Workshop #9 Adolescence - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-24-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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It's difficult when the opinions and advice I get from almost everyone else is to be very harsh and tough and punish, punish, punish. That's just not something that works for us.
I know! When we were in the throws of it with dd a couple of years ago and I was desperate for help and advice that was all I got (until I found MDC of course)

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Old 12-24-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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I forgot to add that I do love teens, though, especially the older ones. My ds and his friends hang at our house all the time now. One of them pretty much lives with us. I love it. There's always something happening. They are fun and interesting to talk to.

My dh has a hard time with it. I'm not sure why. He says he wants to have his house to himself but the kids are usually either in ds' room or outside so I don't see how they are in dh's way. I think it's just that my dh is stuck in that mindset that all teens are trouble and he won't open his heart to the joy.

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Old 12-24-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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My dh has a hard time with the whole concept of trusting our teens. He is VERY authoritarian. But since the kids aren't biologically his, he defers to me to make decisions about them. Thankfully. He also has very little to do with disciplining them - I might as well still be a single mom in that respect. but I don't mind - it's much easier for me to just do it all than fight with him about things all the time! He's willing to take my direction and not complain about it for the most part, so it works for us.

And I SO hear you about the PUNISH attitude. People figure that by not grounding my kids for ten years and taking away all their privileges and confining them to their rooms that I'm just being lazy and permissive, and that I'll be sorry. It can be frustrating for me, but I have a WAY better relationship with my kids than most other parents of teens I know, and none of mine are into drinking, drugs, promiscuity, running away from home etc.
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Old 12-24-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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My dh is not the bio dad of my teen, either, so he defers to me a lot. The problem for me is that dh then pretty much withdraws and is grumpy all the time. He's missing all the fun he could be having with ds and his friends. Dh does come around eventually. He was very upset at first about ds' friend living with us. 6 months later he says it's weird when friend isn't here. He got really angry at friend's girlfriend's mom for basically calling friend a bum and forbidding her dd from seeing him. He even put a present under the tree from friend to me.

As far as the punishing, I think that's part of the reason I have the difficulties I have with my teen. I was very authoritarian and punished a lot when he was younger. I followed all the "experts" advice. I truly believe that if I had followed my heart instead, things would be so much better between. I can see how they have improved since I let all that stuff go.

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Old 12-26-2008, 07:45 PM
 
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I worry that those who struggle with their teenagers won't feel comfortable coming in here to talk about it.

So I just wanted to jump in and confess that we had a very tough stage with dsd and I think we are starting to come out of it just now. It's a slow journey of one step forward - two steps back, but it is noticeable. I don't know if one should blame parenting, the age, or societal expectations for what we were going through, but admittedly, DSD went through the time where she:

* rolled her eyes, slammed doors, was failing three classes, wore VERY dark clothes and make up, seemed VERY ungrateful for big and little things that were done for her.

There is still a hint of that going on, but at the same time she is taking two honors classes and is a straight A student. This holiday season she put together a bag of clothes to donate, and most of her dark-rebellious stuff was in that bag. With the money she got from Christmas she picked out quite cheerful, urban style clothing, and her make up seemed to have lightened up over the past few weeks. I received many many thanks for the gifts I have picked out for her, she must have said "Oriole, thank you!" about 30 times yesterday.


Things I hope will change for her overtime:

* She still swears a lot more than I'd hope she would (not with us, usually, more so with her friends), and I really think she'll grow out of it.
* She puts friends before family more often than she should. For instance, she got gifts for many of her friends, but didn't get anything for her little brother and sister on her mom's side, she simply helped us out to get presents for them, but did nothing on her own.
* Sometimes (not always) she gets very cranky when she doesn't get a ride.
* She resorts to saying hurtful things to her father when she gets upset, and that's NOT the way for a child, a teen or an adult to be, it's never been modeled for her in this house, she didn't behave that way when she was younger no matter how upset she got, and as much as I hate this phrase, but she certainly "knows better than that".

