I have a Black Sheep among my children. On the outside she is the most financially successful of all the children, but on the inside she owns a great degree of turmoil. I’ve always said, typically, when kids are screwed up, look to the parents, for they made them that way.
I see the mistakes I made with her and take full responsibility…UGH! Raising her in a strict religious home, hoping to keep her “from evil,” I moved her right into its path.
The first thing I did to straighten out the mess I had created, was to tell her,
“Honey, I SCREWED UP. I should have let you have other friends, I shouldn’t have told you that our religion was the only way and everyone else was going to hell. I shouldn’t have slapped you in the face and proceeded to tell you why you weren’t good enough” (yes, I did that).
She told me it was all right, and that she forgave me. I knew she meant it, just as I had meant it. I also knew that I had created, grown, fertilized, and watered difficulties for many years to come.
The second thing I did was CHANGE MY THINKING. Obviously my thinking was wrong, so my acting was wrong. I decided no more religion (only love) and no more corporal punishment. I read books and educated myself on other types of parenting methods.
The third thing I did was become a CHEERLEADER. I let her know, I am truly on her side. With no more pain, blame, or shame I was left with only kindness, acceptance and encouragement.
SLOWING DOWN, “my busy, too much to do, always in a hurry, important life” is KEY to restoration. I made it a point to LISTEN TO HER. JUST S I M P L Y LISTEN, and with nothing on my lips but encouragement! What if there is nothing to encourage her about?! Glad you asked, you can ALWAYS FIND A PIECE OF GOOD IN EVERY SITUATION.
I continue to focus on the good, find the positive, and point out right choices she has made that serve her in a more prosperous life spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
I make it a point to touch her everyday...a hug, a little smack on the butt, or a kiss on the cheek. Our children are desirous of affection from us! The growth that occurs from this physical affection is very evident in their behavior! All my teenagers will still kiss and hug me in public, not like they used to when they were young, but they have no problem showing me affection if I go in for a public kiss or hug.
My Black Sheep is not so black anymore, as the years go by she lightens up a tad. I am more than confident that someday she will lighten up to a “dirty blond” at minimum!