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Parenting Teens 2023 | Fighting the Cage (What to Do With Anxiety)

Squirrels were in our attic!

They were noisy and rambunctious. As soon as we attempted to rest at night, it seems they were up scampering around. When you see them outside jumping, from limb to limb, they appear graceful. In our house, they weren't graceful at all!

We decided to remove them humanely by using a cage. We got a cage and set the trap. We used peanut butter on crackers to lure them into the cage.The first squirrel caught was a big squirrel. We called this squirrel, “Daddy Squirrel.” I heard the cage rattle loudly all day long. He struggled with the cage violently as we took him to the car trunk. Now he was in a double cage.

First Lesson - The Double Cage Phenomenom:

It’s possible. Our situation may get worse before it improves. Fighting the cage won’t improve our situation.


As a result of fighting with the cage, there were tufts of fur in the cage. The squirrel had a bleeding nose and a torn tail. The squirrel probably felt afraid, sad, stuck, frustrated, and covered all of those feelings with a big dose of anger. He used that anger to fight harder.

Second Lesson - The Achieve Success Through Destruction Phenomenon:

Don’t use destructive methods attempting to get out of the cage. Using drugs to alter our minds won’t change the problem. Fighting others, breaking laws, cussing, being destructive won’t touch the cage or our pain. It causes us more pain and damage!


To be completely free of squirrels, we had to release them at least ten miles away from our house. If we didn't put enough distance between them and our home, they would find their way back. The squirrel rattled that cage violently all the way to his release spot.

Third Lesson - The I Can't Change Phenomenon:

After we move from bad situations, if we aren’t careful, our mapping system will lead us right back into the cage. When you receive freedom, don’t return to the spots that caged you in just because it is a familiar place. Change directions!


We reached our destination: the squirrel was rattling the cage. When we set the cage down the squirrel continued to fight with the cage. While we opened the cage door, Daddy Squirrel was attempting to chomp down on the cage's wire; he didn’t notice the door was opened, and he was free. That’s right, he was busy fighting the cage when we opened the door. He didn’t even notice.

Fourth Lesson - The Only Answer Is The One I'm Familiar With Phenomenon:

Stop fighting the cage walls (looking at the problem). We may miss the door that only GOD can open. Our way of fixing the problem may need to be changed. To keep doing what doesn't work is insanity.


We had to dump the daddy squirrel out because as we tilted the cage towards the door, the daddy squirrel struggled to get further into the cage. He scrambled in the opposite direction of the door.

Fifth $ Sixth Lesson - The I'm Scared of The New Phenomenon:

Being in a rut feels comfortable, but it doesn't lead to the progress we desire. Ruts are comfortable because they are familiar. Just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean it’s right for us. We can get so used to a painful situation that we are afraid of living in a new, better position.

Amazing, how we struggle in fear to get out of our cages, but when the opportunity for change appears, that same fear compels us to stay in a cage that we despise.


We set the trap again. This time we caught Mother Squirrel. She did the same as Daddy Squirrel. There was a difference. Intermittently she stopped fighting the cage and looked around. Like the daddy, there were tufts of fur in the cage. Mother Squirrel tore her tail too.

Seven & Eighth Lesson - The Looking at the Cage For a Solution Phenomenon:

Stop and look around. See the problem from a different perspective. We may save ourselves lots of grief and pain. The best thing is, we won’t create more problems.

Changing our perspective may not take the cage away, but it alleviates some of the anxiety.


We reset the trap, We didn't know it, but this is the last time we used the cage. The last squirrel was Baby Squirrel. We didn’t realize the squirrel was in the cage. The baby ate the cracker and peanut butter, then calmly laid down and went to sleep.

Ninth Lesson - Make the Best of a Bad Situation Phenomenon

Make the best of a bad situation. See the blessing in every situation. It can be challenging to find, but faith and hope demand that we look for and find the blessing.


Baby Squirrel rested peacefully while we carried the cage to the car trunk (double cage). She stood up once, turned around, and found a new spot to lie down and look out of the cage.

Tenth Lesson - The Change Your Perspective Phenomenon:

Let's try to find a different way to view our problem. The answer may be in one of the new perspectives.


Baby Squirrel was in complete peace as we drove her ten miles away from the house. As we took her out of the cage, she stood up and faced the door. She expected freedom.

Eleventh Lesson - The Expect Good Things Happen Phenomenon:

Expect a good outcome! By having this expectation, your mind will seek out healthy, productive solutions.

When we set the cage down, Baby Squirrel started to move towards the door. Baby Squirrel walked, without hesitating, right through the opened door and scampered forward in life. After a few steps, she looked back as if to say "Thank you for helping me".

Twelfth Lesson - The Stay Free Phenomenom

When the door opens, run through it. Move forward bravely with new plans and a changed perspective. Don’t look back. Behind us are only cages, luring cages that have only a bit of good in them (the peanut butter on crackers). Ahead of us is freedom, frightening yes, but so many possibilities that await us.

Always remember to express gratitude, to GOD first, and then to those around you who helped deliver you from the cages in life.

For the sake of this blog, the cage is symbolic of situations in which we, of ourselves, are not able to control or change at the moment. They are God-sized problems, and need God-sized solutions!

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