Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hormonal Delinquency in Teenage Daughters - Part I

I just read about a woman on a Yahoo! group who needed advise regarding what to do when her strong-willed, teenage daughter rebelled against her authority during times of hormonal upheaval. Many homes have been destroyed because women were never held accountable when they were young for this type of behavior during hormonal changes. Some women have even justified murdering their own spouses and children during bouts of PMS and postpartum depression! Therefore, it is necessary to deal with this while the girls are still young and at home before they even think of establishing their own homes.

My response is meant for parents who are dealing with daughters (and sons, too, for that matter) who are exhibiting rebellion and episodes of sinful rage during the hormonal changes of adolescence. However, wives and daughters who are plagued by the same attitudes against their own husbands/fathers during hormonal turmoil may benefit from reading it as well.

Your comments and further helpful ideas concerning dealing with adolescent daughters would be very welcome!

My response:

Your "child" is really on the verge of young adulthood, which makes it very difficult to deal with her. When she was smaller, it was probably easier to set things straight by spanking, but spanking her now would, no doubt, be humiliating to both of you.

It is important to deal with the whole child: physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually.

There may be physical things which are needful which will affect the mental/emotional spheres:

-- plenty of sleep - 10 or more hours and perhaps some naps, too!
-- nourishing foods, avoiding sugar and salt, and plenty of water
-- lots of exercise, including helping you cook, clean, and care for siblings
-- pain relievers for headaches & tummy aches
-- perhaps some herbs specifically meant for hormonal upsets (someone suggested evening primrose oil -- not sure about that)

However, the spiritual always takes precedence over the physical and emotional/mental. As long as we live in it, the Flesh will continue to wage war against the soul.

Therefore, when you talk to your daughter, do you remind her

1. That she is under the authority of her parents who are under the authority of God, and that her disobedience to you is disobedience to Him also?

2. That she will one day perhaps be married with children and that, if she continues in this pattern of behavior when she isn't feeling well, she could destroy her family?

3. That she is not only sinning against God and her parents, but against her siblings who, no doubt, also bear the brunt of her outbursts, even if only as spectators?

4. That this may be evidence that she needs to be converted? This is a wonderful opportunity to share the good news of the grace of God through the Gospel. Let her know that, whether she is truly converted or not, you and Daddy are praying for her, and that she needs to pray for herself as well. God is able to overcome even our hormones!

5. That you love her even through these difficult growing years, and, because you love her, you cannot tolerate insubordination even when she isn't feeling well.

If she still refuses to obey, then be certain to bring her father into the conversation. You and he should agree 100% as a united front against her rebellion. Discuss with him ahead of time what the consequences will be for her refusal to obey. Instead of spanking, you may need to

-- Take away privileges
-- Ground her from pleasant activities (even if one of you has to stay home with her)
-- Send her to her room or some other room which has nothing for her to do except think about what she is doing wrong; we used to send our children to our bedroom instead of theirs -- it worked!

There may be times, however, when a girl will need extra help with her chores or be excused from heavy chores during the most fatiguing times of her monthly cycle. Even grown women find it necessary to take it easy during those days. However, it is important for a parent to discern when there is a legitimate need and when the child is faking it to get out of work. Let her know that you need to know when she is truly feeling ill from her monthly cycle in order to know how to help her through it.

However, whatever you do, do not give her any excuses for not obeying with a right attitude. Though there may be physical issues involved, you will create a monster if you allow her to use her physical problems to excuse ill behavior of any kind, but especially rebellion against authority. Consider the women who have murdered their own husbands and children, while justifying it because they were having PMS or postpartum depression! Never give in. Never give up. You will be doing your children, your child's future spouse, and your grandchildren a huge favor by helping her get control of this by the grace of God.