Life with Teenage Girls: The Drama of Correction

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Drama seems to fill the life of teen girls. The simplest things…. illogical things… tend to tip them into hysteria. Although it is humorous to look back at the episodes that created such drama, when going through it, you feel like you’d rather jab a fork in your eye.

Each personality and sensitivity level produce unique sets of melodramatic episodes. One of my daughters doesn’t quite think through her decisions, while the other is super sensitive and becomes emotional at the drop of a hat. What they both have in common? An extreme dislike to correction. You know, because mom is just a hysterical old woman who makes a big deal about EVERY silly thing according them. “It’s no big deal, Mom.” So eye rolls and sighs are common occurrences.

We homeschool and my freshman goes to twice a week classes. She had an assignment on Thursday to watch a video for a math lesson. I was out all afternoon taking my other daughter to drama rehearsals. When I come home and get started on dinner, she is treating her schoolwork as completed.

“Did you watch that video?” I asked

“Oh, I couldn’t find it. I looked on Google classroom but it wasn’t there.”

I stop my wiping of the counter, waiting to see if that is all she had to say.

It was.

“So did you message your math teacher on Remind, to ask about it?”

“Umm… no.”

“Why not?”

“Well I didn’t think about it.”

At this point I am exhaling with my eyes closed. “So you’re telling me, that when you couldn’t find your assignment, your reaction was going on with your day….. just treating it like it could be skipped???” My tone tried to convey the incredulousness of my thoughts at the moment.

At this point she kinda shrugs her shoulders and avoids eye contact.

Now my girls tend to do one of three things when reprimanded. Tears. Eye rolls. Or walking away. (Stomp away may be more accurate. Or flop??) I’m sure there are more moms like me who make their initial response, then the more they stew about the situation, the more they come up with something to say. You know…..lecture.  We gotta get our thoughts together.

So I start in on my daughter again. It’s not responsible. Why wouldn’t she not even text me to ask about it. Blah, blah, blah. One minute lecture, tops. I swear not more than a minute. As soon as I take a pause, she stands up and says, “Okay. Good night. I’m going to bed.”

I leaned back to look at the clock on the oven. 6:30pm.

Yep. 6:30.

If there was any question how much she wanted to avoid any possibility of me starting up again, that should tell you. She was going to avoid any more lecture if she could. Even if it meant going to bed three hours early.

Now, back my evening up to 5:30 that same evening. My younger daughter, 8th grade, had a math test the following day. I already had told her we were going to review any wrong answers on her assignments after dinner. Now, this daughter, this is my emotional one. Really emotional. Like all I have to do is breath wrong and tears seems to flow. The simplest thing sets her off, often to my bewilderment, and it’s never logical.

At 5:30 she says, “Mom, when is dinner gonna be ready?”

“Well, I don’t know. I just finished the prep work, but I wasn’t going to start cooking yet.”

“Okay. But when is it going to be ready?”

“I don’t know! Why?”

“Because I’m hungry.”

By 6:15 I have dinner ready. We sit to eat. She is poking around her fried rice (which she knew I was cooking. She is the one who picked dinner for goodness sakes.)

“Why are you playing with your food?”

“I’m just not hungry.”

Did you ever have a moment where the world seemed to stop spinning because what just happened was so ludicrous, the earth seemed to match your own thoughts? (insert brake sounds)

“What?” My eyebrows rise to show my perturb. “You bug me before dinner because you’re so hungry and now you’re not????” Pause. “Eat it. All of it.” Just on principle, right?

She sits there somberly for the next 30 minutes, stretching the time to eat a pile of fried rice. All the while, she is working herself into an emotional frenzy to prepare herself for the math problems we need to do together. Ya know, because math and emotions go so well together.

So by 7pm, I have one daughter in bed, and one crying at the kitchen table while trying to review math concepts. Her emotional state just got worse. She doesn’t like being wrong. She doesn’t like me correcting her schoolwork and making her face her incorrect answers. When I ask her how many millimeters are in a meter (after reminding her that the metric system is based on 10’s, 100’s and 1000’s) I get the answer of a million and then 20. Gives you an idea how fun this math review was, right?

We as humans often  dislike correction. Our natural tendency is to bristle. And as we grow up, we don’t always get much better at receiving it than our kids do. We may just hide it better. Do you try to avoid correction? Do you crumble into a pile of tears if you face it? Do you get angry and deflect blame? Or do you let correction correct you?

The book of Proverbs has much to say about correction. My favorite is Proverbs 12:1, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge. But he who hates correction is stupid.”

The Bible says “stupid”? Yes. Yes it does. If you find yourself avoiding correction, deflecting correction, of terrorized by correction, change your thought process today. Our response to correction often reflects our heart condition. It reflects how big our pride is and reveals how much it gets in our way. It reflects how much we truly desire genuine growth versus status quo. It reflects whether we want to be ignorant of our own weakness and thus stay locked in their power or get uncomfortable at the sight of our own flaws in order to grow beyond them. It reflects how much we may define ourselves by our momentary failures, rendering us incapable of accepting the maturity that comes from correction.

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, just as a father the son in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12

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