The Old Way of Parenting No Longer Worked
The next day after work, I went to the library and then a book store. At home, I hid the stack of books about teenagers as carefully as I hid her Christmas presents. Over the next few days after she was in bed or otherwise absent from the house, I pulled them out and studied them as if I had an eighth grade final in algebra.
Skimming two or three of them helped me see that adolescence had simply snuck up on us. It made me feel better to know that what we had been experiencing was at least normal, even if a little frightening. It was hard to believe my little girl, my precious little baby, was a full-blown teenager but the descriptions in those books were as clear as the advice they gave.
I had to give her more freedom, in all areas of her life in general, in line with her maturity level. I had to radically change how I was communicating with her with respect to what I said, how I said it, and why I said it. [ “How to Talk So Your Teenager Will Listen”by Paul Swets saved our relationship. Here is a link to that precious, precious book. http://amzn.to/1KRrCBW
I frowned so hard it hurt when I read the list of communication errors parents of teens typically make. I saw myself in every item.
“And I was so proud of having a close relationship with her, of being sure I knew what was going on, daily, in her little world and her little heart!”
I Wanted My Little Girl To Stay Little
There it was again. I had to stop thinking of her as a little child, as my child. I had to start thinking of her as a soon-to-be adult. If I didn’t, it would show in my words, my tone of voice, and my face. Over and over again I read the lists of right attitudes and comments expressing those attitudes. I made a cheat sheet and tucked it inside a kitchen cabinet out of sight.
And, of course, I prayed, long and earnestly, for self-control and wisdom, especially wisdom, about the job issue and how to help her cope with our finances. My efforts paid off, almost immediately.