Do I Listen to My Teen Daughter?
Guest post by Kristi Woods
Thank you for joining us for week two of Raising My Girl: A Mom's Perspective. Allow me to introduce a very special lady today, Kristi Woods. Kristi has a fun-loving, candid perspective on being the mom of a teen daughter. You will thoroughly enjoy her words today!
I wish I could tell you I'm an expert. I am not.
But, I know the Expert. He's available.
I wish I could give you step-by-step instructions. I cannot.
However, I know the One who gives wisdom each step of the way.
Concerning parenting teenaged daughters, the Lord's wisdom is fail-proof.
Mothering didn't come naturally for me. Staring at our firstborn in the hospital, I remember thinking Now what? We can't take him home by ourselves. What will we do with him? I don't know how to raise a child! That should have been the first clue that this would be a "needy" journey. I would need loads of God's wisdom, and I certainly have over the years.
Sometimes I've walked hand-in-hand with the Lord's wisdom. Sometimes my strong will turned its nose at wisdom, and I foolishly wobbled down my own path.
Hobble, hobble. Wobble, wobble.
I don't recommend the foolish path. God's path, however, has always proven to be fail-proof.
In the center of the brood of children living in my husband's and my home is a teenaged daughter. Her name is Rebekah, and she is a blessing.
We've always enjoyed life with Rebekah, but the ballgame changed a bit, okay – a lot- when hormones came to bat. Anybody care to cry, "Foul!"?
Raising a teenaged daughter is not easy, but it's dead-center in the will of God if you have a budding young lady under your roof.
The overnight transition from quiet, easy-going, easily-raised child to a questioning, argumentative, and emotional teenager can be a rocky transition for both teen and parent. Relationships are sometimes muddied as we tangle words and wills with our teen. Quick answers and raised tempers can attempt to become the norm, but they don't have to be the new norm.
This was happening at our house. Our relationship was growing, but it was growing apart, not together. The norm was not good. Something had to change.
I asked Rebekah one day, "Do you feel misunderstood?" I often felt that way as a teen, so it seemed a reasonable place to start for change.
"Yes, Mom," was her quick response. Her words, accompanied by a huff and a half eye roll, left no doubt that it was a looming elephant in her own life.
A change in our relationship boiled down to two words: simply listen.
Those two words might as well have been replaced with swim the Pacific Ocean from California to Japan to this "quick to speak, slow to listen" mama. At first glance, it seemed impossible, but nothing is impossible with God, not even relating well to a teenaged daughter. It may come in baby steps, but relating well is a possibility.
James 1:19 rang in my head.
God was jingling.
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry,
James 1:19 NIV '84
I hear you, God.
God's word, that all-knowing wisdom that guides us in a trustworthy manner, was tapping at faith's door. Wisdom assured that, through faith, listening well could truly become a reality.
After school one day, my daughter spied me in the bedroom. Bounding into the room, at what seemed to be a full sprint, she plopped down on the bed. It's a bed that's truly far too large for sleeping needs, so it easily fit both our frames as well as her energetic plop. Her blue eyes searched my face, the fine strands of brown hair falling alongside her ears. Her look told me that she was ready and willing, desirous even, to discuss the day's activities.
The year's transition from homeschooling, which is all she's ever known, to Christian school has had its share of pains, pressures, and praises. She has needed a safe spot to land, to outwardly express her emotions and thoughts. On this day, sitting there on the far too large bed, I was just that.
Inwardly, I smiled and did the happy dance. I wanted to spit a few sunflower seeds like all good baseball players do, because we had hit a home run. It was progress, major progress.
My mothering head swelled, but it was really a God victory. He knew it all along. He knew that being quick to listen and slow to speak would bring great profit of the relationship kind...even with my teenaged daughter. It was just the beginning.
Rebekah and I have made strides in a good direction. I'd love to say we have rounded home base in the bottom of the 9th inning, living in a perfect world of grand slam home runs, but that wouldn't be the truth. There are still a few fruitless swings and disappointing strike outs in this imperfect world and in our relationship as well. We're learning. But there's always the next pitch.
God's word never fails, not even when relating to teenaged daughters.
Is wisdom knocking at your listening door as it did at mine? Is there a call to be quick to listen to your daughter?
Understanding comes by listening. And, when we listen, our teen daughters talk. When they talk, compassion grows. It's there, in the shady grass of listening, talking, and compassion, that our relationship with them grows as well.
Listening will produce fruit for the relationship labor. Be encouraged and listen well, my friend.
For you. A prayer to capture as your own, mama of a teen daughter:
Lord Almighty, You are my source of strength. You created me. You created and gave me this beautiful daughter. Thank you, God. Your work is good. Teach me how to be quick to listen, Lord. Show me how to really hear her, then speak with understanding. Draw our relationship near to you, near to each other. Today and always, I lean on you and will praise your name. Amen.
Kristi Woods loves a warm, sunny day and to write, read, and talk all things Jesus. She's passionate about seeing women walk deeper in their relationship with the Lord and clicks her words of encouragement onto the screen of www.KristiWoods.net regularly. Kristi, her retired-from-the-military husband, and their three children survived the nomadic military lifestyle and have now set roots, along with their furry, rescued pets, in Oklahoma. Connect with Kristi here: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.