Is Your Relationship With Your Daughter a Battle or Blessing?
I remember when I was 8 months pregnant when an acquaintance came up to me and said,
Is this your first? I said, “YES” in a happy voice.
With a smirky grin, she said,
“You just wait!!!!!!!!”
Several years ago someone asked me how old my daughter was and I said “15.”
She gave me that smirky grin and said…
“You just WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
So here’s the million-dollar question.
What are you waiting for?
The Battle or the Blessing
When I was pregnant I anticipated the blessing. I couldn’t wait to have a baby girl of my own. I couldn’t wait to dress her in all the pretty pink dresses hanging in the nursery. I looked forward to hearing her say her first word (which I hoped was “Mama”) and take her first step.
When the acquaintance said, “You just wait!” she was anticipating the battle. She was thinking about the sleepless nights, the crying, and dirty diapers.
It really is all about what you are expecting and where you direct your attention.
If you are looking for blessings you will find them. You will see blessings everywhere. It doesn’t mean that life doesn’t have its challenges. A young mother will have sleepless nights, crying babies, and plenty of dirty diapers.
But the challenges don’t obliterate the blessings. You never lose sight of the blessings.
If you are looking for the battle you will find it. You see one struggle after another. You complain about it and before you know it that’s all you see. But here is the scary thing. When you focus on the battle; it blinds you from seeing the blessings.
I have been a therapist for over 20 years and I know life is not always happy. But here’s what I know. What you focus on affects everything. You constantly are creating stories out of your experience. And if you are making up a story you might as well make up a good one.
Let me give you an example. (Since I have a teenage daughter I have plenty of examples. 🙂
A few years ago I came home from my private practice to take my daughter to driver’s education. She had books and papers all over the dining room. I told her we needed to leave in about 5 minutes. I walked into the kitchen to get something to eat. She barked out, “Could you PLEASE be quiet?”
If I had the battle mentality I would be expecting her to start a fight. I would think, “You are so disrespectful and you are not going to get away with that.” I’d say something like, “Don’t you dare speak to me that way. Drivers Ed is a privilege and I can take it away.” My daughter would fire some verbal arrows back and the battle would be on. I would have one more piece of evidence that parenting is one battle after another.
I won’t lie. A comment like that is irritating and it’s tempting to lay into her.
But there are blessings hidden in the story. My daughter was working really hard on her schoolwork. I didn’t tell her to. She took the initiative.
That’s a huge blessing!
I drove her to driver’s ed. and let her calm down. Afterward, she told me how stressed she was about all the work that was due tomorrow. On her own, she apologized for snapping at me. When we got to the house she showed me all the work she had done that day.
Look at all those blessings.
- She apologized and owned her stuff.
- She let me know what was going on in her life.
- She showed me all her hard work.
- Both of us felt understood.
I would have missed all of that if I had the Battle Mentality.
See there’s going to be some drama with your teenage daughter. You can’t avoid that.
But it doesn’t have to obliterate the joy and the blessings.
Don’t miss the blessings. It’s time to get out of the Battle Mentality. It’s not your fault. It’s easy to fall into the struggle, but there is another way.
But you don’t know my daughter…
I have worked with thousands of teens and plenty of them had lots of attitudes. Even if your daughter is a drama queen you can find blessings.