A licensed professional counselor--and mother of two teenagers herself--offers this third book in her Hand-in-Hand series, targeting mothers who want to protect their daughters from the dangers of drug and alcohol use. This guide helps mothers to connect with and influence their daughters.
1. Chapter 1
A Call to Courage
Suddenly all of the statistics and stories come home — literally. Even if your daughter does not smoke, drink, or use drugs, many of her friends do, and that means she is impacted by substance use.
As you read the statistics and stories about substance use, what are you most afraid of? Why?
2. Have you believed that substance abuse is something that happens to other people? What makes you and your family immune? What makes you vulnerable?
3. One thing is certain: Help for girls who abuse substances is found among women who understand the unique female vulnerability to drugs and alcohol and who live authentically powerful lives that model how to say no to the overwhelming peer pressure teens face.
Do you trust yourself in mothering a girl facing peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol? Why? Why not?
4. How would a change in perspective — believing you are the perfect mother for your daughter — change your mothering?
What makes you and your daughter a “good match” for one another?
What makes you feel like you are not a good match?
5. Hand-in-hand mothering is simply a willingness to learn as many ways as you can of responding to your daughter out of a heart filled with limitless love for her.
Talk about your willingness to learn and grow as a mother. What kind of mother do you long to be?
Share some of your hearts longings for your daughter. Ask another mother to pray for you specifically with regard to one of your longings.
6. Do you see mothering in the midst of peer pressure a holy calling?
How have you viewed mothering? Calling? Duty? Burden? Privilege?
How did your mother view mothering?
How do the people in your sphere of influence view mothering?
What would change in your heart if you viewed mothering in the midst of the unique challenges of adolescence as a holy calling?
7. How does your view of the teenage challenges of peer pressure impact your mothering?
8. Chapter 2
Becoming Your Daughters Ally
However you characterize your mothering, one helpful way to evaluate it is to notice where you place yourself in relationships to your daughter.
After reading about the mothering styles from above, beneath, at a distance, and hovering, what do you think is your primary mothering style?
Share some of your favorite motherisms.
What do you like about your style of mothering?
What would you like to change?
9. Do challenges with regard to drugs and alcohol use change your mothering style?
10. But dont forget the final resting place for the hand-in-hand mom is in your relationship with God.
Do you believe that God stands above you, judging and condemning you? How might this perspective affect your mothering?
11. Do you believe that God is beneath you, unable to help in the overwhelming problems of your life? How might this belief influence your mothering?
12. Do you believe that God is distant — unmoved by your needs and struggles? How might this belief translate into your mothering?
13. Do you believe that God is hovering to immediately undo our misdeeds or take over? How might this perspective of God influence your mothering?
14. Chapter 3
You, Your Daughter, and the Peer-Pressure Cooker
Peer pressure is a power that overrides family values, disregards legal consequences, and pulls at every teenager in America.
How does the power of peer influence make you feel? Afraid? Angry? Hopeless? Why?
15. How do you feel you compare to your daughters peers? What could make your influence more attractive? More powerful?
16. Girls are especially susceptible to peer pressure.
What have been some of your daughters response to peer pressure?
What have been some of yours?
How did you respond to your daughters behaviors?
How did she respond to your response?
17. The longing to be cool and the willingness to drink or use drugs to obtain cool status reveal a need to be special.
What response does the previous sentence provoke in you?
Talk about ways at different ages that your daughter has demonstrated a need to be special.
Brainstorm about some ways that you can offer your daughter affirmation and support that tells her that you think shes special.
18. Adolescents use drugs and alcohol for a number of complex reasons, but there is one reason that permeates them all: Teenagers want to belong.
What are some ways that your daughter has tried to belong?
What are some ways that you have tried to belong?
19. Talk about some ways that you can offer an open heart, mind, and home to your daughter?
Pray together that you will be able to give these important gifts of belonging to your daughters and that they will receive them.
20. Of all the factors related to peer pressure, the most powerful one is the hunger to feel okay with oneself.
What contributes to your daughters self-esteem? What diminishes it?
What contributes to your self-esteem? What diminishes it?
21. Have you believed that others were responsible for your self-esteem?
What is your response to the idea that you have to give self-esteem to yourself?
