Hello, Ladies. Have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate you girls? I go away for a week (I really was working as well as vacationing as you can clearly see!) and you carry on, helping each other work through stuff. Then I come back, publish a post, and leave you for another week while I prepare for the important conference I'm running starting this Sunday, and you dive right into the new topic with intelligence and honesty. Then I pop back in to say I'm leaving for that conference and will you hang in there for another week. And I know you will. You truly do amaze me. Not just with your patience, but with the way you have learned to discuss topics with integrity.
Take this one, about what works and what doesn't in those difficult moments with parents. I think you all agreed that counting to ten does NOT work -- for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that during that silence your parents think you're dissing them (when in actuality you're trying not to say things that really WOULD dis them!) But you came up with some stunning things that do, and I'd like to summarize those for you, in case you haven't been able to read all the comments:
When my parents would really irritate the daisy petals out of me, I would catch myself with a thought that came to me more frequently as I grew in my relationship with Christ. "If God was standing right here and listening to Mom and me, would he be proud me?" Of course, God is doing that in spirit, but that thought calms my fury enough for me to think logically about what would be a more respectful approach to the current problem. (SKYE)
Something I've been trying to do lately when I get an attitude is say a quick Our Father to myself. It helps remind me that when I'm interacting with my parents, I'm also interacting with my true Father. Remembering that God is the one perfect parent who will never make a mistake with me is really comforting, and praying to Him as Father helps remind me that He commands me -- *commands* me -- to honor and obey the parents He gave me. (RACHEL)
I think the thing that's going to help me whenever my father says for the thousandth time that I'm being rude or when my parents aren't really paying attention is "So what? None of us is perfect. So my parents aren't quite understanding me yet, big deal. God understands me, and if I'm patient (REALLY patient) then I will eventually get through to my parents, and they'll get through to me. And maybe (just maybe) just saying 'whatever' isn't clear enough for my parents (SARAH)
Sometimes when I feel like at a bad mood, on not that happy, I don't really talk to them because it is when I'm not patient, and I can get in trouble. I think that works because now (after I talked to my mom about that) if I don't talk to her, she doesn't go to my room and start talking when I don't want to and also arguing. I still love them a lot, it's just that my attitude needs improvement. (SYLVI)
Usually for me, words just come right out of my mouth and I regret them and wish I could take them back, so usually just trying not to say ANYTHING at all works for me, but not doing it in a way that it seems like I'm ignoring them, but at least appear to be listening, and THEN stating what I think AFTER they're done (IN LOVE WITH JESUS)
Explaining things calmly does work-even if your not calm at all 4. Telling them your sorry (only if you mean it) it works when you argue with them it makes them feel good that your sorry, and forgiving them if/when they say sorry will make them feel better to. (JESUS FREAK)
Whenever I want to blow up to my mom I think for a split second, would God want me doing this? Is it right? Then it kind of calms me down enough to listen what she has to say. (LEXI)
Do you even realize how much maturity you're showing? That's why I know you'r'e ready for this -- You're going to get irritated with your parents. It's in your contract as a teenager, for all the reasons we've talked about in previous posts. Right now it's all about managing that irritation while you find better ways to communicate. Again, I know it seems like, "They're the parents -- why don't THEY figure ME out?" I'll tell you why I think that is. In Genesis 2:24, there's this little verse that often gets overlooked, but that really speaks to what we're talking about here.
"A man will LEAVE his father and mother and be united to his wife."
What on EARTH does that have to do with this conversation? It's that word "leave." Think of this as a metaphor for growing up as a whole (not just getting married!) It's doesn't say the parents will shove the young man (or young woman) out the door. It says the kid is going to do the leaving. It isn't up to your parents to "grow you up." That's impossible! The responsibility is on you to do the maturing, and that includes taking the higher ground in arguments, being the young woman who is worthy of respect, "fighting fair" rather than resorting to manipulation.
Okay, so yeah, parents are the people who have to love you no matter how vile your behavior. And sometimes it feels like, when the world is beating you up, you just have to lash out at somebody and they're the only ones who won't kick you to the curb if you do. Still, that doesn't mean it's okay. That means they're the ones you can practice your new-found maturity and integrity on. So what DOES work?
* Expressing your appreciation for all they do for you when you're NOT duking it out over grades or boys or whatever else.
* Cutting them some slack because raising you is hard
* Considering their side of the issue as well as your own
* Presenting your case without resorting to whining, accusing, venting ad nauseam, and saying, "You always" or "You never!"
* Honoring their final say. I didn't say "like it." Just honor it.
And how, pray tell, are you supposed to do all that when you're about to explode with frustration? Honey, that's what you've got God for.
What do you say we turn to a new topic? I'm sensing that several of you are struggling with pressure and responsibility. Am I right? Is life seeming "too much" these days? With a new school year starting, I think now is the perfect time to look at the question: How can I HANDLE all of this? If you want to post this week while I'm away, please share the biggest pressures in your life right now, the responsibilities that weigh the heaviest on you, the places where you want to go back to being ten years old again. Sound good?
In the meantime, don't forget that we'll have another weekend blog "retreat" this fall. Be thinking about a theme. You might want to discuss that among yourselves while I'm away. Who wants to volunteer to keep that discussion going? I'd love to be surprised with a theme when I get back!