Hating Those Heated Moments

Anger:  Family rage outs. Family screaming matches. Family arguments. Accusations made by everyone. Teen vandalizes. Teen self-injures. Teen refuses to do chores. Teen is moody. Everyone is easily frustrated. Teen is easily aggravated.

Isolating: Teen texts all day. Teen Facebook’s all day. Teen stays home all night Friday. Teen sleeps till 3 in the afternoon on Saturday. Teen crawls into parents’ bed in middle of the night. Teen doesn’t see anyone on Sunday. Parents don’t see anyone because teen cannot be left alone.

Worry, Fear and Too Much Thinking: Parents worry. Parents wonder if their teenager has friends. Parents are tense. Parents are exhausted. Parents are short tempered. Parents blow up. Parents push buttons by stating, “clean your room,” or “you haven’t bathed in 7 days, take a bath,” or “do your laundry,” or “is your homework done,” or “get up for summer school,” or “clean the cat box.” Parents do not remain above the ‘proverbial’ fray and engage in fights. Parents lose control and yell and scream after the 8th request to remove the bowl of full of uneaten mushy Raisin Bran from the dining room table. Parents think too much and get caught up in the actions and statements that occur in the moment rather than listening, observing and interpreting the all of the signals.

If I could scream out for help it would be, “throw us a life boat, my family’s relationships are drowning!” Perhaps I’d yell out, “Danger! Family engaged in World War III” Or I might shout, “Enter our home at your own risk, relationships are imploding!”

Just the other day, our home became a war zone, a theater of soldiers battling about grades, chores and money. The screaming and crying that went on between the four of us made me want to run, run as fast as I could, as far away as possible from this family of mine. I wanted to cover my ears, shut my eyes and disappear. The yelling made me shake inside and all I could do was swear under my breath about how outrageous this argument was.

English: A hungry baby yelling and crying.

English: A hungry baby yelling and crying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the height of this battle, there were four casualties. No one had any sense of self after what was said.  Doors slammed as we went off to our own rooms to lick our wounds. Grace cried herself into a deep nap and the tense silence that remained between my husband and me was nearly unbearable. What was it over? Shopping money so Grace could meet up with friends she hasn’t seen in three weeks, 2 weeks of laundry that remains all over her floor and studying for a summer school world history quiz. Grace has to repeat world history after a disastrous final and too many missing homework assignments.

The question that remains; what was this fight really about? There was the hook-some kind of statement that got her going. We put the bait out there – unknowingly.

Then there was the fact that Grace’s friend list has slimmed down considerably this year. Who wants to be friends with someone who they fear will commit suicide or cut themselves if you upset them? Was she frightened that they might not show up? Anxiety again.

How much of loser does my kid feel for flunking World History? Probably quite a bit. No kid wants to take a summer school repeat course. What a great way of covering up fear of flunking again. So why not refuse to study?  It is code for some other message I need to decode.

And what about that room full of stinky laundry? Screams classic teen to me. In this case, we could probably read more into it.

Why can’t I have this kind of  ‘Oprah aha’ moment when the heat begins to build at the beginning of a fight? Maybe if I did, I could at least do something else other than nag or yell or accuse or give dirty looks. BLAH!

What would I do differently anyways? Would I say, “Grace, you sound angry…worried…et cetera, et cetera…” Would it have worked? No reason in asking that question. What was it all about? Do I readdress this at some point?




A Mother Celebrates The Good Day All Day Long With Her Teenage Daughter

Depression presents itself differently in teens than it does in adults. Depression seems a bit different for most people though.  However in teens, depressions seems almost “normal” as teens are known for being defiant and moody. Their defiance is supposed to be “normal” as our teens search for their own identity. And we all know teens can sleep half of the day away. As for moodiness – that too, is what parents are told to expect.

So when are we supposed to know when our kids are depressed rather than one of those ‘stages’ they are just going through?

Well for some of us, our kids’ grades drop, they stay in bed and sleep till late afternoon on a Saturday. They wake up to only then listen to music while remaining on their computers in their bedrooms watching YouTube clips all night long. They may or may not bathe regularly and as for friends, they see them from time to time rather than all of the time. Some of our teens turn to self injury or attempt suicide.

Yesterday for us, was a very good day. The entire family made it to church. Yes, our teen woke up on her own well before 2 p.m., showered, dressed and went to church with her parents. She sat between her father and I during service, was at ease with her peers and spoke with the adult parishioners.

Thank goodness for Memorial Day weekend barbecues!   We were glad to be invited to a neighbor’s barbecue. We haven’t been very social as we are staying very close to our teen. That means we do not get out as much as we did in the past because we are never certain if we can get out.

When our teen is feeling down or overwhelmed, we know we are in for the night. It is a Redbox night, that is to say after running out to rent a film from Redbox, we know our biggest task is to convince our daughter to sit in the leather recliner and watch some films with us.  Redbox nights, I consider to be a big accomplishment because – as a parent, getting my teen out of her bedroom, away from her computer to watch a movie with the family is quite the challenge.

However, yesterday was not a Redbox night, it was far better than that. It was a night of interaction and fun! Our hosts prepared amazing food! Our neighbor, Anne, barbecued chicken  perfectly. The food was delicious, the weather was warm, the company of adults was so very needed. And then what made it a superb evening was watching my girl enjoy herself. She joined the rest of the kids and played basketball for most of the night. And when they weren’t playing basketball, they were jumping on the trampoline or swinging in the hammocks in pairs of two and three – just talking, laughing and swinging.

Yesterday was a good day all day long! Celebrating this good day the following morning just feels right. Seeing the happiness expressed in our daughter’s laughter is great cause for celebration. She had moments yesterday of pure joy. She so deserves these moments as it has been a rough handful of years. Pausing and remembering yesterday’s good times, the sound of my girl’s laughter, the sight of her smiles-these memories will be this mom’s medicine for the day. I am celebrating this with tremendous gratitude, I am so thankful she had a wonderful day. Our daughter, like yours, it our life, our light and we want for her the ability to move out of this depression and live the life she so deserves.

So this mom celebrates the good day I had with my daughter. It was a good day all day.