Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Aftermath

So....where to start?

One of my recent posts mentioned that my oldest daughter has been less than charming lately.

We have tried grounding. If anything, she gets more defiant.

We have tried two different counselors in the last threee years.

We have had family meetings.

It has gotten easier to do chores myself than to ask her to help, because I dread the attitude she has.

If her sister knocks on her bedroom door, she screams at her to go away.

Her brother has cried on the way to pick her up at school.

I am not implying that we have been perfect parents by any means. First off, we yell too much. Secondly, our parenting styles are totally different and not consistent. That hasn't helped the situation.

I tend to show my love by doing things for my kids, but she seems to need her love shown differently. She needs constant compliments and attaboys, something I am wretchedly deficient in administering.

Anyway, in total desperation, we told her that she had to be nice and do her chores in order to live here. The other option was to move in with her Dad, who lives three hours away.

I honestly did not think we were that heinous that she would choose to leave. Apparently we are.

I was crushed. I still am dissappointed in her decision. But she has not changed her mind.

When we moved here, to our first house, seven years ago, I had such high hopes. We were all going to be one big happy family. Things don't always work out to plan.

If it weren't for the fact she has been so excessively hateful to her siblings, maybe we could have found something else to try. I honestly don't know what. And while I can see sometimes why she gets so irritated with her sister, her brother is only three and a half and she is sixteen. If he wants to go in her room and touch her stuff, is it any reason to scream at him and push him out the door?

She has decided to live with her Dad for six months at least. She will be visiting us during that six months, so we can all find out if she can live here and be civil.

I never wanted her to leave in the first place. I only wanted that big nasty attitude to go away. I wanted her to love her siblings and cherish them, not shriek at them for breathing the same air as she does.

While she is gone, we are going to get some professional help for ourselves. We want to improve our parenting skills and do a better job of making our children feel loved, whatever it may take.

And maybe, just maybe, she will miss us. And maybe she won't.

Her moving out is a moment I thought was at least two years away, maybe longer.

Life is funny like that.


Blogger Iamthebookworm said...

Hang in there. I will be thinking about you.


8:55 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

C, I'm so sorry. I know it must be hard.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Chelle said...

I am sure your children have always felt loved!!! Please, don't blame all of this on yourself.

I am sure it's sooo hard. I can't even begin to imagine. I definitely will be thinking about you. I am so sorry this is happening!


10:13 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Oh, Carolyn. I feel for you. This must be ripping your heart out. I know that teenagers test their place in the family and sometimes they don't exactly realize the damage their inflicting. Good luck to you with your journey of trying to improve your skills (I'm sure you're a wonderful parent, but hey NONE of us out here is perfect and could always use some different tools especially with the teens). I sincerely hope that she is able to see things for what they are once she's gone. Hugs to you and your family. :)

11:56 PM  
Blogger My float said...

When I was 16 (about 1000 years ago), I said and did things that I never meant. I was just in the throes of an anxious puberty. And the grass is always greener...

Good for you on seeking some help with this. I wish you all the very best of luck. x

12:25 AM  
Blogger The Jackel said...

I have 3 daughters ages 18,13,8. Believe me I can relate. My middle one is always needing alot of extra attention. You need to be firm consistant and when they get real bad never show it bothers you much. Until they cross a certain line then you unleash a verbal tirade so bad it would make a salior blush. It takes some time but it establishes where the line not to cross is at. When she says she wants to move out say "go right ahead" and get on with your life. Once they firure out they cant manipulate you anymore you will win.

12:43 AM  
Blogger velcro said...

Carolyn she's probably feeling just as miserable and hurt inside as you are and why? She has very likely no idea. Teenagers are like that - they feel emotion so intensely and take slight at the smallest things.I am sure this is nothing you have done it's just teenage hormones kicking out.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Crazedmomof4 said...

