Monday, June 11, 2012

Reminding Myself, the Parent of a Challenging Teen

Challenging children, depression and teens, parenting difficult children
I was on an online board talking about how difficult it is, at times, knowing what to do when one of my children is extremely challenging.  Lots of great conversations went on, many supporting and wonderfully encouraging posts.  But this one is worth passing along to others in my boat.

My original post, in response to another mom's post...following me?  It's part of a conversation:  

MY daughter, 15, has ALWAYS bucked anything parent-led...LOL.
Rebellious? HELL YES.

Michelle, you are not failing (your son). He is learning the hard way...the way some people have to learn it... Please know that I am SO there with you. It is a constant struggle of trying to do the right thing while that teen does nothing. Constantly lowering the bar until you can step on it.... Constantly researching and preparing materials that you hope will get their attention.

It's hard to parent this child, I know. ♥
I, too, struggle with it.

SO, while we are not doing SAT, ACT, OR GED stuff yet, listen, if he doesn't pass the GED, isn't that a natural consequence of his own efforts?

I expect my daughter, one day, to epically fail a test such as that...I don't look forward to it, but I do know it will happen.
I hope it will be a lesson and a message to her that attaining her goals actually requires WORK. Her work.
I hope.

And my friend, Dawn's reply post: 

As our kids get older, we HAVE to take our momma hands off their decisions, even when the consequences are gonna bite them in the azz later. I spend the bulk of my mental energy trying to be respectful and considerate of their autonomy. Seems to me, though, that even in an out-of-the-box-thinking family, ALL the members have a right to respect, including mom and dad.
At our house, in our way of doing things, I told the big kids I would like to give them room to do whatever suits them, but the absolute lack of momentum towards independence wears me out. I had to think long and hard about where was the point that I couldn't be flexible, and articulate it, then let the rest go. It absolutely does not match my visions for having young adults.
I dreamed of kids who were communicative and saw the world as their oyster and who reached for big goals and tried on a variety of activities. The oldest does radiology, the next is halfway through a 4 year degree in computer security, and the 3rd is happy as a clam as a preschool daycare teacher.
Getting to this point was messy, painful, long, and exhausting to me. I don't know how to do the little boys any different, practically speaking, but I do know that asking more than telling, offering ideas and letting them get rejected, and making sure I have enough to fulfill my own self needs daily is FAR better than trying to force children into doing their growing up the way I figure is right.
There is no right, except that our kids feel competent and know we support them.

What about YOU?
Do you have any advice for parents of teens???

Was you experience difficult?  Easier?


  1. Oh gawd, do I know what you all are talking about... There are days, sister. Actually, make that months.

    Okay, never mind. Years.



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