Training My Teen Daughter to Love and Fight
It’s funny – this thing called parenting. We all wish there was a perfect set of laid out directives and solutions when we run into technical difficulties. Especially during the teen years. I just entered into the teen years with my oldest daughter. When she was little I had to train her to listen, to wait, to eat, you get the idea. Through every different stage and every different age comes a different kind of training. It’s a work in progress and I am no expert by any means. What I am finding from what comes naturally with my daughter is being open. If I’m not real with her, why would I expect the world to not be?
I taught her to love is to share but now I have to teach her that boundaries within sharing is loving herself.
You can’t share everything. That gigantic pack of gum I bought you? Please try to be discreet, share with a few people and make it last a week! Teaching you how to be careful with what you accept from other people is so important now. Does it look like candy? It might be candy, but it might be a street drug that looks like candy. The old saying goes, “Don’t take candy from a stranger.” The new one should say, “Don’t take candy from anyone but your family, teachers and close friends.”
When it comes to your feelings – your secrets don’t need to be shared with just anyone but you need to learn to judge the characters of the people you spend your time with. Start with sharing little things and then build up. Not everyone who acts like they like you is your friend. Keeping an open mind with people is important but you have to guard your heart – and what you message people. Words, pictures, videos – they can all be copied, screenshotted and redistributed to whomever. It’s so important to watch what you send to others.
When it comes to boys – trust your gut instincts. Every. Single. Time. When your instincts warn you – please listen. My biggest and I mean biggest regrets in life was when I ignored my warning signs. I know you will miss following this advice at some point, remember what I said and hopefully you won’t repeat. If something feels wrong, listen. Listen when you have a sweet pull towards someone. Give that one a chance. Watch his words, how he treats others. When you fall in love do not forget your identity is in God and in yourself. A man should never give you your worth, he should only respect it. If he doesn’t respect your wishes and your heart he needs to go. You will break up a good bit before the one you will marry shows up, so go easy on the dating thing.
Teaching her to be loving towards everyone – regardless of how they act towards her – is of upmost importance. But so is fighting for herself and for others.
Hurting people hurt others. They really do. When people are mean to you – people can be so mean – think about what the problem might be with that person. Obviously to invoke meanness most likely means someone is really mean to them. Other, non-loving homes look very different than ours and you never know who is growing up in the most abusive situations – verbally or physically. Pray for them, too. People pick on others to make themselves feel better. Love them anyway.
When they are harsh or mean, you can choose to respond with kindness. They won’t expect you to reply kindly, and it will make them think twice. They may keep being mean but the more you are kind to them in return, they will either leave you alone or begin to respond kindly. Keep your distance as best you can. You don’t owe them anything.
Sometimes you will need to speak up. You will need to advocate for someone else or for yourself. When you feel you or someone else needs help – please ask for it. People are for you and for others who are in rough situations. Maybe someone else doesn’t feel like they have a safe place to ask for help and you need to step in. Come to us, go to someone you trust and ask for guidance. Be the difference.
Please, daughter – love yourself and fight for your mind.
People can’t go around and do well in life loving themselves on a high pedestal. Being conceited and overly confident is absolutely not becoming and will repel people. Being underconfident and thinking so little of yourself does the exact same thing. Shoot for the middle. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You all are awkward right now – every single one of you. Honeslty you just turn into awkward adults. You all are working on figuring it out and you need to know it doesn’t happen overnight and you aren’t going to get it right immediately. Life is one big game of practice. Pull your shoulders back, tell yourself that you are a beautifully made, one of a kind creation by the Creator of the world and the plans for your life were made before you walked this earth. Know you will soon look back and be out of the most awkward phase of your life while you are in your callilng.
Everyone has to fight for their mind space. You can replay everything negative in your life like a movie reel but you will be sad and depressed when you focus on the bad. Find the good. Take the negative voices captive and fight them with the truth. You will find that truth in the Word of God. Use it to help yourself feel better. That’s what it is there for. To help you fight your spiritual battles and keep your headspace in a good place. You have to fight though. If you don’t fight, you will get beat. What is in your mind and soul will overflow into your actions. Take care of what you let play in the playground of your mind.
Stand up for what you believe in and you will get persecuted. Fight on anyway.
Seek answers. Ask questions. Don’t just believe what we tell you, go find it for yourself and decide if you believe it. You have to make a decision. You can serve God or the world but you can’t serve both. You absolutely can serve God by loving the world but not being exactly like it. You don’t need to run off and open the end to all world hunger to make a difference – although that would be pretty cool. You can make a difference right where you are but you have to know what you believe in order to make decisions that line up with your convictions and what is placed in your heart.
When you decide, there will be people who disagree with you. Be okay with that. They will be irritated by you and will call you all sorts of things. That’s ok. Love them anyway. Stand up for what you believe in when the situations arise. When people ask what you believe, tell them. Know why you believe what you believe and you can find a kind way to answer questions meant to make you look terrible. You have to know why and it is your job to determine that. Never go out of your way to take your convictions and place them on people who don’t believe as you do. If they aren’t like you – you can’t hold them to the same standards. Tell them your story – how God became real to you – and how that led you trust God when He tells you what is good for you and what isn’t for life. Your life and your love of others will speak volumes.
Continue to be the authentic you, pray for those God places around you and tell Him everything because He cares about every detail. Watch Him paint your life into a beautiful masterpiece no matter what comes your way. He is for you – always – and nothing can separate you from His love.
Co-Founder, Pursuing true North