When I was a kid, I wanted my parents to be divorced just so I can live with the opposite one I was mad at. My parents never fought, so there was no need for them to be divorced. BUt I thought they should. The grass is always greener on the other side & when she is an adult, she will look back at this & wish she wasn't so mean to you guys. She is a teen & teens are totally different people. They do get abducted by aliens & cloned, but they will return her & take back the clone, as soon as you have been pushed past your breaking point.
I know this is hard for you to go through. I couldn't imagine. But it might be good for the kids to have sis go away for awhile & it might make her miss them terribly were she will treat them different in the future. Now when my 4 monsters put me through this, you can tell me the same. Teens are nasty brats put here to make their parents nuts! Also remember drug use in teens is down but drug use with their parents are up! There must be a reason! Take care & remember you are loved by your online friends, family, your husband & even the teen, loves you. You are her Mom & even if she doesn't admitt it to anyone else including herself, she loves you very much. Take it from a former nasty ungreatful teen!

4:30 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Thanks everyone. You have overwhelmed me with your responses.

I was afraid I wouldn't get any comments because you would all think I was a crap mom.

I'm sure many out there think I am.

And crazed of 4, pass the drugs, would ya?

7:24 AM  
Blogger Capybaras United said...

Sorry about the difficult time. This may help her gain perspective and mature a bit.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Thanks Capybaras. Some maturity from her would be very welcome. :)

9:25 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Sorry, C.

Judgment and ability to predict consequences aren't fully developed in teens. I agree that she'll gain perspective and maturity with time.

Every family has problems. We just do the best we can, and when we know better, we do better.

I still plan to write you for advice when we have kids. :)

9:49 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...


Are you and Bearette both taking the baby plunge now?

You won't regret it, at least until they're eight! :P

10:33 AM  
Blogger Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Oh Carolyn! My three are closer in age, but have the same issues. I am sure that, if there ws a choice, there are times when my eldest daughter would happily choose a parent who DIDN'T have two additional offspring hanging around to drive her insane.
I'm sure it will work itself out. she may find she misses the annoyance more than she thinks possible...

11:13 AM  
Blogger badgerdaddy said...

Well, I think this could turn out to be a positive - just not in the short term. I'm sure you don't need to hear the likes of childess me say this, but true to form, I will anyway.

It's a long road, so I'm told, and short term pain usually equals long-term gain. God, I sound like a slogan machine.

I just mean keep your head up. Feels shit now but in six months she'll be a different person (and a different one six months on from that) as it's such an intense period of development for kids. So just try and ride that wave.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

My heart is breaking for you. You are not a bad mom, please don't add that to what you are dealing with.

Sometimes it takes being apart for awhile to be able to be together again.

It seems to me that you are doing the thing that all your children need and of course it will be hardest on you and yet you are doing it so your family can heal. That is how good a mom you are.

I'll be thinking of you and hoping you are all able to come together again.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Bec - Hopefully she will miss us. It's good to know other people's kids have the same issues.

Badgerdaddy - Advice is always welcomed. It doesn't matter if you have children or not. Popping three out didn't make me a sage. And I liked your advice.

Paula - Thanks for saying I'm not a bad Mom. It means a lot.

1:59 PM  
Blogger MsCellania said...

Aw, Carolyn.
You must feel terrible and sad. I have no words to offer except words of comfort.
Siblings can be horribly cruel.
And I was a schmuck to my parents from 15 - 17 (when I left home). I remember being red-hot angry all the time. I think it was hormones! Anyway, we eventually became a close family again.
Counseling would be great. You must be grieving terribly for her.
Big HUGS to you and your family, Carolyn

3:42 PM  
Blogger Ms.L said...

I too think you're a good mum. Just look at the the steps you've taken to help her and yourself.
This is one of those horrid things where there is no easy answer but you're trying so damn hard and I think that says tons about you and your love for your girl.
This age sucks and every family has troubles in some form or another. I don't think it's any reflection on you or on her true self or the person she's going to grow up to be.
I'm thinking in a couple of months after you've all had time to decompress,things will be better and you can look at the situation with fresh eyes.

3:50 PM  
Blogger aunty evil said...

