Forgiving An Adolescent Child & General Forgiveness Strategies

Ask the Author: Question & Response

My partner’s adolescent child has been very disrespectful from the beginning of this relationship. She has done everything to break us up – even to the last event of physically assaulting me. I have forgiven and been very patient up to this point but am struggling to forgive this, as well as the father who does not take charge of the situation. Just when I think that I have forgiven and let it go, my anger surfaces to my partner and then I know I still have not forgiven.

– Dawn, USA

My friend, imagine if you will, a perfect diamond being raised in a house of broken mirrors. Somewhere deep inside, this diamond knows that it is beautiful and deserving of respect and love. Yet over and over, she hears her parents arguing and being disrespectful to one another, and every time this occurs, another broken mirror is held in front of this child’s face. This occurs so often that she begins to forget the truth within her and accept the images that are shown to her as truth. Slowly and methodically, like a fog rolling toward heavenly lands, her parents’ behaviors and self-images begin to entomb her inner knowledge. She begins to believe: Maybe I’m not deserving of respect or of being loved. Maybe I’m not worth loving. So why should I give love and respect to others? She’s now afraid to try. For she, in her mind, has already failed her mother and father, and she unconsciously blames herself for not being able to keep them together. Now, even when someone holds a perfectly clean mirror in front of her, all she sees reflected there are cracks, fog and confusion. These cracks, fog and confusion now become what she projects to the outside world.

Before I continue to suggest to you what is being offered to me, let me say that professional family counseling might be needed here. It is perfectly fine to feel whatever it is you need to feel. Allow your feelings and emotions to surface, for it is in their surfacing that light can shine on them. Thus you, your partner and therapist can better see what needs to be dealt with. Your anger will continue to resurface as long as you keep sweeping your emotions, needs and desires under the rug. You teach people how to treat you. If you ask your partner to take charge and he doesn’t, and you stand for that, then you’re just piling more dust under the rug. This anger will then resurface, not only toward your partner, but also toward anyone or anything else that might be around when the wind blows. Professionals would probably not recommend you taking the disciplinarian role in this relationship. That responsibility mainly falls on the father. You need to be clear with the father that this is his responsibility, and if he needs to hear it from a professional, then make sure he does. If he values your relationship, then he will do so; if he does not, then you need to ask yourself why you have chosen such a partner.

Imagine an all-loving God whose only desire is your peace of mind and joy. Imagine, for a moment, that everything you now have in your life is something you have consciously or unconsciously chosen to experience in order to become a more joyful, loving and self-loving being. Ask yourself, what is this experience trying to teach me? What am I trying to tell myself? Are you trying to develop more patience toward others? Are you trying to become more understanding to the needs of those who have been hurt? Are you trying to develop more comprehensive forgiveness tools? Are you trying to remind yourself that you are worthy of having a partner who respects your thoughts, safety and feelings? Are you trying to remind yourself that you are worthy enough to stand up for yourself? What if this experience you are going through assists you in developing any of the above, would you not be grateful for it? Would greater peace of mind not replace stress and confusion if you but trusted God?

My friend, become a spotless mirror in which the holiness of the creator shines forth from you to all around you. Every time you communicate with this child, look through her brokenness and reflect her true light back. Try to spend some time alone with her and when you do, look into her eyes and speak from your heart. Tell her how you are feeling without blaming her. Apologize to her for anytime you might have been unkind. Take advantage of this time of year and write a handwritten letter mentioning all the positive qualities you think she has, and your hopes and dreams for your relationship with her. Mention anything you might be proud of her for. Invite God to help you write the letter and He will. Do your best not to argue with her father in front of her, or even when she is somewhere else in the house. Wait to be alone with her father or with a therapist to bring conflicting issues up.

In every argument that you might have with her or anyone else, remember this: the less insane person usually takes control of an argument by being quiet. Allow me to use your question to include a section of You Have Chosen to Remember, “Speaking with Anger vs. Speaking Your Truth,” pages 163 – 165:

Speaking with Anger vs. Speaking Your Truth

4 There is a difference between speaking with anger and speaking our truth. When we speak with anger, know that the ego-self is speaking. Know that we’re reacting to and focusing on an illusion we see as real. When we speak with anger we bring forth, knowingly or not, emotionally repressed feelings from the past. We replace the present with the past and we lose the opportunity to experience what is really going on.

