Homeschool Benefit: You Hear Your Kids

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She's pretty and popular. Wavy brown hair dances at her shoulders. She carries an affecting, infecting, impish grin. It's no wonder boys like her. And her parents just discovered the scars on her arms.

Whether out shock or grief or ignorance, her parents refused to believe they had been blind to her cutting. "My dad even went so far as I ask when I'd joined the occult," she told me. Her eyes filled with tears. "And I'd been doing so well recently."

Her parents know their daughter has been "on the fringe" for a while now. But they have no idea how far down the rabbit hole their girl has fallen. Her mom once called me to ask about a situation where her daughter had lied through omitting key details about her plans. So, this girl has not helped her parents trust her. But because she's in school and works late hours and has conversations long into the night on her cellphone, her parents are out of the loop.

They are now trying to fix that.

I don't know how that's going, but I'm guessing it's been bumpy. How do you reconnect with a child you've abandoned to the world? How do you catch up on where she is emotionally if you can't bring yourself to trust what she says? How do you get her to open up to you when she feels betrayed, insulted, rejected, and interrogated? I don't know. Being a parent is hard enough. I can't imagine trying to overcome all that too.

But I know this: Homeschooling gives us opportunities to hear our kids. As you discuss the literature you're reading together, as you work through areas where your children struggle, as you are involved in their daily lives, you can get a pretty clear picture of how your child is doing.

Please, take advantage of this benefit! Talk with your children. Listen to them. Lay a foundation today so that you can hear your children when they encounter difficulties tomorrow.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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3 Comments

  1. If she's in school and also working "late hours," I'd have to assume that this "child" is very nearly grown up. I don't imagine the parents have "abandoned her to the world" more than simply thought things were going a lot better than they were, and wanted to let her become more independent as she transitioned to adulthood.

    Our struggle has been with a teen with severe mental illness. We could be the most fundie frumper-wearing control freak homeschoolers on the planet and still have to handle some very bad situations. It isn't always the environment, and sometimes actually the best environment is a lockdown hospital to ensure safety for all concerned. Hardly a godly and nurturing place, but sometimes the only place that can help. Which means that's God's best for you right now (which can be difficult to contemplate).

    No one really wants to understand that, so I can't say I particularly blame you for not having a handle on the complexities of harrowing situations. :)

    I guess having been through what we have, I know there is often more to it than even the parents or the young woman herself could possibly articulate. So I will be praying for them on their journey to wholeness. What I love about this post, though, is the lack of judgmental scorn in your descriptions. I know you care, even if you do not really understand.

  2. Great points, Mrs. C. I would say that while this child comes across very grownup, the impression of maturity is based mostly in too much "life experience" for one so young. But that's only my impression of this particular minor. An impression that, you rightly note, is based on very little information since I'm little more than an observer given glimpses now and again from only one side. So, I couldn't begin to comment on why these parents let their daughter do these things. But, from the pieces I've gathered, it hasn't been good for her.

    My intention--however poorly executed--was to note the girl's state she is now in and the disconnect between her and her mom and dad. I was not trying to imply that her parents purposefully released her to malicious forces. I could be completely wrong: She may have "run away" despite/because of their efforts to keep her near. Thanks for calling me out on that.

    And thank you for praying for this family.

    ~Luke

  3. Pingback: From Luke’s Inbox: Teen Depression and Suicide | Sonlight Blog