22. How can you help your daughter look for and develop her own self-esteem?
23. Chapter 4
Entering Your Daughters World
Moments of truth — you might not feel brave, but ignorance will certainly not give you greater courage. Once you are not afraid to know what is going on, you will be ready to look at why its going on.
How have you been afraid or ignorant of the adolescent culture and the pressure to use drugs and alcohol?
How has your daughter been impacted by your perspective?
24. Confronting the truth about drugs and alcohol in the adolescent world and cultivating compassion for the meaning behind the substance use is a powerful combination of truth and empathy.
Talk about your response to the previous sentence.
What has kept you from being compassionate toward teenagers? Toward your daughter?
How do you respond to people who are not empathetic with you? How do you respond to people who empathize with you?
25. A mother who wants to be her daughters ally in confronting and overcoming the temptations to use alcohol and drugs must be willing to hang in there.
What tempts you to give up on your daughter?
What inspires you to hang in there?
26. Talk about ways that you can encourage one another when the going gets tough.
27. Do you believe that your daughter needs you to confront and overcome peer pressure? Why? Why not?
28. How can you demonstrate your commitment to your daughter — no matter what?
29. Rather than throwing our hands up in despair over the power of peer pressure or locking your daughter in her room until she turns twenty-one, you can respond to the reality of peer influence in ways that can strengthen your relationship with your daughter rather than tear it apart.
Do you take your daughters bond with her peers personally?
If so, how can you check yourself and stop doing this?
Share some of the positive peer influences youve seen in your daughters life.
If there are none, how could you help her to meet more positive peers?
How have your daughters peers influenced her attitude about substance use?
Is there any way you can direct that influence — positive or negative — for your daughters good?
30. Chapter 5
“Mom, Its No Big Deal!”
I prayed that God would enliven my heart and soul to know — really know — why it is such a big deal for our children to use drugs and alcohol.
Have you ever been confronted with the question, “Mom, why are you making such a big deal out of this?” What was your response? How did your daughter receive your answer?
31. Why do you think its a big deal for your daughter to try/use drugs and alcohol?
32. Using drugs and alcohol is a big deal because it kills faith.
When your daughter was a little girl, what were her dreams for herself and her life?
What has altered those dream? Why?
33. What has diminished your faith in your daughter?
How does your faith/lack of faith impact her?
34. How can you help your daughter recapture faith for herself and her life?
35. Using drugs and alcohol is a big deal because it distorts hope.
Hope is what pulls us forward. What is your hope?
What is your hope for your daughter? How do you communicate this to her?
36. When you are disappointed, stressed, or hurting, where do you turn for hope?
When your daughter is disappointed, stressed, or hurting, where does she turn?
37. How can you communicate your hope in God to your daughter?
Pray together that you will be hopeful mothers, trusting in the God of all Hope.
38. Using drugs and alcohol is a big deal because it limits love.
Why do you think using drugs and alcohol is a big deal to God?
Read the quotation from my pastor on pages 99-100. What is your response to his answer is to why sin is a big deal to God?
39. Has your sin ever hurt your relationship with God? How? What restored the relationship?
How could this give and take love relationship with God influence your mothering?
40. Do not allow the Enemy to win twice in this war on drugs and alcohol. Do not let the Enemy of love keep you from giving love to your daughter, no matter how far she has wandered.
How is the Enemy tempting you to withhold from your daughter?
Pray together that you will be able to give love to your daughters — no matter what.
41. Chapter 6
“Mom, Im Only Smoking Cigarettes!”
Helping our daughters develop a positive body image and using the mother-daughter alliance to come up with healthy strategies for weight control can help our daughters stay away from smoking.
What is your body image? What has contributed to the development of your body image?
What do you think is your daughters body image? What influences her?
42. The truth is that many parents have given up on being any sort of an ally for their smoking teenagers.
Have you given up in this battle? Why? Why not?
43. What makes this a battle worth fighting?
44. So how do we get from here to there — from freaking out over cigarettes to setting our daughters free to love and be loved?
Are you embarrassed at the thought of your daughter smoking? Why?
How does your shame influence her?
