Why parenting teenage girls is a little bit like the middle east.

We  have three daughters. Two of the teenage variety and one in the last-stages of pre-teen/post “tweenager” era.

I’ve had friends who have children of the male variety pull me aside and whisper, under their breath so their wives cannot hear them, “So what’s it like, you know…having all those daughters?”  It’s more a curiosity question, a  “So did you see that horrible  train wreck outside of  town”  question more than a “Do you have to wade through piles of bra’s to get to the front door?” kind of question.

Like they think I am living in some sort of parallel estrogen universe; that I inhabit a land where the Loch Ness Monster swims in the bathtub, or the bearded woman from the carnival keeps a room in the basement. Sometimes, guys who have all sons, or even those with a garden variety family look at me with incredulous looks and (as if I have climbed to the top of the beanstalk and have lived to tell about it) wonder “Tell me, how do you do it, WITH ALL THOSE GIRLS?”

And their eyes repeat the question…”WITH ALL THOSE GIRLS?????”

And I tell them it’s simple really, parenting with all teenage girls is like living in the middle east.

You just have to realize three key things: 1) you often have multiple enemies; 2) some of the enemies are moving about unidentified; and 3)  you are always are going to be surrounded by warring factions.

And at home, like in the middle east, the alliances will often change.


As in from battle to battle or even moment to moment. I’ve personally witnessed times when the allegiances change in the middle of a moment in the middle of a battle. Like there was no loyalty or logic to the arrangement. No sense of long-term ramifications or potential signing of cease-fire documents. Just the changing of teams in the heat of the battle. Where  just like that Warrior 1 will drop ranks with Warrior 2 and saddle up with Warrior 3.

And then, as crazy as it sounds, perhaps in the very next heartbeat  Warrior 2 will change colors and end up coming alongside  Warrior 3 in a tribal fight against Warrior 1.

This could continue for hours, or at least until intervention from multi-national  peace-keeping troops. No rhyme or reason to the musical warrior mayhem, just chaos for chaos’ sake.

(Please keep in mind that we are not fighting over oil reserves or tribal boundaries or even just extending historic animosity, mostly the warring warriors are fighting just to be fighting.)

The deadliest conflicts however, occur not when one of the Warriors teams up on another, but rather when all three Warriors band together and team up on me. (In this scenario I am the United Nations. Or Switzerland. It really doesn’t matter. I am the one trying to bring peace to the region and end up getting pummeled.)

However, let’s be clear now, it’s not all bad.

There have been times of historic long-lasting peace treaties. There are moments where the white flag of surrender, ney the flag of peace flies across the land. It is a beautiful time when the sun is shining, when the birds are singing and there is a soft, sweet breeze carrying the tune of joy and happiness across the land.  For a moment the Warrior’s learn to co-exist. There is prosperity in the land. Resources are shared. All is well.

And at times like these the United Nations stands back and smiles and says smugly to his friends, “See this is not so bad.”

And then somebody blows up a car.


Posted on August 31, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for this, Jeff! I have one less than you do, but experience the same things. My standard line is “I often spend more time playing referee than I do playing Dad or Husband.” I also enjoy the line that I’m a “minority in a sorority”. Feel free to use either one. 🙂

    • scott – agree with both of those. the line i use, when people ask if i am out numbered, and lose family votes 4-1 is that even before the girls were here I lost lost family votes to Annette 1-1.

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