HELP! MY CHILDREN ARE RUINING MY MARRIAGE.

A FEWS WEEKS AGO, I COUNSELED TWO TEENAGERS (UNDER THE AGE OF 16) WITH SIX SUICIDE ATTEMPTS BETWEEN THEM.

Their parents were desperate to get help. These kids were suffering from severe mental health issues but the toll of their behavior on their parents\’ relationship was equally devastating.

According to a recent New York Times article, nearly 6 million children living in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders or psychiatric issues. Couples coping with these children experience strained relationships that can range from frustration to divorce (Denise Wang, www.livestrong.com).

So what should parents do when their relationship is falling apart because of a child who is suffering from physical or mental illness, or chooses to use illegal drugs, or gets entangled with the legal system. The Bible tells us to…“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (PROVERBS 22:6).

But what happens when the “training” derails?

Here are some helpful tips:
1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE STRESS—Talk with your spouse about the impact your child\’s behavior is having on your relationship. Break the silence and discuss ways to eliminate the stress.

2. GET HELP—Get counseling for the entire family. In many instances, your children are crying out for help. Their behavior is seen as volatile, self-destructive, immoral and defiant. However, many times that child is wrestling with mental health is- sues and needs the help of a professional.

3. BECOME MORE UNITED—Communicate, agree and work together. Don\’t play the “blame game.” Parents who are not on the same ‘page\’ when it comes to disciplining or addressing the needs of a troubled or special child often experience marital strain.

Gospel Today Columnist
Lisa M. Tait, M.A., M.Div., D.Min.,
Serves as an Adjunct Professor at the ITC, a pastoral counselor and co-host of Relationship Thursday on Praise 102.5 FM (Radio One). She is author of
Women of Destiny: Five Principles For Pursuing Your Purpose in God. Visit her at www.drtait.com

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