be depressed or thinking about suicide.

Another key truth is that positivity can be toxic because it feels dismissive. If our kids come to us with genuine concern, and we dismiss it and put a positive spin on it, we’re telling them we don’t want to hear their struggle, to get over it, and that there’s always a silver lining. What is more important than positivity is giving the reality that life can be hard. God is still good, but life is hard. We need to let our children know that there are struggles and understand that it’s not always going to be what it might look like on social media. Life is hard, and it’s filled with hard things, and that’s not such a bad thing that it is filled with hard things. We need to explain that if we think about it, in sadness, when we experience sadness, which draws up compassion, and if a person feels fear, this can draw up bravery in a person. Anger can help someone get to a place where they do some problem-solving. Everyone likes happiness; happy is excellent; no one’s going to argue that, but our kids will live a full life, so we want to ensure that we equip them for that full life.

Another key is that fear and worry can kick into anxiety, and sadness can kick into depression, which can kick into suicidal ideation. So, watch if our kids are feeling sad; if it’s temporary, that’s typical, temporary if they can still express joy in their grief and sadness. For example,  let’s say that maybe a grandparent has passed away; if they can still recall a funny story and laugh and enjoy things still, even during the grief, if you can see that, what you know is your child is experiencing sadness, not depression. But if sadness continues for some time, you need help. Some studies say even if there’s no joy, if it’s only sadness for a few weeks, get help; others say a little longer. But I would say you know your child and watch for when help needs to come.

The last key today is if we feel like our child may be sad or depressed and possibly have suicidal thoughts treat it now. Look at it like your child has some illness or physical sickness; you would seek help whether your child wanted it or not, right? Even if they didn’t want help and broke their leg, you would still go to the doctor to get their legs set. So we move forward as responsible parents; we don’t wait for them to say, Yes, I’m ready for help. We get help. We go to the doctor, we go to the pediatrician, and we find a therapist.

I pray that these informative and moving conversations on suicide and suicidal thoughts in our children have touched you and have helped bring light to the dark topic.

Listen to the Warfare Parenting Podcast today and don’ forget to visit LoriWildenberg.com and find many more resources.

Another resource: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is 1- 800-273-Talk


Links + Resources:

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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Insights on Fathering a Prodigal

I wanted to bring you this story because sometimes we don’t hear enough from the father’s point of view when facing a defiant and self-destructive child. Tom Yohe is the real deal, and he has fought hell for the victory with his daughter. Today he shares some powerful insights and feelings about being a father of a prodigal. I asked him, “What would you be the dynamic difference between the father and mother? Do you find that the struggle is similar? Or do you find that you deal with it differently? Please share your personal experience.

Tom and his wife get the hell parents to face when struggling with a prodigal child. Tom shares, “Well, Dena, my wife and I have been in full-time ministry. For most of our married life, we met in college at Christian University. We were in the pastoral ministry for several years. Then we transitioned, went overseas for a one-year stint with Campus Crusade. Then they asked us to come on staff after the end of that year. So we served with them. We were in mission work. Our dream was to serve overseas, but things were going south with our daughter. We first noticed it when she was age 12; she cut herself back then, you know, we just never heard of that as their concept. I had no way to process that. Then as she got into high school, she began experimenting, using drugs and alcohol, and things just went, went south from there. Her high school senior year was a mess. She barely graduated, but it went on for years after that. Again, we were around many full-time ministries, people who weren’t going through this. It was very isolating. We would tell our friends who were looking at universities for their children and tell us, “Oh, my son’s going into there, my daughter is going here.” We were looking for treatment centers, and that’s not a big conversation you want to have with everybody. It was tough, very isolating and a lot of guilt involved. Some people who were friends didn’t want to hang out with us anymore. I guess I could understand it. Maybe they didn’t want their daughters or their children around our daughter. I would probably want the same thing. But why did they isolate from us? Why did they push us aside? So it was, it was hurtful.

Tom shared, “Well, fathers do deal with it differently. A tendency, I think, for many men is to throw themselves into work because they see themselves as a provider. A lot of these things are costly. You know, if you get into treatment centers and counselors and what have you, then it’s easy to say, okay, this is how I’m dealing with it, I’m going to be the provider. I’m going to make sure that the counseling happens or their treatment centers, we have insurance, or what have you. But that’s also their way of escaping and disengaging from what’s happening. And often, the wife, you know, is left to deal with a lot of heat daily. So we were fortunate we were in ministry together, and we were with an organization that gave us leverage or freedom. We explained that we were walking through something hard right now. Then they go, okay, take some time. 

