Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I wouldn't want to be a teenager again for anything!

Shelle Edit: Vodka Logic I have known for a long time and she is absolutely one of the best people I know on the internet. Plus she twitters and facebooks and so we have many avenues to talk to each other. She always has something pretty cool to say and relevant. So go check her out after you comment here with any advice or opinions! :) Her site HERE.

Image taken from HERE
I wouldn’t want to be a teenager again for anything. Offer me life ever after and I’d turn it down. Being a teen is hard, especially these days. My experience is hands on these days. I have two daughters, one is 21 and despite a few set backs in middle school, made it through fairly easily. We’ve had our differences but for the most part it was smooth sailing. My other daughter is 16 and has struggled. Middle school was a nightmare, elementary school was difficult too now I think about it. She is angst filled and emotional.

She fights with us over every detail, regardless how small. She has caused me more grey hair and tears than I care to admit. I cry because of her and with her. I have loved her and not liked her at the same time. Does this make sense? Sure does if you have a daughter like mine.

I have taken her to therapy in the past and other than one initial woman she hasn’t really “clicked” with anyone. She has been asking to see someone again and let me say it has not been an easy task. I have left more messages at therapists offices and gotten no call backs. If I do get to speak to someone they don’t take our insurance or they don’t have appointments for months.I don’t want to wait months, I want to help my daughter. It has been very frustrating.

We have an appointment finally lined up with a woman but I have my reservations. I left messages four days in a row before I got a call back. I am not sure she called back on her own or because I asked the pediatricians office to call on my behalf. Needless to say she better impress me.

We love our kids and want to do what we can to keep them but sometimes the powers that be make it difficult. Trying to help my daughter and not over react is a fine line. I tend to be a worrier and I don't want to project this on my daughter.

My daughter has now had two sessions with her therapist. The first I sat in on with her and the therapist asked questions about what she was like as a little child, her developement, behavior etc. She asked what  we expectd from the sessions, our family history and what we could anticipate from her. Overall a good meeting.

Monday my daughter had her first session alone. I sat in the waiting room listening to my ipod and wondering what was going on inside. After they were finished I went in and made the copayment and scheduled the next appointment. The therapist suggested we go weekly for the time being. On the way home I asked my daughter how it went and she was a bit evasive at first. I told her she didn't have to tell me what they talked about just how she liked her and did she think it would help. She seemed unsure but since we have just started it is probably too early to tell. She did however open up about a few things, our parenting styles and things that bothered her that she mentioned to the therapist. I have to admit some of it was hard to hear and we both shed a few tears as I drove home. My daughter felt bad she made me cry but I said I wanted her to feel she could talk to me without worrying about my reaction.

Certainly some of what she said is true but some is also her perception of things. It doesn't make them wrong it is just her reaction to situations and admittedly I don't always have the words to explain things the way I would like. As a good friend said to me, "it will probably get worse before it gets better." True I am sure.

Certainly no one ever said raising children would be easy... seems I still have a lot to learn.

How do you balance raising a teenager today?

Vodka Logic


adam said...

1. Everything Shelle said in the editors note is true. Great woman, mother, and friend!

2. I have two young daughters. One who is 12 years from her teen years, and one who is so close, I can only imagine what her teens have in store. Who ever said, "it'll get worse before it gets better" is a genius. Dealing with complex emotions is always tough on everyone. I've learned that parenting isn't as easy when you're the one doing the parenting. When I was a kid, I thought I knew it all, and I think your daugher will learn that she really doesn't and the therapist will be able to help her see that or at least you aren't as evil as she thinks you are, or, that she is responsible for her own actions. Hopefully therapy will help her develop her internal locus of control vs. Her (what sounds like) a very external locus of control.

You are a great mother for being objective enough yo submit yourself to this catharsis.

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

Oh wow. What a heartbreaking topic.
Some people seem to have the parenting thing all down.
I have not.
It has been a roller coasternride from the time they hit the teen years. I thought as parents we were doing everything right.
I have had thousands of sleepless nights, shed gallons of tears. Just when I think I have it figured out one of those kids changed the rules.

