I am currently working in Afghanistan as a contractor after many years of military service. Being a single parent and sole provider has made it difficult to be home for my three daughters. I’m down to my youngest and she’s spiraling out of control. … Is there anything … that could help with unruly children?
— A recent question from a JJIE reader.
Young women and girls are having almost as many adjustment challenges in their lives as young males. It is amazing to me in this day and age that we sometimes find it hard to communicate with our own children. We must learn to reestablish healthy relationships with our family members.
Adolescents are often too proud to ask for help from adults and therefore they rely on generating answers to complex problems through their peers or on their own. It is the responsibility of the parent to use some discretion in securing professional allies for girls to discuss their personal challenges. Young ladies can be very protective of whom they allow into their circle of influence.
I would encourage you to enlist the help of her older siblings in order to seek some clarification of what is really bothering your youngest child. I would listen very carefully to the feedback of your older daughter to see if there is anything that you could be doing differently. I would anticipate that some type of separation anxiety is part of the problem. Afghanistan is a great distance from home and your daughter may feel that everyone has abandoned her and that she has no one to answer to but herself.
I would recommend that you contact your Army headquarters that you were deployed from to find out what specific programs are in place to begin to address this issue.
There are trained professionals on call to assist you and your daughter in addressing this challenge. Unfortunately, the teenage rebellious child syndrome has developed into a growing concern for many soldiers returning home from recent tours of duty overseas.
There are newly emerging organizations in place to assist children of soldiers/contractors returning home from active duty. What makes this challenge so unique is the successive number of deployments that soldiers and families experience in a relatively short period of time. There have been a variety of new initiatives that can provide targeted assistance for each impacted family member.
There are a variety of school-based programs that may be of assistance as well. Your daughter’s school guidance counselors are trained to intervene and offer viable solutions that most teenage girls can relate to.
Don’t give up on your daughter! You must be determined to get the type of help you and your daughter need to help her through this very difficult transition into adulthood.
This is only a general answer to a complex question, since each case is different and just as complex be sure to seek help from a professional adviser of your choosing to help solve your individual family needs
Doc Holliday’s latest book “Reconnecting, Redirecting & Redefining 21st Century Males (Amazon.com)