Saturday, September 18, 2010

This Might Just Be the Undoing Of Me

A teenage daughter. That's what.

I see now how lucky I was. My first teenager was my son who is so much like me and it is very, very easy for me to understand him and for us to get along. We are two peas in a pod in many ways.

When he got into the teen years, yes, I will admit that there were tricky times. Overall, though, I was the Teen Whisperer. My husband would be frustrated and bewildered, but I possessed the natural skills to calm the stormy seas between the two of them, and to act as an interpreter when they could not understand each other.

How nice that was.

Now, I suspect it may be my husband's time to shine, because the way things are going so far with my daughter.....clearly I am outside of my skill set.

I would say that out of ten times that I engage in talking to her, trying to include her in something, or in any other way communicate with her, 6-8 of those times will be met with one of the following:

-a look of extreme boredom
-rude behavior of some other sort

I am not a parent who accepts getting run over by crap behavior. Although I certainly do understand the hormonal difficulties and other troubles of this age, I also believe that we can choose to have kind behavior to one another.

So I mention it. I coach. I lovingly correct. I discipline. I come down hard when I need to.

But, this is a child with a special strength to her personality. Which is very, very good in many ways. But not good when it results in strong resistance to being corrected.

She seems stubbornly committed to snotty behavior. And it might just be the end of me.

It feels like it has been going on for a long time now. I am not the only victim of her bad attitude. Her siblings deal with it all day long as well, so I have ample opportunities to continue to correct, defend, model appropriate behavior, and so on. (and get argued with, and get eyes rolled at me, and to have her stay in her bedroom as much as humanly possible)

It isn't catching on, people. Not with this one. Not right now.

Logic tells me that she will outgrow this. Experience tells me that this child doesn't always outgrow stuff. (I thought she would outgrow her picky eater stage as a preschooler. She didn't. And now she has serious difficulties with eating normally. It's not fun for any of us.)

Yesterday I took her out to shop. We have decided to let her go to middle school. Monday is her first day. She needed shirts with collars in order to meet the dress code. So off we went, in search of shirts. Which you would think would make a teenager happy.

It was hard to find the kind of shirts she needs. It took a long time. We were wilting. She got snottier and snottier as the day wore on. It was horrible. I was doing my best to hunt down the right kind of shirts and dig out her size and show them to her and of course never (ever!) act like I care if she picks this one or that one because it is a rule for mothers of teenagers to not try to pressure them into dressing a certain way. (thankfully, I really don't care what she wears, so I have no internal struggle on this. The trick is to not let any inflection of your voice make the kid even suspect that you are trying to talk them into anything....)

At one point she had been so rude, unthankful, and unpleasant that I seriously, seriously considered turning right around and marching back to the car and ending the shopping trip. Under other circumstances I would have. Under these circumstances, this was our only opportunity to get this done before she needs the clothes, we live a long way from the mall, and I could not foresee a time in the near future when her father or I could take her back to continue the hunt.

So it went on. With me working at not bursting into tears.

All-in-all, we finally got some shirts, I got a seriously aching back, we got to have a fight in the car on the way home, and I got to cry myself to sleep over this.

Yes, seriously.

I'm sure some psychologist would say that my daughter and I are both afraid of the upcoming changes of her going to school, or of her growing up, or some other thing.

Somebody else might blame it on PMS. (thankfully there are only two females in our household who can synchronize our menstruation, and thus our PMS as well....)

I don't know what to blame it on, but I don't like it. Not one bit.

As I recall, my snotty-teenager days were short-lived, and I think ended when I was 13. I had witnessed some very loving mother-daughter relationships at our church mother-daughter banquet, and realized that I could make the choice to just enjoy my mom, who I already realized was a really fun and cool person. While I'm sure I was not a perfect angel for every minute of the rest of my growing up, I know that the choice I made that day stuck with me and served me (and our whole family, I'm sure) very well. It would sure be nice if my daughter could figure something like that out.

My husband had (yet another) talk with her today, after listening to me cry last night. I don't know what he said to her, but she has been trying to be nicer today. It has gone well. Somehow, I feel like a person afraid of getting bitten by a snake. I am thankful that she has been nice, but I am kinda nervous around her.

It's not how I want to feel about my own kid.


"Can't go under it...
Can't go over it...
Can't go around it....
Gotta go through it!"

Pray for me. She's only 14. God have mercy.

1 comment:

Amie said...

It makes me kind of sad to read this, because my mom probably could of wrote this when I was a teenager.