45. Have you been courageous in asking your daughter about the temptation to smoke? Why? Why not?
Pray together that God will increase your courage.
46. Brainstorm about creative conversation-starters about the subject of smoking.
47. How curious are you about why your daughter is or isnt tempted to smoke? What hinders your curiosity?
48. When you see smoking teenagers, are you compassionate? Why? Why not?
49. Read Cathys letter on page 121. What is your response?
Consider writing a similar letter to your daughter. Read your letters to one another in the group.
50. If your daughter smokes, the best thing you can do is to quit smoking yourself.
Have you tried to quit smoking? Talk about the difficulties of quitting.
Brainstorm about ways that the group can help you.
Ask another mother to pray for you with regard to this change.
51. Chapter 7
“Mom, Its Just a Beer or Two!”
Many girls develop a relationship with alcohol.
What is your response to the above statements?
Have you ever felt like you had a relationship with a substance, behavior, or experience?
52. How can you connect your story/experience to your daughters?
53. Tell your stories to one another and brainstorm together about how your experiences can be powerful in connecting with your daughters/
54. When you merge the promise of connection, the relaxation of inhibitions, and the peer-pressure invitation of girlfriends and boyfriends, you have a potent concoction that lures many girls into the beginning of a relationship with a potentially life-altering, even deadly substance.
What is the state of your daughters relationships? Might she be vulnerable to alcohol to enhance or improve her relationships?
55. Have you ever used alcohol to ease relationships?
Talk about a fear, longing, or hurt that your daughter might be suppressing. Brainstorm about ways that you could help your daughter to get her feelings out.
56. When a girl learns that alcohol makes her a part of “the club,” that she can talk to anyone more easily, that she feels at ease in all sorts of situations, its difficult to convince her that prayer or meditation or positive self-talk is a better solution.
Does your daughters personality type or past painful experiences in relationships make her vulnerable to alcohol?
57. How can you influence your daughter to endure awkward or painful moments in relationships?
What helps you?
58. Do you believe that enduring hard times and waiting for more is worthwhile? Why? How can you communicate this to your daughter?
59. Our brains were wired to crave and chase, but God intended for us to crave those things that bring us life (relationship with Him and others) and chase them as we seek meaning, generosity, wisdom, compassion, and creativity.
Remember when your daughter was little and she craved you?
60. What keeps you from demonstrating a craving love for your daughter?
61. Remember when your daughter was little, she didnt just crave you. She chased you.
How can you give your sometimes annoying, corny, pesky, loving, creative presence to your daughter
62. Brainstorm together about craving and chasing behaviors in mothering. Commit to share next week your renewed attempts at these behaviors with your daughters.
63. Chapter 8
“Mom, Everyone Tries Drugs!”
Teenagers who use drugs are seeking something spiritual, which is both good and bad news.
How have you observed your daughters spiritual hunger?
64. Have your daughters choices made her particularly vulnerable to the influence of the Enemy? How?
65. Take time right now to pray together for your daughter.
66. The stigma for drug abuse from family, friends, and church can keep our daughters from healing and developing self-esteem and true spirituality.
Does use of or experimentation with drugs hold a stigma for you? Why?
67. Have you ever thought, “You cant do this to me?” when your daughter has experimented with drugs or alcohol?
How might this perspective impact your relationship?
68. Your daughters drug use is an opportunity to build your own faith, to trust in a Power greater than you are, and to wait for Gods deliverance.
What is your response to the previous sentence?
How can your daughters choices build your faith?
How can you demonstrate that your are trusting God with your daughter?
Share a story about a time when you left your daughter in Gods hands.
What is the most difficult part of waiting while your daughter experiments with drugs or alcohol?
How can other mothers pray for you during this difficult time?
69. Read the Establishing Clear Consequences on pg. 162.
What have been your consequences for drug or alcohol use?
What has been effective about these consequences? Ineffective?
What changes does this chapter prompt you to make?
70. Chapter 9
It will be impossible to connect with your daughter until she is disentangled from toxic influences.
Talk about your daughters toxic influences. What has been your response to these relationships?
What has been your daughters response to you?
71. Has your daughter ever claimed that she hated you? What was your response?
Consider that what she really hates are the choices that she is making?
How does this consideration change your attitude toward your daughter?