We would pass through. We would take hours, literally, up in our bedroom, trying to get on the same page when we were trying to deal with our daughter because we realized it didn’t take long, that if she found a weakness, she would exploit it. If we weren’t on the same page, we weren’t united, and what was coming out of our mouths, she would be quick to exploit that to get the attention off herself and onto us and get us arguing with each other.

There was a moment when God spoke to me and directed me to the book of Genesis. As I read through that, I looked at that and said, Oh, my gosh, God is a hurting parent. God created Adam and Eve and put them in a perfect environment. They didn’t have all the stuff going on and gave them one boundary and couldn’t keep it. Then they had children, and their son murdered their other son. I mean, it’s practical’s from the beginning. Yes. So I realized that God is a practical parent, and He knows my pain. He understands my fears and every emotion that I’m walking in. I can come to God with that because He’s walking with me. I mean, think about how many rebellious kids he has right now. It wasn’t too long in Genesis that He was ready to wipe out Europe because the hearts of men were so wicked. He said, “You know, I regret I’m grieving over what’s happening here.” Well, that’s the father grieving over what his children are doing. So thankfully, God didn’t wipe us out and had a plan to give us His Son.

There were some points of clarity as we battled the devil over our daughter. Some of these moments were more powerful than others. I would say that the one was when I had to rush to the hospital. Renee had cut herself up so deeply that they had to take her to the hospital. We had gone through so many other things with her, and I didn’t know what to do. God just spoke to me. He said, Tom, “I love you unconditionally. Tell Renee you love her unconditionally.” So when I went into the hospital room, she was so full of guilt and fear. She goes, “Oh, Daddy, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” I said, Renee, it’s okay. I said, look, nothing that you’ve done or has been done to you will ever change our love for you. We will love you unconditionally, and we will always love you. That was a powerful moment in our relationship. It wasn’t the end of her prodigal journey. But our relationship was there. And when she got into horrible things, she called us. She called for help. And that was very, very important.

Another important point is to learn about boundaries. We also need to learn how to set appropriate boundaries, and that’s part of it. You know, the verse, I think it’s in Hebrews; “God disciplines those whom He loves.” You know, discipline is not unloving. It’s sometimes the most loving thing we can do. When we set some clear boundaries, Dena and I spent time we figured out what those boundaries were, we figured out which ones we could enforce because I could set boundaries, but none of us were going to enforce them. What good is it? And we explain those boundaries to Renee. She knew them, and she understood them. So there was a very, very hard, hard reality that came to us one evening when she violated the boundary and had to experience the consequences. But in her writing and reflecting, she told us that was one of the most loving things we did, and she doesn’t resent us for it. She appreciated it. As a young boy, my father worked a lot. And he wasn’t in the home a lot. I knew they loved me and stuff like that, but I missed having him around. And I wasn’t the best of kids either. But, you know, if they didn’t discipline me, I began to wonder if they loved me or not because I think love does speak words of discipline at times.

Well, one of the things I got from this journey, fathering a prodigal, was gained a sense of humility. You know, it’s easy to be proud Out of everything’s working right, and you think, Hey, I’ve got this. But there was a deep sense of humility and added compassion for people walking through painful journeys. Unconditional love, you know, is the verse that God manifested His love for us and that while we were sinners, Christ died for us. Christ didn’t wait for us to clean up our act, didn’t wait for us to earn or deserve it. He gave it unconditionally, without concern about our response or lack of. So I think that love needs to continue to be there for our children; just as Christ loved us, we need to love them. Then I believe not to isolate, please, please don’t isolate. That’s the tactic of the enemy. God wants us in the community. That’s why He created the body of Christ, the church, and we’re not perfect as the body. But that’s the place to be supportive, other people who understand and will walk alongside you without criticism or judgment.

About Tom:

Tom and his wife, Dena, have spent the latter part of their lives with a ministry called. “Hope for Hurting Parents. They offer all kinds of resources and small groups. They have helped so many parents that have prodigal children. Please visit their site today.

