Through The Drama…


Drama.

I’ve heard it for 10 years now – “Wow, the daddy to four girls? You’re gonna have you hands full!” After about the 30th time of hearing that “encouragement”, I guess I became numb to it, usually nodding in rote agreement with a half smile on my face. But the reality of this inevitable season of life has begun.

I just did the math…2003 – 2015. A solid 12 years, a nice long life for say…a dog! But those 12 years represent the beginning of teen life to the end of it for my 4 girls. If I was on the back end of that spread, I could laugh…but I’m still way too close to the front end.

Lately the DIM (drama intensity meter) has ratcheted up a few levels around our home. Oh, its the usual culprits – boys, friends, sisters, school, etc. Now I am drama adverse and my sweet wife is drawn to drama like an after Thanksgiving sale at Target. After dealing with issues all day, she’ll retire to some prime time TV and watch the drama of others unfold on Reality TV! I’m more prone to slip out of the chaos and hide in my garage with my dog Harley…boy dog. And herein lies our gender issues.

I am convinced that the stress that our teen girls live with is the major cause of their drama, stress to keep up with the hectic pace of family life, intense competition among their peers, and the cultural influences to be like the girls they watch on TV and movies. “The culture has become so frenzied about achievement, girls feel even more pressure than before” says Roni Sandler, author of Understanding Girls’ Emotional Health. “They wear themselves out trying to do everything and be everything to everyone”. She says that its not that boys aren’t also stressed, but they don’t internalize it like girls. Boys tend to react to an issue and move on, whereas girls belabor it, over and over and over and over (got carried away, sorry).

With all of this pressure and stress, girls have lost their freedom to be who God has created them to be. Aren’t we all guilty of listening to the wrong influencers? Romans 6 says:

“You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. 17 But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, 18 one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!”

Sandler gives a few ideas for us parents seeking to relieve our girl’s stress and drama:

– Be her advocate. When she is truly overwhelmed step in and say enough is enough to her teacher or coach. Find ways to lighten her load.

– Give her a mental health day. Give her a day off to rest and catch up and get organized.

– Lighten her schedule. Ask her to choose among her favorite things.

– Let her change activities. If she is chronically complaining about an activity, give her time to find another passion.

– Rethink your expectations. Are you pushing her to be a superstar? Be honest with yourself about your role in her stress.

The more I become a student of the female gender, the more I realize that I know so very little. But as dads to girls, we must immerse ourselves into their world so that we can walk with them through this season of life.

My sole intention is to help them discover who they are in Christ. They are all Princesses of the King of Kings. They don’t have to live under the pressure of this world. True freedom awaits them.

Lord, thank you for girls, little and big. Help us as dads, brothers, uncles, and friends to love them as you love them – even through the drama.

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bailey on August 29, 2006 at 2:31 PM

    I LOVE YOU !!!!!! You are the best Dad any girl can ever have !!!!

  2. Very interesting and wonderful post, Roy. As you might imagine, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. One suggestion I would add to the list to reduce the stress in a young woman’s life is to grow her up with the knowledge that she is beautiful apart from clothes, makeup, jewelry, expensive hair, or any of those other things we like so much but seem to be forced on us sometimes by the media and our culture. I think it is worth it to educate our daughters as to the deception we see on billsboards and magazine covers every day. I have links to some Web sites that show the extent of alteration that happens to create the illusion of perfection. They were eye-opening for me.

    Keep up the great work! -Tina

  3. A little drama keeps life interesting, Dad, as well as a little mysterious. 🙂

  4. you have four very fortunate little ladies to have you for DAD! and tina, you are so right. media will lead young girls to believe that outer beauty is what counts most and what we should be putting emphasis on is the inner beauty!
    we need to teach them to look beyond the image projected from the mirror and cultivate the beauty within!

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