My oldest stood expectantly in her doorway, watching me.
“You don’t want a hug, do you?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I am a teenager, after all.” With a grin, she wrapped her long arms around me and squeezed tightly.
My daughter just entered her teen years, and we frequently chuckle over what many teens find to be unacceptable behavior. On this particular morning, a close relationship with Mom was the topic of discussion.
As we talked, I gave her a bit of advice that I learned as a teenager: Never get into gripe sessions about parents.
Negativity feeds negativity.
As a teen, I was blessed with a few older women I could occasionally confide in. Some were journeymen fresh out of college. Others were older single missionaries. Either way, I knew if I had a real problem, they would listen. But they would also not accept any bad-mouthing from me about my parents.
Peers were a different story. If the conversation ever turned toward frustration with parents, conditions could quickly escalate from minor frustration to outright anger. Something that was small could quickly become a wedge between parent and child. I hated those conversations. I knew what they could do to my contentment and attitude, and I did not want it.
So, I made it a point to never bash my parents publicly. If I really needed to vent or seek advice, I knew who I could trust.
As my daughter and I talked, I reminded her that there will be times of frustration for her. She will, on occasion, want nothing more than to gripe with friends about how unfair and cruel her parents are. But, I am praying now that God will provide that safe place for her to vent. I want her to have wise counsel like I did.
Isn’t this a marriage post?
You’re probably wondering why I have spent over three hundred words gabbing about parenting on a Marriage Monday. Let’s just say that my little “never gripe about parents” practice in high school has been perfect training for marriage!
There are times I get frustrated with my husband and I need to talk it out. But, there are very few people who will ever hear me speak negatively about my husband. Why? Because griping breeds griping whether you’re a teenager or a full-grown adult. When wives get together and complain about their husbands, those poor men suddenly have no chance. Their wives discover that they are agitated about things that had never bothered them before, simply because a girlfriend started griping about that particular issue in her own marriage.
When I need to truly talk something out, I go to one of those rare friends who will listen, identify, and then do whatever they can to help strengthen my marriage. Those conversations ease my frustration. Those conversations help me refocus. Those conversations leave me both relieved of my burden and stronger in my love for my husband.
Are you tempted to gripe today? Prayerfully seek a trusted friend who will help you refocus instead.