My heart is with vodka logic.

I have often thought that instead of placenta being delivered after the should be a blueprint.

The rewards come. Sometimes not as fast as I want, but so far they have eventually come around and have their heads out of their rear.

Snooty Primadona said...

Ugh. A topic I'm well versed in, unfortunately. I nearly ended up in the psyche ward during the teen years. As GofE said they do eventually pull their heads out of their rear ends. Well, most of them.

I suppose we should blame hormones, which we can basically blame everything on. Blasted hormones! It sounds like your daughter is in a lot of pain over something, but it probably has very little to do with you (even though they blame us for everything). I always told the kids they didn't come into this world with directions.

We went through countless therapy sessions with our son & those were some of the most painful experiences of my life. I was always like you... Open to hearing whatever, which usually hurt like the devil, but he didn't care how much he hurt me. However, he was doing drugs, which had altered his perception of everything. Eight years later, at the age of 25, he finally discovered where his head was buried & pulled it out, pronto. Gah.

Just hang in there, because you ARE doing everything right. Kids always think we're all idiot parents until they mature. They always think they are smarter than us. Actually, now that our daughter is in law school, she IS smarter than I am, but she has the sense to not say so.

And just for the record, as much as I'd like to go back & change a few mistakes I made as a teen, I'm fairly certain I wouldn't want to go there again. Period.

April said...

I will tell you, Vodka Logic, that I live in Northern Virginia, and we have the same exact problem with therapists around here. I work in an office where one side is Chiropractic and the other Counseling. But we share the same phones. I have spoken to many, many people who have had the same problem. They call every therapist in their town and surrounding towns with no answer or calls back. I think it's absolutely terrible for that profession, as people need help NOW. Not whenever the counselors have time to call back. I'm thankful our office doesn't operate that way.

Anyway, my son will be 13 this year. It's starting to get harder and harder every day. It's like every day there's an argument. Each day seems like a battle.

He's constantly asking me to do the same things over and over. Things that I've already said no to. Each time he asks, I say no, and then we have the same argument over again. It's very exhausting.

Then there's other parents who are letting their kids do things that I would NEVER let my son do at his age. He gets so upset with me because "all of his friends can do it!" I hold my ground and say, "Well I'm not their parent now am I?"

He's at the age where he feels that he knows EVERYTHING. It seems like he's always out to prove me wrong. Hell, he even will argue with me about driving, like he's an expert. HE'S 12!! I have to remind him that I've been driving longer than he's been alive. It's like he has no respect for me and my adult knowledge.

He wants his allowance but doesn't want to do the chores to earn the allowance.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a horrible parent. I feel like because he's not acting the way I'm raising him to be, that I'm doing something wrong.

Anyway, I'm sorry that you're having problems with your daughter. I truly hope the counseling sessions help her to open up and make your relationship with her better.

Vodka Logic said...

@Adam thank you for the kind words. I have met your daughters and they are adorable. Of course I can't see the future but your oldest seems so pleasant. I know I probably got her best behavior but she seems so different from my daughter..the youngest however.... is soo independent, she's the one I would watch out for. :)
And genius friend for sure.

@Garden of Egan, it is certainly nice to know I am not alone.. even though I know that in my head it is nice to hear. This parenting thing certainly needs some sort of manual. Self help books always seem so cliche and in practice..useless.

@Snooty, I too have been through some therapy myself and it helped .. but things change so quickly. I imagine what ever is bothering her she isn't ready to tell me. I am hoping she can open up to the therapist. One thing I am sure of there are no drugs involved...yet. I am hoping she is sensible enough to avoid that pitfall. So glad to hear you son got past it.

@April. Yes and since my daughter asked me for help I wanted to get it before it got desperate. It seems the therapists don't understand that. I did discuss it with hers so she knew how I felt about her phone tactics.
Horrible parent is how I feel too and same here with the relentless over and over asking to do things.. and we have said NO.

