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.
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?
- Navigating the Relationship with your Teen (transitionalmoment.wordpress.com)
- Teens Are Getting Over Facebook, and Not Just Because Their Parents Are On It (socialmediatoday.com)
- Letter to my Teen (ctworkingmoms.com)
- Mommy Breaks Up With Her Therapist, a Rant (parentsofteenswhoselfinjure.wordpress.com)
- Pastor as Surrogate Parent (other-words.net)
- Teen Depression-Editorial (teendepressionblog.wordpress.com)