So I would never dismiss the difficulties that come with the territory. I think every stage of life presents its own benefits and difficulties, and I think parents struggle with teenagehood this much because every parenting mistake we made in earlier years (and who hasn't made mistakes? ) comes to haunt you tenfold in this particular time when our kids begin to get out into the world on their own: no more play dates with parents there, there is driving, jobs, friends you don't know, etc. On top of everything, the whole idea of "letting go" is extremely difficult for some parents (boy, did my own mom struggle with that one!), so I think that adds to the "teenage dread" as everyone is trying to find boundaries "is it okay for them to be having sex at 15? Is it okay for them to be out late with a phone? How about without? How about with a friend you don't like? Is it really still parents' decision to make, or is it the time to let go?

So there... I just wanted to admit to what we struggled with, and to give reassurance to those who still struggle, that they are not alone in this journey, I've been there, done that and still come to MDC for advice in the times of crisis specific to this age.

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Old 12-26-2008, 07:59 PM
 
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So I just wanted to jump in and confess that we had a very tough stage with dsd and I think we are starting to come out of it just now. It's a slow journey of one step forward - two steps back, but it is noticeable.
After reading this I had to see if you had your dsd's age on here. I notice from your sig that she's 15. We went through the same struggles with my ds when he was 13-15. That was, by far, the hardest age/stage for us. By the time he was 15 he started to come out of it but would regress often. Now that he's 17, almost 18, he is becoming much more mature and is much more pleasant to be around, more appreciative of the things we do for him. We still have our issues and difficulties but they seem less rather than more now, if that makes sense.

I don't come here for advice with him much anymore because I've gotten to a place where I've accepted that I can't force him to do anything. He has to decide to do things himself. I can give him my love and support and opinions and advice (when he asks) but, ultimately, he has to make the decisions. It took me a long time and a lot of crying to get here but I'm ok with it all now (most of the time). My dh is not there yet but he hasn't had even half the time with ds that I've had.

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Old 01-03-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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This thread seems to have died. What are we supposed to discuss? What can we do to get it going again?

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Old 01-05-2009, 03:35 PM
 
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I am curious to see how do you see your parenting of your teens is reflective on how you were parented during this age.

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Old 01-05-2009, 08:15 PM
 
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I am curious to see how do you see your parenting of your teens is reflective on how you were parented during this age.

:
Well, I was parented by two sets of parents so it gets a bit confusing for me. My mother was very inattentive and unaware/oblivious. She didn't provide any guidance or support or affection or anything. I felt very much that she didn't care about me. My dad, otoh, was much more strict to the put that I was a bit scared of him and thought he was a little mean and very intolerant. So, I try to find a happy medium between those two. I'll have to come back to this cuz my 4yo is having a meltdown and I can't think.

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Old 01-05-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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I was pretty much left to my devices by one parent's household but under overly strict restrictions by the other. I think that the way I parent my adolescents is just more in tune with their needs at the moment, not what I think they should need as teens. Does that even make any sense??
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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I am curious to see how do you see your parenting of your teens is reflective on how you were parented during this age.

:
This is a hard question for me too. I left home at 13 so I basically did not have parents through these years. There was no trouble per se at home but I just needed to live my life .. so I left ... I guess I try to give my kids the freedom to live "their" lives within the comfort of our home. I would like to keep them around a little longer than I stayed

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Old 01-06-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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I wanted to jump into this thread even though I am not parenting adolescents at the moment, I have in the past (I parented my step kids through them) and am not far from it with my dd.
I hope to parent alot like my parents in that they were very involved in my life, and moderately strict yet with a fair amount of trust. Another thing they did is encourage us to be very active in alot of organized activities (basically there was not time to get into trouble), I worry about that as we intend to continue homeschooling and I don't see alot of those opportunities for teen homeschoolers. One thing I intend to do very differently is not talk to her about our differences. My father inadvertantly taught me not to respect my mother by making all her problems known to me which caused a plethora of problems between us. I don't think I really learned to respect her again until I became a mother.