72. How do you respond when your daughter threatens to move out as soon as she turns eighteen?
Consider that what she is really saying is that she needs to get out of the way she is living?
How can you help her now without judging or condemning her?
73. Read about Stacys transition from her old friend group to a new one on page 182.
How could you translate this threefold “plan” to your mothering and your daughter?
74. You can watch for clues that your daughter is being influenced by peers who might lead her in a dangerous and destructive direction.
Read the Evidence of Bad Company on page 183. Discuss what is applicable to your daughter.
75. How can you let your daughter know that you are observing these warning signs?
76. Share a story about a time when you befriended your daughters friend.
77. How can you focus on the behaviors or troubling friends and not attack them personally?
78. Peers can have an extraordinarily powerful grip on an adolescent, and parents must sometimes take extreme measures to loosen that grip.
How will you know if your daughters friends have an “extraordinarily powerful grip on her?
79. What lengths have you gone to to help your daughter stay away from toxic friends? What lengths are you willing to go to?
80. If you believe that your daughter is in this “extreme” situation, share your concerns with the group? Ask for their prayer. Brainstorm together about ways that you can help your daughter.
81. Chapter 10
Read the External Evidence of Addiction on pages 192-196.
Have you ever experienced any of these in your own life?
How did you respond to this evidence of a potential developing problem?
Have you noticed any of this “evidence” in your daughters life? What has been your response so far?
While your teenager may laugh about the predicaments their substance use gets them into, believe me that in the middle of the night, when no one is around, they wonder if they are crazy.
82. Has substance use ever resulted in your daughter doing something “crazy”?
What was your response?
What else could you communicate to your daughter besides “youre crazy”?
When you have done something shameful or stupid, what has been helpful to you?
83. Its shame and denial that keep us locked into thinking that no one can forgive us.
What has locked you in the prison of believing you are unforgivable?
What has imprisoned your daughter?
Have you had a difficult time forgiving your daughter? Why? Why not?
Do you believe that God has forgiven you completely?
How could this knowledge translate into your mothering?
The addict so completely believes she is alone that if you try to hang in there with her, she will work even harder to push you away to prove that she is alone.
84. Have you observed substance use causing your daughter to isolate?
85. What behaviors has your daughter used to try to push you away? Have they worked?
86. Has your daughters problems caused you to isolate? Why? Why not?
87. Ask the group to support and pray for you during this time. How can they encourage you that you are not alone?
88. Because of the components of addiction we talked about earlier — of trying again and again to stop and promising again and again to stop and not succeeding — an addict believes she is hopeless.
Has your daughter tried to stop drinking or using drugs? What happened?
89. How do you respond to your daughters broken promises?
90. Do you believe that addiction is stronger than you are? Stronger than God?
91. Consider praying together: God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Commit to say this prayer daily for a week. Share in the group how this prayer is impacting you.
92. Chapter 11
Read the quotation from Carol Kent on page 203. Have you ever faced the “unthinkable” with your daughter? Share your experience and how you let go?
Are you in the midst of the “unthinkable” right now? How can the group pray for you and support you?
93. Preemptive intervention lets your daughter know that you notice what shes doing, that you have a plan to help her, and that you hope shes listening.Read the examples of preemptive intervention on pages 206-207. Have you tried a similar approach?
What in this approach makes you afraid?
How do you think your daughter would respond? How do you hope shell respond?
Pray together about your intervention and her response.
94. To what lengths are you willing to go to help your daughter deal with her drug and/or alcohol problem?
What is in the way of your going to any lengths? Finances? Reputation? Job concerns?
95. Preemptive intervention requires patience, consistency, and consequences. Radical intervention requires planning, support, and courage. Gods intervention requires nothing from you.
What is your response to the previous sentence?
96. Share about a time when God intervened on your behalf. On behalf of your daughter.
97. We are going to be far more powerful in our childrens lives if we trust Gods work in and around and through all our problems. If we surrender first, then we can truly be allies in helping our daughters with their battles against drugs and alcohol.
Share your story of surrender in response to your daughters struggles. What do you still have left to let go of?
98. What is your daughters struggle producing in you of faith, hope, and love? Ask the group what they see.