I have two teenage daughters. I don’t recommend it. The other day, during a major conflict, I told them both they were going to die and go to hell if they did not become more forgiving. (Matthew 6:15) It certainly got their attention, although I’m not sure it was the best parenting moment I’ve ever had. Teenagers are frustrating. They don’t seem to be intentionally causing me pain, but their attitudes and treatment of each other are painful. How do I lead them to better behavior, especially if my gut reaction is to yell at them?
I’ve never been a yeller. I pride myself on my calm and rational reactions to my children even in times of crisis, and my ability to pray before reacting. This newest challenge, this clash of hormones and tempers has me stumped.
Over winter break, being forced into close quarters for so many days, these beautiful girls of mine were on the verge of killing each other. During the worst of the battle, I made them sit down at the table and began to pray out loud over them. I could not tell you now what words were said, but I cried, tears running down my face as I begged God for answers, for help teaching these girls how to love each other. They both became emotional, and much more open to actual communication.
I ended up redesigning the layout of the house to separate them, they had been sharing a bedroom their whole lives. By moving a wall, and giving up some living space, the girls now have some privacy, and I have somewhere I can send them when the attitudes become too much for me. The work involved in all this, and the emotional drain has me worn out, but I pray that it will all be worth it in the end. I know they won’t be teenagers forever.