Tip-toeing Through The Teenagers

Borrowed from crazyismysuperpower.blogspot.com

I’ve been tiptoeing through the morass of teenage angst – worst day of life, I’m stupid, I have no friends, everyone hates me, I hate everyone, why is everyone else getting As when they don’t even work for it – being just a few of the themes. Mercifully, these rants seem to come one child at a time.

And then we had a whopper. In order to protect the privacy/identity of those involved, I won’t go into details, but let’s just say it’s been a big test of my parenting skills. The jury is still out in terms of how I’m handling it and I was surprised to be sideswiped by a pity-party kick that I wasn’t expecting: the ubiquitous widow lament “I NEED you, dammit!”

I hadn’t had it in a while. That wallop seems to only come when I’m needing that ghostly husband of mine to kick a child’s butt into submission (a whole new take on “dead-beat dad”!), which I suppose doesn’t reflect well on the ol’ dead hubby, but well, he can’t say much to defend himself, so easy for me to say. But as many fathers are, he was the hardass in these situations.

The crisis has been good in some ways, as most crises are, as it’s enabled a freer flow of communication amongst us all. It’s opened my eyes to things I hadn’t noticed before, and it tested my “balls” so to speak. By that I mean my ability to come down hard when necessary. But punishment was a gray area in this situation and I really had to decide if coming down hard was really what was needed.

Part of the problem was coming down hard meant a confiscation of items that are useful in the world of teenagers to both the teenager and the parent: cell phones, computers, cars, etc. All are a boon to me, and so I had to either find other things to confiscate or other consequences. The other part was that aftermath of the situation was in itself a form of punishment. Adding to that seemed cruel.

In the end, I’m finding that the open communication method seems to be working pretty well. I have a feeling that in this case, the arse-whipping would have backfired. At least as far as what I can see in the snapshot that is this moment.

I have to keep reminding myself that it would have been different if he was around, but not necessarily better. Still, that knowledge doesn’t ever stop me from thinking “I NEED you, dammit!” Apparently, my inner teenaged angst is alive and well.

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    1. Abigail - Site Author December 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks Theo. I’m trying. It’s a tricky balance maintaining the privacy of others while trying to express the turmoil certain situations cause. Hopefully it came across.

  1. diane December 13, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Well just hang in there Ab, and don’t make the mistake of assuming that Arron would have handled it any better or that you would have even agreed with him if he tried to. I think you’re in the same boat with some of your old buds from around here from what I hear. Same age kids. So glad I’m past all that. Toughen up girlfriend, and remember you don’t need to defer to man to be tough with your kid when you need to ~ xx

    1. Abigail - Site Author December 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Oh, don’t worry. I KNOW Arron wouldn’t have handled it well at all. Like I said, a heavy hand in this case, I think would have backfired. Still what’s missed is that voice of sanity when you’re in the thick of it, wondering if what you’re doing is the right thing.

      I’m coming to realize that a heavy hand is just not my style, which isn’t to say I can’t be tough at times.

      Still, its the balance of partnered parenting that I miss.

      Thanks for the “chin up” advice Diane. Always welcomed.

  2. Salty December 14, 2011 at 1:48 am

    It was so good to have that trusted other half of the tag team in my corner. “the I’m losing it, you take over while I do some deep breathing parenting buddy.” One more example of why the easy as well as the hard times seem like they ought to be shared with someone we love. There should be a volunteer org that gives ya’all a break. Your a durn good mom Abby

    1. Abigail - Site Author December 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks Mr. Salty. Parenting buddy would be nice. It’s been so long for me that I have no real notion of what that might be like, and so probably romanticize the heck out of it.

      Parenting’s just hard, no matter how many parents are involved.

      Mahalo my friend.

  3. Eileen December 29, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Thanks for your timely post. Two laptops sitting in my bedroom now, consequences for last night.
    Way too many teen/tween hormones around here! But doing our best is all we can do. And doing it alone and grieving has a big added sting.
    Thanks for helping me feel less alone.

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