Here is the link to the ministry: https://hopeforhurtingparents.com/
Here is the link for his book: https://amzn.to/3xR5T9K

Tom has also just released his amazing book, Moments of Clarity: Wisdom from the Father of a Prodigal. In this book, he shares the moments of clarity and wisdom from God he received. At the same time, his family endured the tumultuous journey through the mental illness, addiction, and self-harming actions of a rebellious teenage daughter. Each chapter contains hard-fought moments of clarity that are like refreshing therapy sessions, providing a much-needed deluge of grace.

I pray that this helped us all see deeper into a father’s heart facing a prodigal child for many years. Tom gave us insight into his parent’s broken hearts as he watched his daughter head down a destructive path in life. Yet, God’s redemptive hand moved through him and his daughter, and victory was found.

LINKS & RESOURCES

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

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FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/LaineLawsonCraft

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https://lainelawsoncraft.com/warfare-prayers/

 

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Unsuccessful Suicide Story

Unsuccessful suicide attempts are a tough topic to talk about. We have been discussing suicide and suicidal thoughts in these last blogs and Warfare Parenting Podcast. Today, Lori Wildenberg shares her personal experience with her daughter’s unsuccessful suicide attempt.

This is Lori’s story.

Lori shared, “You know this, this is a tough topic. In the last episode, we talked about some of the signs demonstrating that perhaps the depression is getting deeper and could lead to suicide. And my daughter had some of those signs when she was younger, in middle school; she wrestled with an eating disorder. By the time she went to college, I had thought she was emotionally healthy. She started well. Then there was a lot of pressure with the particular major that she was in. It was a high-pressure major. So she had all the stress of the workload of college. She was also working a little bit, earning some extra spending money. She had some friendships that were getting somewhat difficult. All of those stressors started to keep piling on and piling on. 

Then the feelings of I would say she was feeling alone, or even feeling worthless, or perhaps feeling like she wasn’t ever really loved. All of which, I mean, if she were to stop and think about it, but your brain isn’t right when you’re going through these things, right? So she was wrestling with a lot of things and it started to get too much. When I would call her, at first, I could hear the sadness in her voice. Later, I found out that she was crying like every night. I didn’t know this. When we talked, she was four hours away, so it wasn’t like we were close. But we still had the phone, and I could hear the sadness in her voice. 

But, then I have to tell you, the scariest thing was hearing her voice void of emotion when I talked to her. That scared me. It was like my daughter would be like, I don’t care if a good thing happened to me, it doesn’t matter if a bad thing happens to me, I don’t feel anything. This was incredibly frightening. Well, after one of those calls, I got pretty scared, and I made a plan to go and see her, and I was going the next day. 

Well, the night before she attempted to take her life, she ended up telling me later. But I didn’t know that she had an unsuccessful attempt at the time. If you read my book, you’ll learn a little bit more about that. But I’d instead not get into that part of it. It is in the book because my daughter describes her own experience, and I leave that up to her. The book’s title is “Messy Hope Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression or Suicidal Ideation”. 

So when she came home with me, then the next thing was we went to the doctor. She got on a prescription to help stabilize some of the things that were going on with her and then made a plan for doing some therapy. All of those things help. Yet I think that one of the things that helped the most was graduation which was maybe six months from then. She ended up graduating from college. Then many of those triggers, the things triggering her, fell away, and she continued to get healthier and healthier, and everybody’s different. But I do know everybody needs help, and as parents, we can be a tool to provide more hope and help for our kids. God can use us in that

About two years, maybe a year and a half after her attempt, she wrote a blog about her experience and depression. She wrote it to help somebody else who may be feeling like she was, about 18 months to two years ago. The blog was a tough one to read. I almost felt like I was going to be sick, you know, to hear the things that she was thinking and the way that she even thought about herself. It was very troubling. But when I read her blog, God started to impress upon me that her blog was so important for young people to read. 

But there was another side that parents needed to be equipped. Because young people today are struggling with so many mental health things, one in four will end up with a mental health diagnosis. This is what God had; part of her healing journey was writing her blog and participating in writing messy hope with me. I have to say; I wasn’t sure about God’s plan. I was really scared about his plan because I thought, Lord, what if this because I’m asking her these questions, and she’s drawing up these past emotions? What if this puts her back into that black hole with all the layers? Right? What if this starts to heap dirt on top of her again? You know, I’m afraid to do this. And I kept checking in with her; how are you doing? Are you okay? 