Thanks all for the support and replies. I appreciate them all.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

i haven't had my share of raising a teenager yet, but with any human, talking about our problems helps so much!

Sucks about trying to get ahold of them, but the fact that you got her the help she felt she needed IS the right step because talking it out is how we, as humans, get through our difficulties.

I hope one day she can tell you also.

Crossing my fingers for you.

3GKnight said...

I read this in the morning and didn't really know what to say. I have 3 girls of my own and it's kinda freaking me out. :)

I pray you and your daughters can maintain good strong relationships.

Vodka Logic said...

Thanks 3GK, we do have a great relationship but there are times things break down. I have hope, I just want to keep the relationship.
From what I have of your comments, here, you are a great dad.

DCHY said...

Bo Jackson, the multi-sport star, said his mother raised him with a whip in one and and a gun in the other hand. The whip was for his insolence. The gun was to make sure he took his whippings.

Me, on the other hand...I'll save the whip and the gun for the boys who come to my door for my daughters. ;)

My oldest, I do not anticipate any major problem when she becomes a teen because she has always talked to me about anything. As for my youngest, "fasten your seatbelt, it's going to be a bumpy night".

Unknown said...

Somehow, I survived my kids' teen years. It was a struggle. Their father and I were divorced when they were 6 and 7, and I remarried when they were 10 and 11. I cried much; my oldest and I had a really tough time. He held a lot of resentment over the divorce. The youngest one was difficult because he was always getting speeding tickets, (ended up spending 48 hours in jail!), and was a "hounddog" where girls were concerned. But guess what? They grew up to be 2 wonderful young men, great Dads to their kids, and they are both great sons to me, too. So there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Vodka Logic said...

DCHY and Eva thanks for making the trip over and taking the time to comment.
Eva, nice to know it all works out..and I really think it will with my daughter, but I would like this last time as a child to be easier for her and will do what I can to help.

DCHY funny how when they were little I could tell which would be the "problem" Good luck.

doreen said...

I raised 3 daughter's and 1 son. My youngest daughter was the 'perfect' baby and the 'perfect' child. I thought I was the luckiest mother ever...until she nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to be so 'perfect' out of some unknown fear.
She is grown now with 3 little girls.
She continues counseling once a month.
I applaud you for working so hard for your daughter. My 17 year old stepson died of suicide.
I would not want to be a teenager today for anything! It was hard enough the first time.

Vodka Logic said...

Wow Doreen, what a heart break. My oldest is more the perfect daughter and hoped she didn't go the down falls of "perfect kids" tough anyway you look at it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Vodka Logic,

I know that most of what I will say has already been covered by previous comments but can I just say that your relationship with your daughter echos the relationship I had with my own mother.

As the eldest, we spent a large majority of my time as a teenager constantly arguing over what at the time felt the bloody battles. I always felt so defensive around her and in some way inadequate. She never did anything to make me feel this way, and I honestly don;t know where this feeling originated from, but nevertheless, it was there. Every day we would have some kind of disagreement, and the tension was always in the air. At times it got so bad, I could see our relationship affected the rest of my siblings as well as my father. I was painted at the black sheep and after a while I decided to act the part.

It was only once I moved out, gain some independence and experienced real life that our relationship improved.

Today, I call my mother every day and ask for her advice on everything. I cannot imagine life without her and I feel soooo bad for making her cry so many nights.

I think often, she wanted so bad to make what ever was hurting me go away that it just molly coddled me and my perception of real life was distored. I was so used to my mother always trying to privide me with whatever I needed that when I started my own life in a new city, I missed her kindness, but also learned that only your mother, will go out of her way to amake life easier for you. In all honestly, I learnt life is a bitch and the one and only person who will always be there for me is my mum.

I hope that as your daughter grows up and starts to see life for what it is, she's learn the lessons I have learnt!