and cried. Somewhere along the way I internalized a false belief
that reaching out for help in the area of mental and emotional
health is a type of weakness or failure. How misguided I was.
The truth is that getting help was a huge relief. We needed it.
Things were happening that we didn’t have the tools to
address, and our children and family would suffer if I let my
pride stand in the way of reaching out for assistance.
The therapist who helped our son once gently brought
up to me my own role in our family dynamic, but I wasn’t ready
to hear or accept this reality. It would come, but not yet. This
counselor asked me if I made it a point to offer praise and
encouragement to my boy. The honest answer was “rarely.”
Despite an overall discomfort with Dr. James Dobson’s
parenting advice, one helpful idea that I heard from him is that
for every negative or corrective interaction we have with our
children, we should have five positive or encouraging
exchanges. I was extremely out of balance on this scale. Many
of the mother and son exchanges in our home were corrective
or critical. It took a conscious effort for me to listen to the
words flying out of my mouth toward the tender hearts in my
care to see this imbalance. I began to take baby steps toward a
I continued to read authors that agreed with and
defended the conservative Christian parenting paradigm until
one day I read a book called “Grace Based Parenting.”5 There
was something deep in my soul that resonated with this text.