Do you happen to have written anything on the
"Teenage Daughter-Loving Mother War"? We are going through
the "Teenage Daughter-Loving Mother War" right now. My
wife is pretty dedicated to having our daughter get through high
school intact, and my daughter is determined to "do her
thing." Luckily, "her thing" is not really very
drastic or off-base. We are blessed to have such wonderful kids, but
she and Mom are battling it out a lot these days. Sure wish I could
solve this one (typical male response, eh?).
My thanks again for your column and your concern!
Welcome to the world of teenagers. I'm convinced that Cain and Abel
went into the local cloak shop and said something like, "If my
folks actually like this ... can I bring it back?"
will survive, and they will come back to the human race, but now
their most important need is unconditional love. When you set
boundaries, make them loving. Let the "rule" do the
discipline. For example, "You got in late last night, and the
rule is that you are in by 10 p.m., so you cannot go to the prom (or
whatever). I'm so sorry you can't go. I grieve for you. I
remember what fun I had when I was your age ..." Then hug
her and tell her how wonderful she is.
a boy is asked to be home for dinner by 5:30 and is there the first
night, but late the next, a wise parent may say the following as he
comes in and sits down, "I'm so sorry you can't eat.
Remember the rule is you have to be here at 5:30." The boy
will say that Satan tripped him, the sun went out, his friends had
him tied up ... etc. Now you can grieve with him. "I am so
sorry you will miss dinner tonight ... I know you are hungry ... I
feel so badly for you!" Now you become the lover/supporter,
rather than the ogre. The kid will be at the table at 5:30 the rest
of his life.
teenager will be home early because she knows you love her so
much, even though she messes up once in awhile -- just like God
loves us, by the way. The Mom and the daughter will always
have turf battles. It comes with the territory. Your role as the
father is to grieve with both of them, and reflect back their
feelings like this when they give you an emotional message:
really ties you up in knots, doesn't it?"
"Tell me more about that."
"That was really frustrating, wasn't it?"
"My, my ..."
"And then what happened?"
"And what else do you feel?"
"That was real difficult, wasn't it?"
"Isn't that something?"
"For goodness sake!"
"I'll bet you couldn't believe it, could you?"
"I'll bet you felt helpless, didn't you?"
"That made you so sad, didn't it?"
"What else did she say?"
"How did that make you feel?"
"How about that?"
"Did you expect that?"
"That must have hurt!"
did a video for Cindy Tobias on the strong-willed child, and will
send you a copy, just in case your daughter fits the mold. Our
generation is drugging strong-willed children and calling them ADHD
when they simply have a different learning style than most people
have. Play it for the entire family. I had a 20 year-old watch it
with his folks. The parents' reaction was, "This is the first
time we realized how you were designed by God." The son
responded with, "This is the first time I felt someone really
understood where I am coming from." I don't want to oversell
the video, but I will throw it into the pot just in case.