The War Between Loving Mom andTeen Daughter
- Monday, April 09, 2001
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?"
You 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.
If 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.
Your 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:
"That 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!"
I 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.
In God's Love,
For more hints on raising teens, visit the Family Channel.
To submit a question to Chuck Snyder, email him at Chuck@CrosswalkMail.com and please include the topic of your question in the subject line of your email. Your submission will be considered for publication. If selected, we will remove your name to ensure confidentiality.
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