Unhealed hurt can eventually lead to debilitating effects in anyone’s life. Even more susceptible to the evils of bitterness are teenagers. They often question “why me?” and “why did this happen?” Their hormones and emotions may be a factor in their bitterness. However, many teens that are faced with communication, broken promises, divorce, abuse, fights, peer pressure, betrayal, or being left out begin to let their bitterness overtake their life.
Bitterness can fill up their heart and make them act out or seek revenge. Even teens that are involved in a church find it easier to choose bitterness over forgiveness. They may feel that forgiving the wrongdoer, whether it is a parent, relative, or friend will be harder. They may think that they person doesn’t deserve their forgiveness and rather deserves some type of revenge or punishment. The teen may spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to hurt the person back. They may actually act out upon these thoughts and cause further problems in their life.
If you think your teen is hurting because of a wrong doing and is letting their bitterness overtake their life, you should be aware of a few warning signs of unhealed hurt:
- Negative attitude
- Moody and tearful
- Having a don’t care attitude
- Being overly sensitive
- Taking innocent comments too seriously or too personally
- Inability to forgive even the smallest things
- Demanding attention
- Withdrawal, avoiding social situations
If a teen lets this unhealed wrongdoing turn into bitterness, several things can take place. A teen can become paranoid, extremely jealous of others, vindictive, rebellious, judgmental, and display a lack of regard for others. All of these feelings begin to mingle together and can create a recipe of disaster for your teen’s future. Their actions and every day events will be affected by their bitterness. Their friendships may begin to suffer, along with your family relationships.
Attempting to help your teen work toward forgiveness rather than bitterness is a key step in the healing process. Try to take action in the hurt stage, before bitterness can set in. Once the bitterness is there, it can become very difficult to overcome these feelings.
Counseling and group sessions can be beneficial to some teens. They may find it helpful to talk to others that have been in the same types of situations. Insight into their healing process can often help with their own. A teen doesn’t want to face the weight of such bitterness on their own. They need to find ways to have the bitterness removed from their heart. By talking about ways to reach forgiveness, the teen may begin to implement them.
Deep down you know that somewhere inside is your sweet and loving teen. However, the bitterness has made them pessimistic and angry. It is important to know that bitterness has a cause and didn’t just appear. Try to find the root cause so counseling and talks can be directed at that.
Bitterness can be dangerous for not only your teen, but those around him/her. Bitter emotions can create outbursts, violent tendencies, and emotional break downs. If your teen is suffering from bitterness over a situation, helping them heal and forgive will be the only thing that can help. If the bitterness is directed at you, it may be difficult for the teen to discuss and talk with you.
Consider enrolling your teen in a therapeutic Christian based boarding school. Often times, scriptures from the Bible and weekly church attendance can help your teen understand the importance of letting go and forgiving. At New Creations Boarding School, students attend church three times a week and also participate in devotions each morning and evening. By encouraging spiritual development, New Creations can help a teen understand the word of God and help to restore family relationships.
If bitterness has made your teen vindictive and pessimistic, affecting every aspect of his/her life, it is time to start the healing process. Help your teen understand the Biblical definition of forgiveness, while still maintaining positive peer relationships and an accredited academic schedule. Visit www.newcreationsboardingschool.org for more information on how God can help your teen overcome their bitter feelings and emotions.