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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting Tips’

‘Daughters’ is a subject that has been on my heart lately, one, because my only daughter just became a first time mother; joining us together in a bond only mothers experience.  For the other reason, I have been speaking with many mothers of teenage girls who are at their ‘wits end ‘ dealing with manipulative, disobedient daughters.  I feel so much compassion in my heart for the parents who are going through the gut wrenching experience of dealing  with rebellious teenage girls. I know, there are plenty who deal with boys too, but this post is all about daughters.

The first thing we ask ourselves is- “where did I /we go wrong?  Many of you haven’t done anything wrong perse’, but I have some things for you to think over that may help you find the root, leading the way to better communication, and helping the young lady find her way back home.

Every girl has a need for a strong, HEALTHY relationship with her father. A father is God’s expression to her about who HE is.  Her sense of security and well being comes from strong leadership in the home. How a husband treats his wife teaches her how she will respond as a wife herself, and while she is living in your home, she will test the boundaries and limits of your marriage.  Manipulation is only possible if the two of you are presenting a weak front, divided, and not on the same page with one another.  She will “play you like a cheap guitar” mom and dad, if you don’t have each others back! If she knows that you talk things over , and agree together, double check facts etc., she will not get away with the trickery and lies so easily, she will stop trying once she figures out there is no space between you. Confrontation and consequences for her actions are essential.  If she perceives that she is getting off easy for bad behavior, she will spin out of control.  What is worse, she will accuse you of being horrible, but if you do nothing at all, she will believe in her heart that you don’t care, and don’t love her.  I know that one from personal experience.  I was a rebellious teenage daughter.  My parents fought about discipline. My mother wanted dad to do it, and he felt like the big arm of the law, who had to do the dirty work, so they fought… then gave up.  We grew up completely out of control, wishing someone would care enough to say something. Consequences for bad behavior need to be appropriate for the situation, if she sneaks out, she gets grounded, with zero privileges.    But don’t overplay the same card. Grounding the girl for every infraction is counter productive.  If the problem is school related, ie. being irresponsible about homework, take something away, and add a responsibility that relates to school.  I have heard teens talk about how the punishments their parents give them don’t make any logical sense, or that they just want to personally benefit from their child’s mistake by getting work out of them. The other thing to consider, is how do you listen to her? Or, do you just talk AT her? You would be surprised how much can be solved by just sitting down and giving a place for her to share her heart, dreams, fears… she needs the security of knowing you are for her, but will stand for the right thing, and will be just, fair, and strong.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. If you are together Mom and Dad, you will succeed in giving the girl a stability she needs to gain control of the chaos we like to call the TEENS.

For the single parent:  It is no easy thing to beat this daunting task alone.  But in Ecclesiastes, it says a cord of three strands.  Meaning that God is one of the strands.  You aren’t in it alone, and certainly if you have a church family, or synagogue, you can find plenty of people to come along side to bear your burden with you.  We are never expected to go through these things by ourselves.  Reach out and call for help, prayer, and support if you don’t have a spouse.  If you are divorced, you still need to try to be on the same page when it comes to your child.  Put aside your own differences, and look out for the needs of your daughter.  It is difficult to do when you don’t get along, but if you have any ability to do it, try!

I have been so very blessed to have a daughter who has been a tower of strength, virtuous through her teens, a model daughter who cared for everyone. Her father and she have always had a strong bond.  She is confident, and accomplished, and now she has a son.  It wasn’t always easy in our relationship, we didn’t always get along.  Because of my baggage with my own parents, I was the weak one, and she was BORN with a determined, strong will…just like her father.  Lately, we have been experiencing a closeness I never thought was possible.  I feel so privileged to share her company, her life, as I have always admired her so much, this is a dream come true for me.

I will finish this post with a song by John Mayer:  Daughters

“Daughters”

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

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Training day has arrived. At least the first of many. Today I will talk about the difference between a family which functions in a healthy and positive manner, and the one which is just out to lunch. Here in America, we can honestly say, the breakdown of the family is a forgone conclusion.  What causes this breakdown? Is it the fact that any family these days that is actually together has to have both parents working just to pay the bills?

The reality is that 50% of the marriages in America end in divorce, obviously, both parents work, and juggle being single parents, or step parents in blended families, which adds yet another complex layer to the mix. Let’s just call all these different types of families the same for now, though I know each have different challenges. For our training session here, we need to focus on the individual ideas which can be applied to any situation.

Dinner Time: Whether or not you are busy, you must spend time together as a family. Make a special time, like dinner around the table every night if possible. If it is only twice a week, make everyone abide by the dinner together, and make a special meal for them.  You might also make a taco night or pizza night – whatever works for you, just make it something they look forward to. This is a nice time to get to know what’s happening in each others lives.  We were as poor as church mice when my husband was going to school, we would make mini pizzas with English muffins, homemade pizza sauce, and some sprinkles of cheese. The fact that the children got to help make them, made them delicious to them! ( Our children have told us recently that they never realized that we were poor, they were always happy. ) In our family, now that the kids are grown and out on their own, they tell me it was special to them that we all ate together. Now we do it every Thursday night “family night” with their spouses by their sides.

