Sat | Mar 24, 2018

How to handle my rebellious teenage daughter

Published:Saturday | April 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM

How to handle my rebellious teenage daughter

Dear Joan,

I am now at the end of my tether when it comes on to dealing with my rebellious teenage daughter. It seems that everything is escalating into a major argument. Her father is not around; he left me shortly after she was born. I made no attempt to keep in touch and I wouldn't know where to find him now even if I tried.

I get the feeling that my daughter blames me for her not having a father around. When she was younger, I explained to her that her father just upped and left, I had to take on the burden of taking care of her, and that I had no regrets as I love her so much.

That seemed to have appeased her, but the older she gets, the more she keeps asking about him. I told her that I have no idea where he is, but she doesn't seem to believe me.

I am a bit hurt, too, as I am the one who has been there for her all her life. I have sacrificed a lot to ensure that she doesn't lack anything, and yet she here is giving me attitude about a scoundrel who didn't care enough about her to stay in touch. It's as if he totally wiped her existence from his memory, so I don't see why I have to be dealing with this.

How can I get it into my daughter's head so she can change her attitude. Frankly, I am getting tired of it.

- F. P.

Dear F. P.,

The first thing that stands out in your letter is the many 'I's' you have in it. It seems to be that you are placing too much emphasis on yourself and not on your daughter. She is the one who needs a lot of love and attention right now. Your anger against her father has come out quite clear in what you have written. You described him as a scoundrel. I hope you have not been using uncomplimentary terms to his daughter.

Yes, he abandoned her and you sacrificed, but that is not a reason to rub it in your child's face. She needs a father and your job is now to try and reason with her. Allow her to share her emotions and, if possible, I suggest that you both try to find him. There are many avenues you can explore - a letter to the paper, social media, radio; just get creative.

Finding him is not for you. It is to ensure your daughter's peace of mind, and maybe helping her satisfy her need for identifying with her father.


Does God expect me to forgive my rapist?

Dear Joan,

It's been two years since I gave my life to the Lord and I must say that I am enjoying the journey. However, something has got me really upset. The other day, we had a discussion in the youth group. One member asked about forgiveness. The pastor said that as Christians, we are called to do so. He even said that sometimes people wronged us in some terrible ways, but we can't expect to be forgiven if we are not prepared to do so ourselves.

That comment brought me back to something that happened a few years ago to me. I was on my way to church when I was brutally raped by a gunman. I will never forget his face. It has been imprinted on my mind and I feel if I ever see him again, I will exact my revenge.

Even now, although I have accepted Christ, I can still feel the anger and need to hurt him as much as he hurt me. Are you saying that I am not forgiven then because I just can't let go of this hatred for him.

- A. W.

Dear A.W.,

Congratulations on accepting Christ as your Saviour. The journey is not an easy one. It is a gradual process, and don't beat up on yourself too much. Our God is more understanding than you know. Regarding the kind of hurt you endure, it's not easy letting go of the rage and the need for revenge. Forgiveness, my dear, is not for the rapist; it's for you. The only way you will ever find real peace of mind and can move on and live a fulfilled life is to decide to forgive him in your heart. Ask God to help you to deal with the anger and bitterness. Just take it one day at a time and allow God to do the rest.


n Do you have an issue in the Church and need guidance? Send questions to familyand