By Michael Holland     

“Even when I breathe I disgust my daughter.”  A man quoted this to me this week as he described his current season of life with 2 teenage daughters.  What is it about teenage girls that requires them to vent every ounce of frustration and drama at their parents?  These teenage girls huff, they sigh, they roll their eyes, they contort their faces to reveal their utter disdain, they yell, they slam doors, they tell you how horrible you are, they argue with everyone in the family, and they cry.

I lived — rather I survived — through our season of a teenage daughter.  Here are the lessons I learned.

Figuring Out Men – She pokes and pushes at her father to test him.  To see what real men are made of and gain insight to what she should expect from men.  This is a crucial role we play as fathers. We must model the role a man should play in a woman’s life creating and managing the circle of safety that lets our daughter know that we are on watch.  That we have what it takes to provide a loving and safe environment.  That we have high expectations and full belief that she is the most beautiful and the smartest girl in the whole world.  Even when she’s shooting daggers from her rolling eyes and speaking tremendously disrespectful comments.

She’s Tired – When she arrives home she has survived another day in the darwinian social hell we call middle school and high school.  She has juggled the fashion, relationship and political protocols that are not written down and only found through trial and error.  She’s used all her emotional energy to be a friend to many, to put up with the immature ramblings and behaviors of her tribe, and to deflect all the arrows of expectation thrown her way.  So most of that drama and craziness seen at home is, ironically, her showing how comfortable and safe she feels at home.  She can open the floodgates of emotion and cleanse her soul of all the muck from the day.

The Angel Hidden Within – It will seem at times that a demon possessed monster has taken over the soul of your daughter.  But there is an angel hidden within that is still yearning to grow.  You’ll see this angel at particular times, for instance when she needs money, wants the latest iPhone upgrade, wants to have 9 girls sleepover or when she wants to go to that concert with 75K people and just her friend.   The sweet smile she had as a 7 year old will come out, that smile that melted your heart when you arrived home from being gone.  You remember, that smile that was attached to the little girl who hugs her daddy to tightly.  Yes, that angel still exists!  Though she may be using the mystic of that angel for selfish motives at the moment, recognize that she’s still alive.  Never forget and never stop searching for that angel within.

Time is your friend during the teenage daughter season of life.  Put the time in to be with her even when everything she says and does pushes you away.  You need to reveal the type of man she should be looking for as her future husband.  Yea, that’s going to happen sooner than you think.