“We need to stop living in denial.”
That’s part of the message for Christian parents from author Dennis Mansfield. A pro-family public policy advocate over the previous two decades, Mansfield got the call one day back in the late 90’s from law enforcement officials who delivered some bad news: His eldest son Nate Mansfield had been arrested for illegal drug possession.
A decade later Nate Mansfield died from drugs, even as he had begun a rehabilitation process.
Today, Mansfield’s book Beautiful Nate tells the heart-wrenching story, and Dennis offers hope and help to other parents.
“Most of us as Evangelicals or Roman Catholics — as people of Christian faith who love God, love Christ, and live in Him — we believe that somehow our child – that sweet little girl, that young man, – are going to move through life unscathed” he said during his most recent visit on Austin Hill In The Morning. “Yet when those children go off to school, whether middle school, high school, or college, the world is there to steal, kill and destroy. Parents can’t afford to be naïve.”
Mansfield offers important advice to all parents:
- Get out of denial: realize that your child can develop a drug problem.
- Learn to see subtle changes in your child’s behavior – a tendency towards secrecy, mood swings, a sudden new set of “friends”.
- Be willing to ask the hard questions and look for problems; check the child’s bedroom, examine backpacks and telephones and computers.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Mansfield also offers this wise advice:
“We are not our child’s savior, but rather, our job is to be a parent that points to the Savior.”