Prayer Request

A reader writes:

Please pray for my 16 year old daughter, who was caught smoking pot and possibly sleeping with a boy. She is narcissistic and defiant, and most likely has borderline personality disorder. Pray for her healing and turning to the right path. Please also pray that we will make the right decisions in disciplining her. God bless you for your prayers!

Father, hear our prayer that this girl would be granted the grace of the revelation of your love for her through Jesus Christ and come to peace and healing through his grace. Give her parents wisdom and love so that they might bring her through this turbulent time. Mother Mary and St. Joseph, pray for them. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen!

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  • I’m disturbed at seeing a parent call his or her troubled, perhaps mentally ill teenager “narcissistic.” Prayers indeed for the girl and her parents.

    • Paul

      Amen Dawn.

      I have had a very similar situation in my own life. My child’s acting out behavior was related to issues in my own life as well as stressful family circumstances.

      This is not to say that children should not be held accountable for their own actions – just be careful where you point that laser.

      In the end, I have discovered that I am the one who required more work, more ‘discipline’ if you will, than my child. I am still struggling today with my problems, but I also have the peace that comes from no longer being in denial.

  • Peggy R

    Wayward teens are such heart-ache for parents. St. Monica, St. Augustine, pray for these parents and their daughter. Practically speaking, one might consider a drug treatment center, some place safe.

    • Peggy R

      I want to qualify, as I thought overnight, that generally professional help is a good idea in this situation. There may be a larger family dynamic problem, or the child may have a drug problem or mental illness, as others have noted. Before sending one’s child to strangers, due diligence is required. Make sure the parents can trust the place and the people. Get reviews of the facility. If drugs or alcohol seem to be the primary problem, a support group such as Al-Anon, especially a parent’s meeting, can be very helpful. They don’t have to do anything drastic right away, I don’t think. The parents will get much comfort and understanding from a support group that will help them go forward.

      My parents raised a couple of particularly wayward kids among us. As teens of the 50s, they (parents) were not prepared for the post-60s culture that told their children they could do whatever they wanted and that parents weren’t to be respected. Those were very heartbreaking and destructive years for all of us in the family.

      Again, I invoke St. Monica and St. Augustine to pray for these parents and their child. I also ask the Holy Family to pray for them.

  • Cindy

    @ Dawn–The term narcissitic is actually a diagnostic term used in mental health fields. I do not believe that this mother is using it in a derogatory fashion. And yes, prayers are needed for both the teenager and the parent. The stress of raising a mentally ill child is overwhelming. Court dates, medication changes, constant trips to doctors, pyschiatrists, therapists etc, are very taxing. One of the most difficult problems for those of us who have a mentally ill teenager is those who look in from the outside and see a beautiful, 16 y.o girl who appears to have nothing “physically”wrong, but whose mind is raging on the inside. My child has never received empathy or compassion from her peers or their parents (and this from a Catholic High School) only jeers, bullying and parents who place judgement on her behavior and our parenting skills. I do know that God loves all mentally disturbed teens as much as the cheerleader, homecoming queen or National Honor Society inductee. My beatiful teen, was once a pre-born baby whose mother chose not to abort her, but chose to continue to do drugs and alcohol throughout her pregnancy because she too had a mental illness. God honored me with the privilege of becoming her adoptive mother. St. Dymphna pray for all those with mental illness, for their parents and for those who do not understand the burdens of this horrible disease. Our Lady of Guadalupe, continue to save our beautiful children from abortion, and give strength to the “parenting”parents to raise them.

  • Laura Kazlas

    This sounds just like our daughter when she was a teenager and a doctor even tried to label her “borderline personality disorder”. Borderline personality disorder is too easy of a label to put on a rebellious teenager. We finally found a good psychiatrist who correctly diagnosed her with bipolar disorder and we worked on our relationship with our daughter. We found a good counselor for our daughter and we also attended some of the sessions with her. She went to counseling for 6-9 months and was successfully treated for bipolar disorder. It took several years to turn things around but she is 24 now and a writer and editor for a website and will even be responsible for covering the news for the Superbowl this year. She is also a full time college student and supports herself now. She’s come a long way. We all have.

    May I make a suggestion? Stop the negativity. It’s a vicious circle. It only escalates.

    But, don’t cave in. Provide a clear consequence for bad behavior. Don’t rescue her from the consequences of her own actions. The pendulum can swing too far in either direction and that’s when problems set in. If a child only gets negative feedback and feels they aren’t loved, they certainly will rebel. Things seemed to improve greatly when we found the balance between love and discipline.

    It is a good thing, to find something a child has a genuine interest in and focus their attention on that. New interests, new skills and a new environment seemed to help our daughter. It takes a lot of time and effort to turn things around and the path isn’t always clear, but prayer was, and continues to be, a lifeline for the whole family.

    Our daughter still has bipolar disorder and she never will be perfect or live perfectly up to our expectations, but it doesn’t matter anymore. We love her anyway. She has become the light of our lives now.

    I will remember this family in my prayers this week. I would just encourage them to pray and seek God’s guidance and be open to advice from a good, christian counselor too.

    May God bless them, strengthen their family, and keep them together in this trying time.

  • Elaine T

    Our daughter is mentally ill (bipolar) and I’m on a mailing list support group for parents of kids like that. The behavior COULD be typical teen rebellion, or it could be mental health issues and self-medicating. An awful lot of the stories on the mailing list involve the same sorts of behavior described here. Don’t reject the possibility out of hand. One thing I had to learn in dealing with her is that she can’t help herself when her brain is misfiring. Discipline doesn’t work; reason doesn’t work. The person cannot respond appropriately because their brain isn’t working right. If your situation starts to look like that, seek a good psychiatrist.

    It’s also easy to be so close to the problem you can’t spot it. It was my husband who realized our girl needed medicine six years ago. I was with her all day every day and couldn’t see it. He went to work 5 days a week so had enough distance to see her state more accurately. (Then last summer I was going through medical records we’d collected and discovered her old/retired pediatrician had made notes that he thought she was bipolar when she was about 5 years old. )

    And ‘narcissistic’ is a medical term. Often misused in common speech, but I took the reader’s use of it to be the technical form.

    If you do wind up seeking psychiatric help, don’t trust them inordinately. We interviewed quite a few before finding one who would work. An awful lot have a tendency to try to fit the patient into whatever the psychiatrist is comfortable dealing with, irregardless of the actual symptoms. And just as many don’t know the recommended medications for whatever the probable problem is anyway.
    It’s depressing.

    I will pray for you and your family.

    If you want to hook up with the support group I mentioned it’s part of
    Lots of good information there.

    Finally, yes, Cindy,we too, had a lousy experience with our girl and her Catholic school, including her last teacher and the principal. They weren’t capable of handling the problem, but some compassion for the eight year old our girl was at the time, would have been welcome. I try to remember to pray for them all especially to do better if such issues come around again. And to pray for the ability to forgive them for their ‘don’t let the door hit you on the way out’ attitude.

    • Cindy

      yes, the balanced mind foundation is a great organization. I am very familiar with it as my youngest is bipolar, her next oldest sister was diagnosed cyclothymic. It’s a tough road for these kids us as parents. I am eternally grateful for organizations such as the Balanced Mind that provide resources to parents, educators and clinicians. They have some very good webinars archived as well. Hypersexuality and drug abuse are very common denominators in the bi-polar patient, and it is very difficult as devout Catholics to parent a child who constantly makes bad choices. But as I said before, all children are a gift from God, and we are given the privilege of parenting them by our heavenly father.

      May God bless you in your journey and may St. Dymphma intercede for all our mentally ill children.