Choosing Battles

I don't want to be a nit picker.

I feel like I nit pick too much, especially with my teenage daughter. She is a great kid, involved in church, gets good grades in school, and gets along fairly well with her brothers, so why do I make comments that are upsetting to her?

As I was listening to a talk radio program on my way to work, they were discussing teenagers and their quirks. They said that after interviewing 1200 teens, one of the most common complaints is that parents don't allow their kids to experiment with their identity when it comes to changing their looks or any other non-moral issues.


Teenagers want to try different hairstyles, pierce their nose, wear plaid knee socks with shorts, and convince themselves that flip flops go with every outfit.

Instead of accepting the fact that my girl is experimenting with her hair, trying different styles and approaches to maneuvering around her chin length locks, I tell her that her hair is too short for a ponytail, and that I spent way too much money on her haircut for her to shove it into a one inch long ponytail. Really, what difference does it make?

Today she was wearing the same jeans that she wore yesterday. I made a comment, wondering if those were the only jeans that fit her why she is wearing them for the second day in a row. "They're comfortable." she told me. Really, what difference does it make if she wears them every day this week, unless they are filthy, and even then, who would notice except an adult? At least she isn't asking me to spend hundreds of dollars on several pair of new jeans.

She wears a ring around her neck that is attached to a 10 inch long string. The string she obtained from searching our garage and discovering a large spool of white string used to tie back branches and vines in our yard. She continues to disregarded my suggestion of purchasing some black ribbon or at least something more appealing for her ring necklace other than the same string used to tie roast beef into a tight bundle. I should let her wear the string and just shut my mouth. In addition, the ring is engraved with a Bible scripture which is much better than a marijuana leaf or satanic symbol. Really, what difference does it make?

I'm learning to let go of the little things.

I'm learning to allow my teenager to discover her identity in this world without her stepping out of bounds.

I'm learning to ignore the insignificant identity changes that don't really matter in the big picture.

I learning each day how to parent, better.

It doesn't get easier, it just gets different, daily.


Kim said…
Thanks. My son turned 13 in May, and some of the things you expressed in this post are some of the same things I struggle with.

My son's not me, nor should he be. However, in his 13 years he has become a Spirit-filled Christian with a huge heart for worship. Most mom's would give both arms and both legs for a kid like that, huh? Thank the Lord I've got one!

We've "buzzed" our son's hair since he was 3, but he recently expressed the desire to let it grow some. My husband and I have both expressed nervousness about where we're headed with this...we'll see.

Thank you for reminding me what's important in this life with a teenager.