By Li Han
My Daughter’s Talking Back Hurt Me
My daughter has been brought up by me alone. As a child, she was inseparable from me. As soon as she came back from school, she talked to me about what had happened at school. Sometimes if she talked too much, I would feel annoyed, wishing that she would grow up quickly. But equally I was worried about her disobeying when she grew up. As a result, I was constantly saying to her, “Be a sensible and well-behaved child.” Fortunately, she was obedient, which was a mercy for me.
In a blink of an eye, she was sixteen years old. I didn’t know where she was when she seemed to have been a changed girl, and she was unwilling to talk with me. When I said to her, she was cold, and was always upset. Sometimes, scarcely had I started to scold her because of her doing wrong when she immediately had a very impatient expression on her face. Then, frowning, she said, “Ah, mum. Don’t bother. Don’t go on …” Then, with her mouth puckering, she slammed the door violently, ignoring me. Seeing her like this, I felt very uncomfortable, thinking to myself: In the past you were very obedient; how do you get like this now? What’s wrong with you? You are increasingly misunderstanding my heart. What I say is all for your good. Why do you not appreciate my care? You’re in the period of rebelliousness, and most of children have turned bad in this period. If I don’t care for you but let you continue like this, won’t you turn bad? No. I must discipline you. However, in the following days, the more I did so, the more the result ran counter to my desire. Not only did she refuse to listen to me, but she wasn’t willing to talk with me. In this way, my relationship with her became worse and worse. At last, we even couldn’t speak a word to each other. My heart was especially pained and confused, at a loss what went wrong.
God’s Word Revealed the Root of the Problem
In pain, I thought of God’s word, “Parents raise their children from infancy to adulthood, nagging them and looking after them throughout. How do parents see time? Whether twenty or thirty years later, their attitude toward their children is the same as when they were born, it doesn’t change. The child has, in fact, long since grown up, he’s long since established his own way of thinking, state of mind, insight, and viewpoints—he’s long since had these things—yet the adults never realize this, they can never keep up, they always talk and interact with the child as if he’d just been born.” “In particular, parents always treat their children like slaves, or else spoil them, overindulge them, and dote on them like a kitten or a puppy, whilst holding them tight, keeping a tight rein on them, strictly controlling them—with the result that the child stops being a child, and being a parent becomes very tiring.” God’s word lightened my heart like a beacon and allowed me to see what I had expressed was just the state God’s words revealed. In my conception, I thought: My daughter is a child forever. She’s young, with few experiences; she doesn’t understand many things and needs me to take the helm for her. Furthermore, what I say is all for her own good, so she should listen. Therefore, I always controlled her, kept a tight rein on her, and sometimes even beat and scolded her, with the result that not only did she still not listen to me, but the relationship between us was getting more and more strained. In fact, she has grown up. She has her own way of thinking and viewpoints, and she has her own opinions when encountering things. However, I don’t realize these things at all, nor do I communicate with her. I continue treating her as a child and ask her to do everything as my will … After realizing all of this, I finally understood that what alienated my daughter from me was not that she was in the period of rebelliousness, but that my method of education was wrong and that my thought was too old. It was a fact that my daughter had grown up. I should first change my own way of thinking and never strictly control her; when faced with some issues, I should communicate more with her, learn about her thought and feelings and respect her choice. Afterward, I put this into practice and the relationship between us moderated somewhat.
My Daughter’s Puppy Love Worried Me a Lot
At the age of 16, she dropped out and sold clothes in a clothing store. Later I heard that she was dating a boy. At the news, I was really unbearable. I scarcely dared believe my ears, thinking to myself: She is so young. If she has a date now, her life may be destroyed. I remembered my cousin’s daughter, two years senior to mine. She got acquainted with a boy while working. Not long afterward, she eloped with the boy. When her families found her, she had been pregnant. The boy lived in a mountain village, and his household condition wasn’t good. My cousin was angry about this and thus fell ill. The more I thought, the more my heart felt uncomfortable. I worried a lot about my daughter but I didn’t know what to do.
My daughter had seldom talked with me at home after work since she had a boyfriend. Even if I actively said to her, she was very cold. When I asked her about something, she answered “Er” or “Ah” to deal with and dodge me, with an expression of ignoring me. I felt much pain in my heart. I had reared her from infancy to youth, but I little thought that she would treat me as if I was a stranger. I wanted to enlighten her as to the harm of puppy love so that she could break off the relationship with the boy. Nonetheless, since the topic was too sensitive, I feared if I didn’t speak properly, it would have an exactly opposite effect. But if I didn’t say, I was very worried that someday she would elope with that boy. It puzzled me a lot.
After Quarreling, We Became Enemies
One day, she came back home after work. I tried asking her, “What happened to you and that boy?” She had a look at me with a grim face, without saying a word. After I asked her again and again, she said to me extremely impatiently, “Never you mind about me later!” At her words, I thought: You don’t treat me as your mother at all. How could you do this! Then I angrily said to her, “I’m your mother. If I don’t care for you, who will? You’ve grown up and have the abilities. Right? You can do it without me. If I had early known that you annoyed me so much, in the beginning …” Hearing my words, stiffening her neck, she walked before me and said angrily, “Come! You beat me to death!” She kept pitting herself against me and even said out such words that made me broken-hearted, so that I quivered with anger. I thought: How come I have raised such a disappointing daughter? At dinner, she didn’t sit around the same table with me. She took some food and went upstairs with the bowl to eat. I thought that it wasn’t a solution that we were locked in this kind of stalemate, so I had to enlighten her again. Unexpectedly. I had just gone upstairs when she went downstairs on seeing me. I followed her downstairs, but she ran upstairs again. She tried every means to shun me, unwilling to stay together with me or say a word to me. I was in a bad mood, not knowing how to recover the relationship between us.
In those days, she didn’t see me in the eye as if I was her enemy. Once we were divided in opinion, we would fall out. Seeing her like this, I felt miserable. It is said that daughter is the apple of the mother’s eyes, but how could my daughter be the apple of my eyes? She simply is my enemy. Our relationship became so cold that I was pained to the extreme. If I put her puppy love aside, I was afraid that she would be ruined by the evil social trends. If I dealt with it, she would hate me a lot worse. I really could do nothing. In misery and helplessness, all I could do was come before God and pray to Him, “Oh, God! My relationship with my daughter is strained. I am unaware of what to do. I am very pained and helpless. May You enlighten and lead me to understand Your Will and know how to practice.”