Finally, at one point, when I asked her, because I was really scared, and I asked her if she was alright, she went, “You know, it’s really hard, mom, for me to relate to that person that I was then to who I am today.” Wow, there’s the victory. 

There is much more for you in this week’s Warfare parenting Podcast. Please listen here today.

You can also buy Lori’s book, which shares many applications, tools, and more. For more information, please visit her website here.

LINKS & RESOURCES

WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

SOCIAL 

FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/LaineLawsonCraft

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LaineLawsonCrft

IG: https://www.instagram.com/LaineLawsonCraft

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https://lainelawsoncraft.com/warfare-prayers/

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Keys to Prevent Suicide

Today we begin the three-part series on suicidal thoughts and suicide. Lori Wildenberg is here with me for the next three episodes, helping us understand suicide and suicidal thoughts in a greater capacity. In our next episode, Lori has her own personal story that we will hear and read about. She is the author of “Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation.” I know you will want to hear and be a part of the upcoming episodes on suicide. 

Today I  pray that you find more insight and everything you need to know about this complicated subject,  suicide, and suicidal thoughts. 

The frightening stats of the increase in suicide are hard to digest. Here are some up-to-date statistics that will help us understand more:

Teenage girl’s hospital admissions that have attempted suicide are up 50%

The second leading cause of death in this age group

Young men are more successful in taking their lives in suicide attempts

In Colorado alone, the number one cause of death in teenagers and young adults is suicide

The essential part of today’s insights is whether we know if our teen or young adult may be considering suicide or have suicidal thoughts? We can look for these warning signs:

Psychological disorders like depression or bipolar

Drug and alcohol abuse

Agitated, hopeless, irritable, worthless feelings, family history, physical or sexual abuse

Some situational influences can increase suicidal thoughts if a relationship breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend—a family who has recently gone through a divorce. We need to look deep into circumstances that could increase our teens’ anxiety, sadness, or emotional state.

One of the most significant warning signs to look for is making irrational decisions that make no sense—for example, deciding not to go back to school. If you ask yourself why they are acting like this and making this decision, an extremely irrational decision, this is a significant warning sign.

My friend Lori shares, “My youngest daughter was at college and suffered and struggled with depression. And she called me up and said that she would pack up all her stuff. She would move home, and she would commute to school, okay, commuting to school. The school was four hours away. All right now, she would have an eight-hour commute. That didn’t make any sense. She had quit her job just because it appeared to be on a whim. She impulsively quit her job, packed up her stuff, and made impulsive decisions. 

In the suicidal series episode 2, Lori shares her personal story of how her daughter had an unsuccessful suicide attempt and how they found healing.

Since Covid suicides have gone up 30%, these are frightening statistics for parents of teens and young adults. There is one essential key to knowing what your teen or young adult may be thinking.

The key to knowing our teens and young adults are free of suicidal thoughts is to ask them! And we’ve got to be asking our kids, how are you doing and specifically, How are you doing today? Ask them specifically so that they know that you’re ready for that answer. Ask them I’d like to pray for you. How can I pray? That’s another thing that could lead to more insight into their feelings, but we’ve got to start asking our kids the tough, awful question, “Have you considered taking your life?” That’s a horrible question to ask. But if you’re thinking about that, chances are pretty good that your child has already thought about it. And then they know that you’re ready to have that conversation with them, and they don’t have to protect you.

I have a passion for that question. Because if we don’t ask it, we may regret it because we feel that maybe they are thinking of it. And so I encourage everybody, if you believe your child, your teen young adult, may be thinking about suicide, ask them how you are doing today and ask the most challenging question, “Have you considered taking your life?”

I pray that this helps you as a parent today of teens and young adults learning all about suicidal thoughts.

The most important takeaway is staying connected to our teens and young adults, specifically our prodigal children. These keys will help us see warning signs and better communicate with them. 

LINKS & RESOURCES

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WEBSITE: https://www.LaineLawsonCraft.com

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DOWNLOAD FREE: Warfare Prayers – Laine Lawson Craft

SOCIAL ===============================

FACEBOOK:https://www.facebook.com/LaineLawsonCraft

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/LaineLawsonCrft

IG: https://www.instagram.com/LaineLawsonCraft

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/lainelawsoncraft

https://lainelawsoncraft.com/warfare-prayers/

About the Author:

Lori Wildenberg

LoriWildenberg.com