Healing for the Unspeakable
Thu, 08 Oct 2009 - 3:49 PM CST
Discovering that your teen has been abused can be a parent's worse nightmare when brought to the forefront of reality. Even worse is the knowledge that the child you love so dearly has kept a secret locked behind a private and painful wall of self-imposed humiliation. Upon discovery of this unspeakable horror, which is all too common in families across America, a parent's first reaction is one of rage, coupled with much confusion.
Statistics now show that three out of every four children who are abused during their adolescent years are victims of either family members or close friends of the family. The effects of this statistic brings with it the chaos of emotions for families to deal with during a time when all love and focus should go to the abused child. Even though it is hard to comprehend, often parents and/or guardians of children who have been abused or molested by someone within the family will struggle with the question, "who do I believe?"
This is a common bridge that must be crossed emotionally before true help and healing can come to the child in question. Even if for a brief moment, it is sometimes hard to imagine that Uncle John, or Cousin David could do such a thing. "After all, he's a church elder or possibly the valedictorian of his graduating class. There must be more to the story," becomes the whirling storm of thoughts as a parent struggles to make sense of what has happened to their child, while remaining totally invisible to the parent.
The best thing you can do when this unspeakable horror becomes your reality is to cover your teen with the immediate and healing assurance that for you, there is only one side to the story. The focus should always be on the side of the child. Adults are more than able to defend and speak for themselves. If not, they have the resources to hire attorneys and manipulate the popular opinion of their adult peers.
Next, it is extremely important to assure your teen that they have done nothing wrong. Even though you may discover that the molestation of a child has happened over a period of years undetected, this can often result in the child becoming a willing participant either out of fear or a false belief that the situation is simply the cards they have been dealt. Whatever the case, you must completely assure the child that there is no shame belonging to him or her. What has occurred is in no way his or her fault.
It is important to engage in open dialogue with your child that may have otherwise been absent from the structure of your family. Without pushing the door open to the secret room where these secrets have been protected, a gentle and loving nudge can slowly allow the child to realize that, in your presence, there is nothing that cannot be spoken. Remember, abused children have probably been violated by someone they should have been able to trust the most; therefore, it causes the ultimate betrayal. The first capacity an abused child loses is the ability to freely trust. It will take much time, and constant love, for this treasured youthful quality to return.
It is also extremely important for you to seek professional counseling from someone who is specifically trained in dealing with the confusion of emotions surrounding abused and molested children. This trained professional will have insight and offer guidance to your family that goes beyond the scope of your expertise. They can also bring a healing calm and focus for the entire family regarding how to proceed toward complete restoration for your child and the family.
Last, but certainly not least, ask God to guide you in how to love your child back to a normal reality, even when your inclination will be to overcompensate or over protect out of your own false feelings of guilt regarding what you feel is something you have allowed to happen. This is not a time to collapse under your own prison of self-imposed blame. Your full energy, love and prayers must focus on the one who has endured the betrayal of abuse in silence.
Having survived childhood secrets too horrible to ever put in print, I can tell you that the presence of the Father's love and your prayers bring to the situation you are now facing: "Healing For The Unspeakable."
Copyright 2009 Danny Wallace Ministries.
Danny Wallace, CEO of Danny Wallace Ministries, Inc., of Atlanta, GA, is an author, songwriter and evangelistic speaker, considered by many to be a leading authority regarding childhood abuse, and the truth surrounding homosexuality within the church today. To learn more about his ministry, visit Danny @ DannyWallace.org.
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