One thing I worry about from my experience with dsd adn dss is dealing with lying. Maybe it won't be a problem as i have always stressed to dd and dgd the importance of honesty for trust. But... my husband strongly believed that it was important for the kids to know we believed in them. Consequently we NEVER accused them of lying unless we had physical undisputable proof, which we rarely had. They lied all the time, we knew they were lying but pretended we didn't and they thought we were idiots. I hated every year of it. dsd still compulsively lies to us when there is really no reason to do so. We have always supported her unconditionally. It is really this great unresolved issue for me. BTW my parents were always from childhood clear that lying is unacceptable, but as we didn't lie as teenagers I don't know what they would have done.

Cherie2, I wanted to ask. If your homelife was acceptable what was the life that you wanted that you couldn't have with the support of your parents? The idea of a 13 yo leaving home to "live their life" terrifies me. How could they have supported you so that you could do that and not have left home?
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:23 PM
 
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Cherie2, I wanted to ask. If your homelife was acceptable what was the life that you wanted that you couldn't have with the support of your parents? The idea of a 13 yo leaving home to "live their life" terrifies me. How could they have supported you so that you could do that and not have left home?
I know, it seems so extremely radical to me now as a parent ... but in my memories it was very natural and normal. My mother was in the depths of her gypsy days at the time. (traveling in busses with with hippie/gypsies to barter fairs and rainbow gatherings)

I grew up mostly with my dad in Los Angeles but had been living with mom since about age 10. Her house was always full of all kinds of people, there was a lot of music and fun and philosophical conversation. Her friends became my friends (many were much younger than she was).

I went to live with dad again in 6th grade the spent that summer back up with mom in Oregon. I started 7th grade in LA but after a couple of weeks I just could not live that LA life anymore. All the kids seemed so foreign and immature. The summer in Oregon had been one of those "live-changing" summers and I was not the same person anymore.

So I went back and instead of traveling with mom, I traveled with other family friends and decided school and spending time with 13 year olds was not for me anymore. We traveled, picked apples, camped in the bitterroot foothills. I saw 48 states from the age of 15 to 17. I worked in nurseries, orchards and at one point had my own little day care. We'd sit in the coffee shop for hours, expand our minds on the beach and sing at open mic. Its not the typical teenage hood, but it was mine and I loved it. And if this is the path one of my kids had wanted to take, I would not fault them for it.

I selfishly want my kids closer to me. I try to be tuned in to them and what their needs are. I make no demands of my teens. School is their choice, bathing is their choice, I am working hard not to make judgments and to let them discover themselves. Hopefully they feel comfortable enough at home to stick around for a while. But if they need to leave, I will find a way to deal with that.

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Old 01-07-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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How could they have supported you so that you could do that and not have left home?
I have been thinking about this all day and have not been able to come up with an answer. I needed separateness .. i needed to rip them away like a band-aid. I don't know, all I can think of is that it was my path.. and I am actually quite grateful that they allowed me that.

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Old 01-07-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I am curious to see how do you see your parenting of your teens is reflective on how you were parented during this age.

:
I'd like to join the party.

I grew up in what I saw as a controlling environment. My parents had a "As long as you live in my house, you'll follow my rules" policy. There were people they forbid me to spend time with, we had curfews, I had my car keys taken away as punishment. They determined that I would go to college, and dismissed the plans I had. Their way was the only way.

I think they thought that because they were older, they knew better and that they were trying to keep me safe.

I ended up rebelling big time--I could have been sent to juvi for any number of things except that I didn't get caught. And in hindsight, I'm amazed that I made it through that period alive. It was all an attempt to be heard. There were some super-bad decisions I was making, but *I* was making them. I don't think my parents know the half of it, still. I was so angry. When I turned 18 I was sat down and told, "Now you're legally an adult, anything you do, you're responsible for." So I went from being totally controlled, to totally on my own.

