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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

‘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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He was between a first born son, and a first born daughter, who was born only 11 months later. He was the lost boy. He was “hell on wheels” trying to keep up with big brother, who was handsome, and confident. Everyone got the attention but him, except for the fact, that in trying to keep up, he got hurt allot. As he got old enough to start figuring out ways to be noticed, to find approval, he started sports, and was very good at what he did, but the coach made him pay a heavy price for the pitcher’s position on the little league. Our parents were oblivious, they were busy. He tried and tried… He sold greeting cards door to door every year to buy all of us Christmas gifts, we didn’t notice his generous spirit, we were all too busy.

He finally decided to try the other approach, he knew he got attention when he got in trouble, so he started getting into trouble ALLOT!. They called the police and he went to juvenile hall, they couldn’t handle him, they called it being incorrigible. He came home,  the drugs, and drinking were keeping him from the pain of constant rejection. There was a point when it looked like things would turn around, when  he got into a serious accident that fractured his skull, landing him in the ICU for weeks. My folks were hand wringing for him, nobody knew what the outcome would be . Many who get this type of injury on a motorcycle without a helmet become impaired for life.  Physical therapy and teaching him to talk all over again, proved to be a good thing to reboot him, and connect him with my parents.

They actually did allot for him outwardly, he was a diver, on the dive team, so they put in a good spring board in the backyard pool. They got him classical guitar lessons from a very reputable teacher. They were doing outward things to keep him busy, but didn’t know how to get to the core of his problems, what the issue really was.

He eventually got a steady job, got married, had a daughter, got divorced, met another woman, had another daughter…Split up. They never got to the core of the issues, “Dad… I need you to love me, to listen to me, to accept me for who I am”. So the pattern you see, but there were deeper issues, soulish hurts, that little league coach, what unimaginable damage it has on a man. It wreaks havoc on future relationships if not navigated carefully with God’s help.

One day he came to me, rejoicing with a beaming face. He came to know Christ. I had never seen him so happy. My Father too, had turned his life to Christ before that time,so there was some real mending to do. Another day he came to me, a bit more concerned, but still filled with joy, he asked me if I could take him for an HIV test. I did, it was positive, and he moved in with my family for awhile. We went together, my husband I and my brother, to tell my parents,about his test results,  it was devastating. As you can imagine, as a parent, you wonder what you could have done differently, with my dad, he looks back and now that he knows what he knows, would have done everything differently, he is riddled with regret.

He moved in with a family who had a quiet place on a hillside in the country for the time that he was able to get around. They were friends from church, who had a spare room, and big hearts. When we thought it was time for my folks to have time with him as he was diminishing, we had him move in with them. He and my dad got to go fishing together several times, (he loved to fish) but later was bedridden for quite some time. He passed away on my birthday in 1993, he had a happy look on his face, I saw him just a few minutes after he passed into Glory.

So how does his story apply? Remember in previous posts, how I talked about knowing the character of your child? His was special, he was generous, entrepreneurial, ambitious, creative, and athletic. When a parent takes time to recognize the qualities in their child, and steer them in the way of those traits and characteristics, (Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. )that child will not have the burdens of trying to prove their worth to a parent, or the mess of trying to figure out who they are. You are helping them along on their journey, their coach, and greatest advocate.  Listen to your son, affirm to him that you accept him for who he is, don’t just make him listen to your endless rants about you, and how it was for you- that is your deal… this is your chance to make it work for his future, this will prevent you from future regret.

For my dad, he got to know my brother at the very end of his life, and had a very short time with him. The times they got to go fishing together are precious to him, but if there was anything that I know he would wish for, and that would be, a chance to do it all over again, knowing what he knows now, that your children grow up much too fast, don’t be too busy, don’t take any of it for granted. Let love and patience be what guides you, pick your battles wisely, don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t impose your own dreams and failed ambitions or lack thereof on your sons, let the grace and kindness of your affirming words do their perfect work instead.

You know, there are so  many parents today, and every day, who have an unexpected sudden loss of a child.  What a tragedy, I have not had this experience, losing my brother was  an anguish that was deep, due to our closeness, I cannot imagine losing a child.  This, I want to be especially sensitive about, because it is so hard for those who have lost children, or for those who have kids fighting in the war, you want to take things back, get a second chance, before it is too late. Take the time to lay your soul on the table, about how much you love your son, accept him, and want him to know that there is nothing that can separate him from your love. He is just a keystroke , text message, or phone call away.  You have a daughter who you are at odds with? Now is the time… No time for regrets.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hiv-aids/DS00005/UPDATEAPP=false&FLUSHCACHE=0

http://www.way2hope.org/signs_of_child_molestation.htm

Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

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Sometimes it is hard for people to believe that if they would ‘simply love’, and ‘love simply’ things would be much different in their relationships.  You have heard it said, “you can’t love someone if you don’t love yourself”  I take issue with that statement, because at the root of it is “self”.  I don’t know about you, but as a parent, I learned quickly, when you have a baby, that your time is no longer your own, and you become a servant, a person who’s full attention is on other peoples needs but your own.  Those parents who are our “toxic” variety all have one thing in common: they are selfish! Look closely next time.  What is going on when you see on the news about a parent who is getting children taken away… They are so into their own life, they should not have had kids in the first place.  So, If you ask me, if you want to love with real love, you need to empty yourself of your pride, and selfishness, and be a giver, a servant, hospitable and kind.  Old fashioned concept? Sure, but  we are still people who have the same needs as always, children have the same needs.  Have you ever stopped and thought about what was at the very bottom of your last fight?  Was it selfishness on either part? I can’t imagine it not being. If you do as it says in Philippians, (I’m paraphrasing) esteem each other higher than yourselves, or try to outdo one another in kindnesses. You will be shocked how amazingly happy your relationships will be!  You see, God wants to teach us about His character, we can’t out-give Him He is so generous and kind, but if we are so worried about what we have, keeping what we have, “what am I going to get out of it” we miss the real blessings.

It isn’t a song until it’s sung
It isn’t a bell until it’s rung
It isn’t Love until it is given away!

What is Love? Here is the definition:

1Cr 13:4       Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
1Cr 13:5       does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
1Cr 13:6       does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cr 13:7       bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8       Love never fails

Is it simple to love simply and simply love? If you are not self centered it is, if you are following God’s plan for your life it is easier… God is the embodiment and the essence of Love. It stands to reason that with him at the helm, you can certainly break the cycle of toxic parenting. Until next time… Love simply.

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