Screaming for Help
"The Lord is near to all who call on him; to all who call on him in truth."1
A troubled mother writes, "My nine-year-old daughter, Jeanie (not her real name), has had a sudden, major change of behavior from being a well-behaved child to one who has become very rebellious. She now criticizes so many of my and my husband's activities. We agreed to change some routines in order to give in to what she wants. We canceled her school bus since she doesn't want to ride in it anymore as she prefers to go home alone. It is risky but we have to give in. Then came more demands, constantly calling both her father and me at our workplaces, saying that she doesn't want to be in our place because it is boring, is always crying, talking back to us, and banging on things."
Dear mother of Jeanie … it is good that you have reached out for help. This is the beginning point for resolving all problems. Like adults who scream, it seems that your Jeannie is "screaming for help" and her change of behavior is the only way she knows how to deal with what is bothering her. However, it is important that you don't give in to any unreasonable demands and allow her to control you, as this will only make matters worse. She is obviously deeply troubled about something and may not even recognize what it is, or know how to or is afraid to tell you. In your exasperation try not to lose your cool and lash out and hurt her, otherwise she may close down even more.
Jeannie may have been molested by someone, is experimenting with drugs, or may feel you are too busy for her, or any of a number of things.
You urgently need to see a qualified professional counselor. As expensive as it is, you really can't afford not to get help even if you have to take out a loan. Your daughter is deeply troubled and it won't resolve itself. If she represses or hides her problem, it will come out later and cause far greater problems. Because Jeannie is your daughter, it is not just her problem—it is a family problem. (See footnote for help.)
I also encourage you to be ruthlessly honest and open with God, and be willing to look at anything that you and your husband might be contributing to this situation. Ask God to show you this—and then help you to see and understand your daughter's problem—and to lead you to the help your family urgently needs.
Be assured that God wants to heal your daughter and your family problem; so be totally open and honest with him. Remember today's Scripture: "The Lord is near to all who call on him—to all who call on him in truth."
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, in all my conflicts please help me to see first of all what I may be contributing to the situation, then give me the wisdom to know what to do and the courage to do it, whatever it is. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).
Note: For a Christian counselor in your area, if you live in North America call the Narramore Christian Foundation today at 1-800-477-5893, press "1" and the secretary will be able to give you the name/s of a fine Christian counselor/s in your area.