Take heart and don't be too hard on yourself.

My sister and her husband were good parents, they gave their kids every opportunity without spoiling them.

They raised my nephew, he was always a sweetheart.

Then there's his sister! (She's the one who named me Aunty Evil). When she was 15, she dropped out of the private school they were sending her to, left home one day without informing her parents, refused to answer their phone calls for days and when she did, gave them such a gob of attitude that their heads were reeling that all of this had been brewing without them realising it.

My sister knew she had to tread carefully, let her have her freedom (even though she was living with her boyfriend!) and at 16, she moved back home.

Problems came with her, the attitude remained, she made it clear she was only there because it was cheaper. (and we think the boyfriend didn't want her freeloading any more!)

At 17 she got herself (with a lot of help) to finish high school, at 18, got a job she loves, now at 19, and my sister said this only last week, "she is delightful, she has turned into a lovely person, we get along really well now".

All teenagers have issues, some of them are more "drama queens" than most. Yours appears to be like my niece, but have hope, they do turnaround eventually.

Just keep loving her, make sure she knows (even if you think she isn't listening), and don't pressure and hassle her.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself.

Sorry this is so long!

11:26 PM  
Blogger Joke said...

Be kind to yourself is right. The best thing you can do now is:

1- Deconstruct what happened from Day 1. (Oooh. Fun.)

2- Take care of the ones you still have around.

3- Don't stop loving your daughter.


P.S. Candle will be lit at Mass.

5:10 AM  
Blogger Mary Poppins said...

I'm with Chelle: it's not your fault!!!

I've been in the situation, the other way leaving..and I know my mom has always loved wasn't a matter of that...

Lots of hugs and well wishes ....I'll have you in our prayers..

8:35 AM  
Blogger CheerleadingTechie said...

I have a book for you to read. I'll give it to you when you guys come down, assuming you still will? It's called: "The 5 Languages of Love." It's a really good book.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Cari said...

I've heard a lot about that love languages book..but I haven't read it yet.

I think that kids are so mean to their moms because they know that no matter what, there mom will always be there for them.

Tears and prayers going out for you and your family during this incredibly difficult time.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Mscellania - I was a schmuck too. Maybe it's heredity.

Ms. L. - Thank you. I know you are having an even harder time right now and still taking the time to be supportive.

Aunty Evil - I like your nickname. :)

Joke - Thank you. Sometimes I think somebody needs to light me a bonfire. :)

Mary - It sounds like a lot of us have been troubled teens.

Techie - I'd like to read that.

Cari - It is true that we'll always love them.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

Wow Carolyn, that is a horrible mess I sure wish you weren't living through. It is obvious that you love her - and she will recognize that. You need to do what is best for your entire family and it sounds for the time being you have made a good choice. I can't imagine how hard this is for you. I will be praying for your family. Don't feel down. You work SO hard with your kids. Your are a great mom. Really. Hugs.

10:04 AM  
Blogger BabelBabe said...

You are NOT a crap mom. You work so hard for your kids, unless you are making up every single thing you say on this blog, which I somehow doubt. (Why waste the energy? : ))

I am thinking of you, and your daughter. And your whole family. Hang in there.

11:24 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

I'm so sad for you Carolyn, but you are most definitely, without a doubt, a FABULOUS mum...and don't you forget it.

One day, she'll return to her previous human may take a while though!

7:11 AM  
Blogger Sarah Louise said...

Oh, Carolyn, hang in there. You are a good mom. Teenagers are just, well, I remember I was pretty rebellious, in my own way. I'm glad you'll have some space and that you'll be getting help. I have at least one friend who left home at 16 and is now very well adjusted.

And as a biblio-therapy librarian, might I recommend Eat Cake? (It's one of those novels that puts everything in perspective AND it features a teenager that by the end of the book is less snarky.) Plus all the recipes...

Know that you're in my thoughts and prayers. Here's a hug and a kiss xxoo. (The old fashioned kind.)


4:36 AM  

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