Q: How can I handle my rebellious teenage daughter over clothing, boys, school and her relationship with the Lord?
A: If you don’t handle this correctly, arguments and counter-productive ill feelings and actions will develop.
You’re not alone in this dilemma, nor are you being a terrible mother. Your daughter’s simply becoming her own person. That’s good, but the process can be rough. Here are some helpful hints:
- Put your trust in God and let Him do the work. He loves your girl. When you pour out your heart to Him on her behalf, do this with confidence, believing that He is willing and able to do what you ask. Don’t panic or let doubt fill your heart; let faith win the day.
- Avoid conflict with your daughter. Find things to do with her that she enjoys. In other words, build bridges. In time, when she accepts you as mentor and role model, she will come to you for guidance; don’t lecture her and don’t demand her to conform.
- When your emotions start bubbling over, remove yourself from the argument and calm down. Then return to the room, listen to her with an open heart, and speak your mind with love and self-control.
- Make sure that your walk with the Lord is strong and your conduct in the home is sound and godly. This will make you an example for her to follow. Whether she ‘accepts’ this at the moment is not important; she will store it in her heart and mind for the future.
- When she sees your trust in the Lord, and the composure you derive from Him, this will boost her faith too – later. Don’t make demands for a spiritual revolution in her life; let God do it.
- You don’t say whether you have a husband or not. If you do, give him the honour and support he needs to fulfil his role as the head of your family. If not, let the Elders of your Fellowship assist with the guidance and strength that both you and your girl need.
- Ground rules need to be in place for those under your roof. If you haven’t done so already, set them gently, but firmly, and clearly, for her. She must know that these rules are what you require as her mother, and also as God’s worker in her life. But avoid angry demands or manipulative expressions of disappointment. Be calm and tell her that you believe the Lord will help her. This way she will know that her rebellion against you is actually rebellion against the Lord and His order.
- Finally let your love for the Lord, and your daughter, characterise every part of your interactions with Him and with her.