In the past 6 months or so my often care-free and happy 11 year old has been a bit dissatisfied. She spends quite a bit of time and energy on what she doesn't like, what she would like to change. She spends a lot of time talking to me about that. I feel as though she is spending her time talking about what she wants and that that energy could be better spent by thinking of all the wonderful things about her life. And, yes, talking less and listening more.
I'm a fan of addressing problems as individual issues so I'll give an example of something that happened yesterday, which is one of several situations that prompted this post.
DC's birthday was yesterday and we had a nice family party for her. We talked about the party a lot leading up to it - what we would eat, who would come and etc. It was a little much but I felt like we did a good job together of having a reasonable amount of energy invested in her day. But, I did have to help her tone it down and not become too focused on her birthday - lest we spend the entire month talking about it. Fast forward through the party and all the lovely gifts she was given... At about 11pm that night she woke up and woke me up to tell me she felt weird -- that she was thinking of all her gifts and she couldn't sleep. I was tired and perhaps not especially able to understand her feelings and told her that she needed to wake her father for this if she continued to have trouble sleeping. She knew I was upset by having her stressed over the party, which she was sensitive to the fact that I had put a great deal of time in trying to make nice for her.
Fast forward to this AM...
She wants to talk - wants to talk about our relationship - how she wants it to be better - what I can do to make it better...
I don't know. I got irritated.
I feel badly about being irritated by this. Part of me thinks this is "typical". Part of me thinks maybe this is just part of her personality but this is how I'm feeling right now:
I feel like she spend a lot of time focusing on what can be better rather than on what is good. She has a nice life. I am very much a good enough mom. We do lovely things together. She had a very lovely birthday. I'll admit that I feel kind of angry (I guess?...maybe disappointment?) that she managed to find something to be stressed about.
Maybe this is just a vent. I don't know.
I'd love to hear some stories from you all about this - your opinions.
Please take this post for a vent -- I'm not sure how well thought out my feelings are.
I wanted to add that the listening thing comes in here as well. I feel like DC talks a lot and asks a lot of questions but that she often doesn't listen or internalize the answer. She may ask if she can go to the neighbors and I will say yes. Then a few minutes later she may ask again.
Along those lines she may be very interested in telling me what she wants, changes she'd like to make to the family dynamic, routine or whatever but when I would like to respond or talk about things from my perspective, I feel like she can't hear me.