“What Happened to My Child?”
Scott and Sandra * were stunned as their 15-year-old daughter entered the living room. Her hair, once blond, was now bright red! Even more baffling was the conversation that ensued.
“Did we give you permission to dye your hair?”
“Well, you never said I couldn’t.”
“Why didn’t you ask us?”
“Because I knew you’d say no!”
AS Scott and Sandra will readily attest, adolescence is a time of upheaval—not just for youths but also for their parents. Indeed, many fathers and mothers are utterly unprepared for the dramatic changes that take place when their child reaches puberty. “Without warning, our daughter became different,” recalls Barbara, a mother in Canada. “I wondered, ‘What happened to my child?’ It was as if she were taken away while we were sleeping and replaced with someone else!”
Barbara’s experience is certainly not unique. Consider what parents from around the world told Awake!
“When he became an adolescent, my son suddenly seemed more opinionated and more inclined to question our authority.”—Lia, Britain.
“Our daughters became more self-conscious, especially about their appearance.”—John, Ghana.
“My son wanted to make his own decisions. He didn’t want to be told what to do.”—Celine, Brazil.
“Our daughter wasn’t so keen on being hugged or kissed by us anymore.”—Andrew, Canada.
“Our boys became more aggressive. Rather than accept our decisions, they challenged and debated them.”—Steve, Australia.
“My daughter hid her feelings. She was shut up in her own little world, and she’d get annoyed at me when I’d try to enter it.”—Joanne, Mexico.
“Our children tended to be secretive and wanted to have more privacy. Often, they preferred to be with their friends rather than with us.”—Daniel, Philippines.
As the parent of an adolescent, you may find that some of the above comments could be your very own. If so, be assured that you are not helpless in your quest to understand this “stranger” in your midst, your teenage son or daughter. The Bible can help. How?
Wisdom and Understanding
A Bible proverb says: “Acquire wisdom, acquire understanding.” (Proverbs 4:5) Both qualities are essential when dealing with an adolescent. You need understanding to look beyond the behavior and perceive just what your child is going through. You also need wisdom to respond in a way that continues to guide your teen toward responsible adulthood.
Do not be fooled by what appears to be an ever-widening gap in the relationship between you and your son or daughter. The fact is, adolescents need—and even want—their parents’ involvement during this challenging stage of life. How can understanding and wisdom help you to provide such guidance?
^ par. 2 Names in this series have been changed.