For Parents: 4 Ways to Lessen Your Pain on Valentine’s Day

by | Feb 14, 2024 | holidays | 5 comments

Intense pain gripped my heart when I felt rejected by my daughter.

What can a parent do when their beloved children don’t love them back in the way they long for? Aren’t our sons and daughters supposed to love, respect, and appreciate us for all we’ve done for them? How could they break our hearts like this? Their treatment makes Valentine’s Day one more day to dread as we wade through, eager to avoid reminders of the past. Is it possible to lessen our pain?

photo cred.randonsky.unsplash

When Will the Pain End?

Parents of rebellious, angry, wayward children; of the addicted, or the mentally and emotionally unstable; of the incarcerated, of those addicted to porn, or embracing a new gender identity, or of any other disheartening behavior, struggle with deep sadness. We wonder Will things always be this way? I remember what that felt like. I’ve walked a long, rough road with my daughter.

Fear and worry weigh us down. What will the next crisis be? When will it happen?

Valentine’s Day is today. Overcome with emotion, hurt and disappointment run deep. Soul-piercing pain stabs our hearts even more when we hear about our friend’s children showing them gestures of love and appreciation.

Maybe, you’re like I was. You’ve sunk to a low place where you’re unable to find pleasure in anything. Depression envelops your world. Can I smile or laugh again? Will I ever hear my child say I love you? 

You withdraw from family and friends, socializing infrequently. Every significant relationship has been affected including your marriage and with your other children (if you have others). Concentration and focus at work becomes more difficult. The need to control or fix your child consumes. They repeatedly resist your efforts, not wanting help or relationship.

Not wanting you.

Life becomes miserable. If you don’t take steps to take care of yourself, you might lose the will to live. All you want is for the pain to end.

Have you lost hope? Are you losing yourself?

If this describes you, I am so sorry. If you’re especially despondent please don’t despair. There are many resources available for you. Your child may refuse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out for help. I’ve listed a few 24/7 hotlines at the end of this blog. You can call them right now and talk to a caring person who will pray for you and point you to the resource you need. I also have a few suggestions of what you could do to lessen your suffering. They helped me.

Four Ways to Lessen Your Pain:

1. Shift your focus from what you’ve lost to what you still have.

photo cred. Jan Kahanet on unsplash

Be thankful for every little thing you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t have. Make a list. (I’ve mentioned the idea of keeping a Gratitude Journal in previous posts.). Take a close look at each item you record. Over time when you have a bad day you can pull out your list and be reminded of God’s goodness. This is great a source of encouragement. Don’t forget to live your own life. You do have one and your life still matters.

2. Lower your expectations.

When you don’t anticipate expressions of love or thoughtfulness (particularly on special occasions), you won’t feel as hurt, angry, or disappointed if you don’t receive them. Expect nothing, then if something positive happens you’ll be pleasantly surprised. By doing this, you can guard your heart.

3. Look to God for satisfaction.

God never intended for another human being to fully meet all our emotional needs. Only He can do that. Yes, we need people. We were created for relationships, however, God meant for us to look to Him alone for the deepest satisfaction of our hearts, not to our children.

4. Do something for someone else; a random act of kindness.

You don’t have to look far to find someone in need. Do something thoughtful, expecting nothing in return. As a result, you won’t feel as sorry for yourself. You’ll be amazed how showing a little kindness can lift your spirits and fill you with joy. Helping others is a natural mood lifter.

No matter how you feel, remember this:

You. Are. Loved.

photo cred. Khadeeja Yasser on unsplash


“The favorite place of God is in the hearts of His people.” – Anonymous

The Bible has a lot to say about love. These are two of my favorite verses on the subject:

God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son … (John 3:16 NIV).

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3 NIV).

Prayer: Merciful God, comfort us through one more day that reminds us of what we’ve lost. Thank you for all You’ve done for us, most of all for Your love. Grasping how much you love us and our children is difficult. Your love far exceeds our ability to comprehend. Help us stop putting high expectations on our them for what only You can give. Please satisfy us with your never-ending love. Motivate us to show kindness to someone else in need. In Your Son’s name. Amen.

Resources for you: (listed on our website)

Focus on the Family Help Center – They offer a one-time complimentary consultation from a Christian perspective. They also offer referrals for licensed  Christian counselors in your area. Call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time).

Hope for the Heart – Bringing hope and seeing changed lives for over 30 years through radio broadcasts, podcasts, biblical counseling, free downloads and other materials.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  Call 988 if you need help. Help is also available in Spanish. 24/7 including holidays

**What helps you get through days like Valentine’s Day??

*from the archives



  1. Annie

    I can’t stop helping my adult son because he is mentally unstable. If I stop paying his bills he will end up homeless and in a bigger mess. He is 1.5 years sober from alcohol but uses cannabsis for anxiety. I live 1500 miles from him too. HELP Lord!

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      I’m so sorry, Annie. That does complicate things. You have to do what you feel you need to do. Only God can show you what that is. How great that he is sober for that long. I pray it continues and that you are able to surrender him into God’s hands. Being so far away is hard too. Although sometimes it’s easier not knowing everything that’s going on.
      Warmly in Christ, Dena.

  2. K

    I needed this today. My son has been struggling for years and just when things start to get better for him, something else happens and down he goes. I’m really learning to trust God. I have no other choice . Please pray for us on this long journey

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      I’m so glad something in the post helped you, “K”. That’s a hard roller coaster to be on. Learning to trust God is the best thing we can do for ourselves and for our children. You’re so right, we really have no other choice … if we want to preserve our sanity anyway. Praying for you and your family as I type this. Lord, please give this family the endurance and perseverance they need for the long journey they’re on. Show them how to trust You more and more. Help this son get on a better, healthier path and stay there. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

  3. Lauren

    It’s such a Comfort to read these Words and suggestions on getting thru these dark times. Of my 2 adult children, only one will talk to me/wants a relationship. It’s so painful at times and I do isolate a lot. It’s not something I can talk to others about (pain is too deep) as you had mentioned above. I have to give it to God 24/7 in my waking hours.