We Got a Girl in the War: Part One


Josh Ritter, a musician, wrote a song called, “Girl in the War.” I heard it on Pandora and some of the words spoke to me, especially concerning the psychologists and therapists that we were paying to help our youngest daughter. At times we felt like quoting the song, “If they can’t find a way to help her, they can go to” …well “HE double-hockey sticks.” Also, as parents of an 18 year old “adult,” all we can really to at this point, as the song goes: “is turn up the music and pray that she makes it through.”

The war I speak of is not on the other side of town, it’s not in the Middle East, it’s not over there, it’s not somewhere else…it’s here in our own home. The war? The struggle of our youngest daughter to be independent, her own person, who she is and will be for the rest of her life. It’s the breaking out of the cocoon of which she has been living in her whole life. It’s the war of morals versus free will. It’s the war of wills versus rules, it’s the war against what was taught and what everybody else is doing, it’s a war of what has been proven true and what needs to be yet proven again….the hard way.
Age of EnlightenmentThere is this thing that seems to be happening to young girls as they turn a certain age, 15, 16…17, or worse 18, when they decide that they have a say in what they do, who they are with, and where they go. At age 18, the world changes for the parents…forever. Doctors, teachers, guidance counselors, therapists stop talking to them…unless the parents had the smarts to have the child sign a waiver which states that they approve open communication with the parents after she turns legal. Even with this permission, the communication can be guarded to protect the new “adult.”Rules change

All of a sudden the relationship changes within the family and that young, sweet girl disappears, I hear, for a time and then returns in a different form, calmer and more mature. But until that time, the household goes into turmoil…for a time. New rules need to be drawn up and enforced to help alleviate some of the stress on the parents and instill some control and SAFETY for the child (I don’t care what they say, 18 is still a child).  But these rules may be the “first to go.” Then all….eh-hem, H.E. double-hockey sticks breaks out in the household.

Mourning ensues

As her parents, we are at a complete loss, looking at our transforming off-spring, wondering what we did or didn’t do, or just “why did this happen to our little girl?” Going over and over again in my mind the fact that  we loved our children, never compared them to each other, brought them to Jesus, to Mass every Sunday and special days, she was a cantor for 2 years at the parish we belonged to and sang beautifully. She received the sacrament of confirmation last year. All I keep asking myself is, did I do too much? I have cried myself to sleep many a night over how much my little girl has changed, wishing I could have stopped her from doing some of the dangerous things she did with dangerous people far older than she. Since there is no way to penetrate the stubborn hard shell that covers this precious young lady mind, all the parents can do is basically get down on their knees and…

“turn up the music and pray that she makes it through”…..

To be continued.


Copyright 2015 Ebeth


About Author

Ebeth Weidner, a Master Catechist and cradle Catholic who considers herself a Catholic information junkie, writes from her heart about the faith and hope she finds in the Catholic Church. She is the author of “A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars” blog. She is the wife of a research science Professor and mom to 3 great young adults people living on the coastal side of North Carolina.


  1. I feel your pain. I’ve been through this with three sons and it’s not easy. I wish someone would explain to me how at 18 they are old enough to make their own decisions, but I still have to pay for everything. I’ve still not figured that one out!

    • Elena! I know, right???? Well, the therapist we were using for our daughter said at one point, the whole reason the age of adulthood is at 18 is so they can become soldiers and fight in wars….sheesh!!!!!

    • Deanna, indeed, I have watched a taxi drive away from our house with our youngest daughter in it not knowing whether she would come home or not…or when, saying to Jesus, and Mother Mary, “You have her now, I can’t do ANYTHING for her…she’s yours”

  2. In my experience, it is a disservice to your children to allow them to make their own decisions while you are still paying for ANYTHING. Autonomy comes with financial independence because before that point, children are immature and unequipped to make their own decisions.
    Hard but true.

    • Anita, We agree whole-hardheartedly. There were many a times the keys to the family car were hidden from her and she walked to class and work.

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