How Can Parents in Pain Correct Stinking Thinking?

by | Jul 20, 2021 | what you can do | 2 comments

photo cred. unsplash

Are you a parent who suffers from stinking thinking? Do you beat yourself up believing you must have done a terrible job because of how your child turned out? They abuse substances, have a mental illness, self-injure, disrespect authority, are incarcerated, desire a same-sex partner, etc.

Dear friend, we live in a broken world where dreams shatter. More than likely, your child’s behaviors and choices are a result of something that occurred to them when they were young. Take a moment to recall the worst thing that happened to them before they were a teenager. Whatever that is, it’s probably nothing you did.

Please be easy on yourself. Even if you raised them right—you didn’t raise a robot. They had a free will to make their own choices. You couldn’t protect them from everything in this corrupted world.

What can you do now? You can use the Scriptures to change your stinking thinking into right thinking. You can replace lies with truth. What truth? Biblical truth from God’s eternal, infallible, irrefutable Word.

These are a few of the lies I believed and the Bible verses that helped me correct my beliefs:

The Lies and the Truth

Lie: I’m not smart enough to get through this.

Truth: Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding, In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6 AMPC).

Lie: I’m all alone. I have to do this by myself.

Truth: And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20 HCSB).

Lie: I can’t bear all this pain. It’s too much for me.

photo cred. Newspring Church

Truth: My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

Lie: I never expected __________. I thought if I did everything right, my child wouldn’t _________.

Truth: In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33 NIV). 

Lie:  I must have done something wrong. This is all my fault.

Truth: What more could I have done for my vineyard that I have not already done? When I expected sweet grapes, why did my vineyard give me bitter grapes? (Isaiah 5:4  NLT)

Lie: There’s no hope. All is lost.

Truth: As for me, I will always have hope (Psalm 71:14 NIV).

Lie: I’m terrified of what might happen. I can’t cope. I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.

Truth: But now, this is what the Lord says . . . Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you . . . Do not be afraid, for I am with you (Isaiah 43:5b  NIV).

Lie: I’m not strong enough to carry this burden.

Truth: The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace (Psalm 29:11 NIV).

Lie: No one understands.

Truth: . . . the Spirit helps us in our weakness . . . intercedes for us through wordless groans . . . intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romams 8:26-27 NIV).

Lie: I’ll never be the same.

Truth: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1: 3-, NIV).

photo cred. pexels

Prayer: Dear God, please help us recognize the lies we erroneously believe and replace them with solid truths we can stand on. Change our stinking thinking into right thinking. May Your holy words comfort, heal and strengthen us. In the name of Jesus, the Word made flesh. Amen.

*This content was taken from my book, You Are Not Alone: Hope for Hurting Parents of Troubled Kids. You can purchase a copy from our website.

*If you need regular encouragement for your difficult parenting journey, click here to sign up for my FREE email subscription.  Be sure to choose how often you’d like to receive them. Unsubscribe anytime.


  1. A

    This arrived in my news feed tonight and was well needed. My child is not the troubled teen or young adult. He is a little boy we adopted out of trauma, neglect, abuse etc. He has chronic lying & sneaking unlike anything I have seen ( we have 4 older children and have taught & cared for countless others). He rarely shows remorse and tries to justify most of it. He is almost 9, though emotionally he is younger (intellectually seems on chronological age ) He has seen therapists ineffectively from age 3 1\2 to 6 1\2 . We pray for him, have prayed over him. He very loving but the lying & sneaking is so bad and potentially dangerous if it weren’t for the grace of God and the security measures (motion detection, etc) i am beaten , worn down and feel like a failure. I know he’s just a little guy with alot of baggage (that he doesn’t even know and what he does he doesn’t really comprehend) and I feel like an even worse mom for knowing all this and still getting upset with the lying etc. I dont want him to be limited by his past but rather an overcomer. I can’t fix what is broken and it seems like love isn’t enough.

    • Tom and Dena Yohe

      I’m so sorry for the challenges you’ve been dealing with, A. I know you know this is your head, but maybe you need to hear it again: you are not a bad mom. You’re doing your best and you’re wonderful. You are giving this little boy a second chance, showing him what love looks like. It’s understandable how you would be worn and weary; how hard it would be not to get upset with the lying and sneaking around, even though you know what has caused it. We’ve had adoptive parents in our support group over the years with similar situations (their children were teens by then), so I’m somewhat familiar with these unique challenges.

      Have you heard of the ministry called Confessions of an Adoptive Parent? If not, I think you would find them very helpful. These parents have been through many hardships with their adopted children. They have walked in your shoes and they’re helping others like you on a similar, difficult journey. They have a wonderful blog, wrote a book, do a lot of speaking around the country, and have a podcast.

      I also hope you’ll sign up for my daily encouraging emails. You can choose how often you would like to receive them: one, three or five days a week. Unsubscribe anytime.

      Please be comforted to know you are not alone. Hang on to God and His Word. He gave you this child for a reason and is using him in your life as much as (maybe more) than He is using you in his. It’s amazing how He works like that.

      “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long…and everyday have sorrow in my heart?…Give light to my eyes (give me hope)…BUT I trust in your unfailing love…I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (Ps. 13:1, 3, 5).

      His “good” may not look like you expected, but keep trusting. He’s got you and He won’t ever leave you.

      Warmly in Christ, Dena