I decided then that I would treat my kids as people with valid ideas and opinions and that I would respect their feelings and treat them as I wanted to be treated.

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Old 01-07-2009, 04:08 PM
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This is an interesting topic... my daughter will turn 16 on Saturday, and I really feel a sense of relief that she made it through 15 without any of the stuff I went through. At 15 I ran away from home, lived on the streets on L.A. for a while, came back and lived in a runaway shelter home, and then ended up institutionalized... and the rest of my adolescence was more of the same, with a stint in foster care. It took me many years to get my life back on track, and to recover from all of that. I never lived at home after I was 15... so I was really "parented" by the state.

I've done things very differently all the way through, and admittedly, a lot of it has been a reaction to the way I was parented.

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Old 01-07-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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I decided then that I would treat my kids as people with valid ideas and opinions and that I would respect their feelings and treat them as I wanted to be treated.
This is what I try to do. I don't know that I'm very good at it but I try very hard. I try to be interested and involved in my children's lives without being controlling and authoritarian. I don't have rules but try to live by principles instead.

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Old 01-07-2009, 06:35 PM
 
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...I really feel a sense of relief that she made it through 15 without any of the stuff I went through.
Oh, gosh, yes. At times, I look at my teens and remember what I was doing at their ages. I am so overwhelmed with relief that they aren't doing the same self-destructive things.

The frank discussions with my teens have been difficult at times for me. I didn't talk with my parents about so much, and it's been uncomfortable at times but I've tried to make it ordinary.

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:22 AM
 
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I'm having such a hard time dealing with this age. My dd is 14 and at times it can be very trying. I know that she is a good kid but sometimes the choices she makes...I wish she was more like I was at that age...I didn't get into trouble at all...not because I was scared of my parents or anything, they were great. I just wasn't interested in any of that.

It is so difficult to walk that line between starting to let them make their own choices and keeping them safe. It is hard as a parent to let go, even though I know I have to. I suppose it wouldn't feel as difficult if I didn't get the attitude from her when she doesn't agree with something.

Everyone I have talked to about this have told me that this age is the hardest and that over the course of the next year things should settle down...I sure hope so.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:44 AM
 
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Everyone I have talked to about this have told me that this age is the hardest and that over the course of the next year things should settle down...I sure hope so.
That was my experience with my now almost 18yo.

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Old 01-09-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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I got in far less trouble than dsd does.

I had a very different environment growing up, my parents weren't divorced, I didn't have stepparents, I don't remember going through the rebellious stage and wanting tattoos, thinking smoking looks cool, or having any of the self-image issues. I certainly wasn't boy crazy. So dsd and I differ this way, and maybe that's why I worry this much?

At the same time, I remember feeling unsure and insecure, I certainly wasn't in the popular crowd, I remember having unreasonable idealistic arguments with everyone , and taking what my parents did for granted. So in that way, I relate to her, and see this in her, and have a certain degree of certainty that this too shall pass.

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Old 01-09-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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I got in far less trouble than dsd does.

I had a very different environment growing up, my parents weren't divorced, I didn't have stepparents, I don't remember going through the rebellious stage and wanting tattoos, thinking smoking looks cool, or having any of the self-image issues. I certainly wasn't boy crazy. So dsd and I differ this way, and maybe that's why I worry this much?
I think this is the major issue with my dh. He had a picture perfect childhood. He says his parents were supportive and loving and he never felt any desire to rebel. He can't understand what ds is thinking or why he does what he does. I, on the other hand, had to deal with divorced parents, a stepmom and multiple possible stepdads. I was wild and rebellious and did lots of crazy things that I'm surprised now I lived through. I can relate to ds' feelings of abandonment and unworthiness because of an absent father.

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