Sometimes I just don't know how much more I can take. I don't know that all parents feel like this, I have three teens...but two of them are so extremely strong willed I just want to quit sometimes. We are a blended family and my kids biological dad has never been super involved, sometimes I wish he was a decent person so I could just have the kids go stay with him a while and I could get some rest. The two smaller ones never exhaust me emotionally like the older three. I get so tired...I feel like life is just one big long stressful decision after the other one. Things like--Should we buy the 16 yr. old a battery for the car even though he still doesn't have a job? If we don't I'll have to rearrange my schedule to take him places and would I really be any better off? Should I make the 13 yr old clean up the mess in the kitchen or just save myself the fight and aggravation and do it myself? What will work to motivate this kid to work? This one to step it up on the homefront and be more respectful....I don't know. I am just having a really bad day and wishing it weren't so hard all the time.
Could this simply be that you're having a rough day? You're tired. You would like to just walk away and not deal with any of it. Tell me where I'm wrong. I think we've all been there.
What I'm also seeing here is quite a bit of either/or thinking. Get the 16yo the car battery OR drive him everywhere. Fight with the 13yo about cleaning up OR do it yourself. There are a whole lot of other possibilities. Only drive the 16yo to job interviews, then agree to buy the battery when he gets a job. Buy the battery and drop the thoughts about "making" him be responsible. Don't buy the battery and drop the thoughts about "having to" drive him places. Those are only a few. (btw, I put quotes on "making" and "having to" because these are words that usually aren't true- and they cause us lots of headaches!) Maybe the teens have some ideas about helping make things work? What is making these decisions stressful vs. neutral or even playful? What would happen if you didn't control it all? What is good about having strong willed children?
Take some time for yourself....a glass of wine, a bath. Get a good night's sleep. None of this needs to be decided or acted upon immediately. Center yourself and take some time to breathe.
Lesley Reid Cross
self-connection supports connected parenting
First off HUGS!
I think we all have days like this (at least I know I do) and I only have 1 tween. I don't really have any advise for you but just wanted you to know someone out there hears you and understands. I hope you find the answers you are looking for. My hardest part is accepting that DD1 will not like most of my decisions right now and that is ok. She knows that I love her and I am doing what is best. I am not here to be her friend (as much as I would love to she is a fun and awesome kid) but a parents is much more important. There are times I can sneak in friend mode but you know what I mean.
At any rate just like we always said when we had toddlers this too shall pass. : (
~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.
I totally feel ya, OP. I posted something about my younger DD coming into adolescence a few weeks ago, which was met with many unhelpful responses about how we must need family therapy if raising teenagers is so frustrating, but I think many parents would agree that "strong willed" is part and parcel of adolescence. I only have two, but it's enough to make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. Fortunately, I know a lot of parents with teens and I know we're not alone, just be thankful that it's just a car battery or resistance to cleaning. Sometimes keeping things in perspective will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know a woman with four girls, and the middle oldest is only 12 and already out drinking with high school boys and doing God knows what else, and she is struggling every day just to keep her out of trouble, so I take my problems in stride. Both of my girls are very strong willed, generally unwilling to compromise, so I just have to tell myself "let her have this one" sometimes and it does make a difference. If they get what they want, they are more willing to do something they don't want to do later.
I find that being firm with teenagers is a must, once you tell them no a million times and then give in, they will always try to whittle you down until you eventually say yes. You are the parent, you make the rules, which are in place to respect the kids as well as protecting them. Validate their desires to be treated like an adult, WHEN they act like one, and they will make an effort to do more on their part. For example, DD 14 really wanted an iPhone, so we told her that the requirements were to keep straight A's in all her classes and help out around the house without complaining, otherwise the phone goes bye bye. She has held up her end of the bargain so far. Also, if we leave her home alone for a couple of hours, she will actually electively clean something sometimes to prove we can trust her. It's a miracle! I find that giving them some adult freedoms makes them act the part, and it has made a huge difference in morale around here. If only the younger DD would rise to the occasion...
(gender)queer vegetarian artist co-parenting DDs 14 & 11 with DP and TTC little peanut #3
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