I didn’t see what was really going on…

For me, my son deciding to do his own thing changed the way I parented him. I looked at him saying, ‘you’re doing what you want, so I’ll let you do what you want,’ and in my heart I shielded myself. I decided I’m gonna turn my heart off because it hurts. I’m going to separate a little bit so it doesn’t hurt so much. In doing that, I didn’t recognize some of the signs of his increasing depression.

My heart softened when I realized that we weren’t dealing any longer with just wanting to be independent. It did take me a while because at first, I was thinking, ‘you’re doing your own thing’ or ‘this is the consequence of your choices’. I was impatient to see certain things happening; I want you to grow in this way, I want to see relationships come to life. But my mama bear kicked in and said: “forget shielding myself, I gotta get in there and take care of him.”

I felt helpless watching him go from little to extreme suffering, even with good counsel and care. Walking with him despite feeling like nothing that I’m doing is helping or working felt hopeless. I wondered ‘how will this end’? I had all these questions: how did it happen, was it my fault, could I have done something differently? I was on my knees, just begging God, saying You are the only way. Sometimes you just don’t have an answer.

If you feel helpless and unsure, you are not alone. Many parents want to help their kids thrive, but don’t know how.

The Strangest Thing Conference is more than just a seminar; it is a chance to better equip men and women to help kids navigate through the pain of this life through understanding and better strategies for healing.