When we speak with anger, we are not really concerned with how those listening to us will feel. All we really care about is that our point of view is heard. When we come from such a place, all we are doing is making the listener defensive. The listener then puts up a wall to defend himself or herself against the perceived attack. As a result, we end up arguing or shouting at a wall with the hopes of being heard. Regardless of how smart or right we believe ourselves to be, we will not be heard by a wall. Obviously, a wall is not a good listener, this creates frustration. The frustration leads to confusion, which then ends in regret. This person, knowing that he can not communicate with us, will move on to someone he believes will listen to what we did to him. This creates more frustration and miscommunication on everyone’s part. In short, whenever we speak with anger, regardless of whether or not we believe we have every right to do so – frustration, confusion, separation and regret are the end result.

Before making an effort to speak our truth, we must first understand how the ego has trained us. It has trained us to believe that defense is a proper response to a perceived attack. Thus it has taught us that when people begin to either disagree with us or raise their voices, we are under attack. The ego has taught us that it is right and honorable to defend ourselves, and so we do. We put up a wall, defending ourselves against the perceived attack of a brother or sister. The ego has reinforced in us that these actions are an attack, yet if we listened to our Godselves, it would remind us that these actions are simply calls for help, calls for love. Yes, any and every time that our brother or sister raises his or her voice to us, he or she is really asking to be loved.

When a baby or young child cries, what is he or she asking for? What do we usually offer? What is the result of your behavior toward your child? Do you not offer the child comfort and love? Does the child not respond by becoming calm, feeling comforted, smiling, laughing and continuing his or her play? Can you not see that this result is absolutely possible with all our brothers and sisters if we offer love and comfort instead of confrontation and defense? My friend, this offer of love and comfort is the Godself ’s answer any time we perceive a brother or sister attacking us, regardless of the manifestation. Thus, if we choose the Godself ’s way of reacting to a brother or sister’s perceived attack, we will create a safe place where two or more individuals with different points of view can come together. In other words, we can come together in a place where people agree to speak and listen with an open mind, as non-judgmentally as possible, so that all points of view can be discussed, heard, understood and respected. In order to create this place, try the following five steps:

  • Be quiet. Understand that the ego-self will try to answer first by attacking and defending. The less insane person in any argument takes control of it by being quiet.
  • Bring your thoughts into your Godself. Understand that your brother or sister is simply asking for love in the best way he or she knows how, in the moment.
  • Send your brother or sister peaceful and loving thoughts. Surround yourself and him or her with light and invite God to enter the situation.
  • Listen non-judgmentally to whatever your brother or sister believes he or she needs to express. Give your brother or sister the time he or she needs.
  • Go to your Godself and ask it how you should deal with the situation, what you should say, and when and how you should say it.

Understand that there are those who are so invested in the ego’s thought system that they believe that if we do not get physically upset, shout and argue with them, we do not really care about them or love them. Sit quietly for a moment and understand what this says about those individuals. Imagine how lost and confused they must feel. They equate love with being physically upset, shouting, arguing and regret. But do not judge them, for they simply have bought the ego’s fairy tale as true. My friend, only small children believe fairy tales are true. Thus, if we encounter such beings, simply offer them even more comfort and love, and one day they will realize that comfort and love are the only sane responses to comfort and love.

My friend, imagine giving birth to a baby girl. Then imagine having to leave the Earth without her. What kind of woman would you pray for, to help her grow and develop into a caring young being? Would you not pray for a woman with patience, a person who would bring her emotional and spiritual stability? Would you not want to find the best adult female example possible to assist in strengthening her self-esteem? Has God not in some way entrusted you with His daughter? Be it for 5 minutes, 5 years, or 50 years, God has chosen you as one of this child’s main examples of what a woman should be, how she should act and react. Remember Who stands besides you, Who trusts you to aid His child during trying times. In more ways than you can now know, this child is an answer to your prayers, and you are the physical manifestation of her answered prayers.

My dear friend, take a look in the mirror; take a look within yourself and find that part of you that is God, then let Him speak to His daughter through you. This diamond may need some polishing. But both you and I, thanks to God, know that this is possible and know that this type of example is much needed and secretly prayed for by those asking to once again be touched and caressed by understanding and kindness. My dear friend, heed this child’s call for love and healing. Your creator is holding you, His spotless mirror, in His hands. Reflect back to this lost child her true home, her true being and light, the love, splendor, exquisite, magnificent and brilliant being she truly is.

This Q&A Includes The Following Topics:
  • Forgiving child of partner.
  • Strategies for resolving conflict with partner’s child(ren).
  • General forgiveness strategies.

This question and response can be found in the book - There is Another Way: Overcoming Real World Challenges. If you enjoyed this Q&A, you'll really enjoy the book which is filled with inspiration and effective strategies for overcoming life's challenges. The book is due to come out in 2025. Click here to sign up for our newsletter so that you can be notified when it is ready. Thanks.

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