Read Aloud: Reading Reading out loud to your children is a huge tool for young children to grow closer to parents, start loving books, and have a sense of security and love. You all saw the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’, the children are enraptured listening to Meg Ryan read the story! We read the Junior Pilgrims Progress, and many “series” books at night before the children went to bed. All in jammies, piled on mom and dad’s  bed, they all listened as we read the stories, this was special time of cuddling, and being with their parents. No time?  My husband was commuting 65 miles to go to Med school at UCSF (Nuclear Medicine) , he left at 5:00 am every am and got home at 6:00 pm. after the reading, it was his homework time. We can all find time in our schedule if we make it important to us.

Traditions: Is there anything you can think of that you can make a tradition in your family? Do you have a specific ethnic background that have traditions?  We Americans have our holidays, but even then, do you teach your children what they mean, or why we celebrate them?  We have many traditions in our family, I chose to make it that way, because I had none growing up. Traditions are a bond that helps a child identify him(her)self with something grounding.  It is a constant- something they can count on looking forward to. I have an opinion that it is the lack of traditions, parental involvement ,or a sense of belonging in a family that has caused the rise of gang activity. It takes forethought and a bit of doing. Scrap booking together, or having a yearly camp out, going to get a new ornament for the Christmas tree, making handmade ornaments, doing something for a needy family or the troops, there are so many ideas you just need to figure out what rings your family’s bell.

Get Real: If you have absurd expectations of yourself, your husband, your children, your dog…you need to just relax.  Being damaged goods like I am/was I understand this all too well, but I had to learn the hard way.  For one, if you have your children in too many activities, you are a slave to their schedule, and you have a magnet on your fridge that says “MOM”S TAXI” get a grip!  Start editing the schedule, you and  your kids  will be so much better for it.  Oh, I have heard it all- you are worried that little Johnny is not going to have enough to keep him out of trouble… When are you getting to spend time together?  Is this your way of getting your “ME” time? If that is the case, well we have some real work to do. Believe me, their childhood is over in a FLASH!  I know, I am on the other side, and now I have nothing but “ME” time!  Too many activities adds too much pressure, which adds stress, which gives rise to impatience, which causes the child to think you are displeased with them. Totally counter- productive don’t you think?  Get to know what you child really enjoys, and support that to the fullest.  You are in charge, don’t let them dictate what the schedule will be.

A United Front: This is my most important advice I give to young parents, and newly married couples. You and your spouse are a partnership in raising the children. NO POWER OF VETO goes to either party. No arguments in front of the children, No go ask your… and cop out of follow up. You stand together on decisions, and back each other up.  If a child sees a weakness in this partnership, it WILL be exploited, and manipulated. This is especially hard for divorcees, but you must see how important it is to man up and get a handle on this. Talk things over, communicate!  Don’t let the kids pit one parent against the other. By the way, this starts when you bring that cute little bundle home. Yes- The day they are born.   Never let anything come between you. That means when you go to bed at night, there should not be a baby, a child ,or anything between you.  This is where the breakdown of your united front begins.  You need to teach the children that you and your spouse are together and you must show the children that they have a special place, and you have a special place.

Balance: One wise man once said that “the truth always lies between the two extremes”.  That statement applies to so many things in my book. Here for my application I am going to talk about the home environment. There was a woman I met years ago, who liberated me so much, when she told me, that my children will remember the days I played marbles on the floor with them, but never will they say ” mom always had such a tidy house”  On the other hand, if you have a mother who was compulsive and kept a museum like home, where there were feelings that if you dropped a crumb, you will be in trouble, Aghh! Who wants that! But nobody wants to go into a home where you can’t see the floor or counter tops.   The woman who played marbles with the kids was the balanced one, somewhat cluttered home, with clean kitchen and bathrooms, but knew that living was more important than cleaning all the time. The truth lies between the extremes. Not dirty, not museum- like, just the perfect balance to keep a stress free environment.  Chores need to be taught to the children, one friend of mine had three children, and they had what they called G.I. Parties on Saturdays. which were like a military style cleaning of the house once a week, with dad as drill sergeant.  Find whatever works for you, but don’t be overbearing.  The other thing I see is women making their pre-teens or young daughters be babysitters, and housekeepers.  Come on Mom! You should be training her how to cook, and sew, and do baking, not relieve you of your responsibilities.

To wrap up our first training day I will close with these thoughts… Parenting isn’t for cowards, it is a tough challenge, especially for those of us who didn’t have good parental role models. Remember that children learn by your example, and those ‘wee beady eyes’ of theirs take in everything!

2Pe 1:3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness,

through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

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