Introducing "Mom Says/Dad Says," an exclusive Christian parental advice column by Gregory Slayton, former U.S. Ambassador to Bermuda and author of the best-selling book Be a Better Dad Today: Ten Tools Every Father Needs, and his wife, Marina Slayton, author of the new book Be The Best Mom You Can Be. The Slaytons have been featured on Fox and Friends, Focus on the Family Radio and numerous other media outlets. They donate 100% of their royalties from parenting books to fatherhood and family non-profits.
Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, Governors Jeb Bush and Sam Brownback and Pastors Tim Keller and Luis Palau, among others, have endorsed the Slaytons. In their exclusive series for The Christian Post, both Marina and Gregory will answer thoughtful Christian parents seeking to raise their children up in the goodness of the Gospel and the Glory of God. If you would like to have Marina and Gregory answer your questions, please contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent's Question: My wife just read to me an article you wrote providing advice to a parent of a 16 year old girl caught lying, with the discovery having been through reading her text messages. My wife and I are trying to work through a similar problem with our daughter. The issue is more complicated in that:
(A) our daughter was caught once before, about – months ago, conducting an inappropriate relationship by text message. Months earlier she had embarked on another inappropriate relationship by email.
(B) in both cases the inappropriate relationships were with other girls.
(C) the conversations were filled with fantastic lies about our home life. Everything in her descriptions were completely "over the top."
So far we've ended outside communication for her and restricted her freedom outside the house. Her learner's permit has been put on indefinite hold. Most importantly, my wife and I have had three significant, God-centered and scripture centered discussions with her. These have been wonderful opportunities to see her grow dramatically in faith.
We are working with a Christian counsellor and our Pastor to try to get through this. Our level of oversight and conversation have increased dramatically. And we are looking at issues like her appearance (between androgynous and masculine), and memberships in (name withheld).
By way of background, she was adopted from (info withheld) by me and my first wife. My daughter suffered emotional and physical abuse as a result of (info withheld). When my daughter was (info withheld) we separated and she and her brother lived with me full time. Over the course of the following four years, we divorced, my ex-wife was in and out of mental hospitals and ultimately committed suicide. I remarried – to a wonderful Christian woman (who helped bring me to the Lord!). My daughter and my wife get along very well, but there are still wounds that need healing. Your advice on our next steps would be greatly appreciated – but also our anonymity.
Thank you and bless you,
Parents of troubled daughter
Dear Parents of TD;
We appreciate your honesty. Thank you. Being truly honest about our problems is the first step towards healing.
We wholeheartedly support your efforts to seek outside counseling with your pastor and a professional Christian counselor. Hopefully both will bring wisdom, perspective and guidance. As it is written in the Scriptures, there is victory in the counsel of many.
Here are a few thoughts for you, humbly recognizing that in this limited venue I can only skim the surface:
Perhaps your daughter does not understand who she is or whose she is for a very good reason: rejection. Rejected by her birth parents, rejected from her country and then (effectively) rejected by the mother who adopted her. As a result she probably feels she is "different" and "unacceptable." She is not alone. In a generation that worships tolerance many modern teens are actually intolerant of each other because they themselves do not feel they belong. They cannot show love in a healthy manner because they don't feel loved. Teen suicide is at record levels in part because so many don't have a sense of belonging and they don't feel loved.