Monday, February 16, 2009

unfamiliar territory

I am in over my head y'all. I am not equipped to be the mother of a teenager. And it isn't even what you might suspect. I can handle the occasional Mount Vesuvius moments. That isn't the problem. The teen that I love has a personality I don't understand. Her emotions are in a quadruple-locked box. If you ask her, she's "just tired". All she wants to do is lie in bed and read. Flatline.

The polar opposite, my emotions are pretty much on my sleeve at all times. I openly communicate about my emotions, feelings, anxieties, and joys in an honest (sometimes brutally honest) way.

Having taken some classes in college that dabbled in counseling issues/skills, I have a walking knowledge of the kinds of ways to get people to open up. None of them work. Open-ended questions are met with dialogue-ending one word answers. Sometimes I come right out and ask what the problem is. "I don't know," she'll answer back. I employ lots of approaches including humor, solemn concern, empathy, and as crazy as it might seem to those of you who know me, I will be silent.....hoping she will take an opportunity to use it as her very own soapbox opportunity. Sometimes I offer suggestions on what I suspect may be the problem and occasionally I will ignore it altogether hoping it will go away. Occasionally she will blame stuff on a sibling, but when it comes right down to it, I am looking at a hand full of nothing to go on. During our heart-to-hearts which maddeningly turn into one-way diatribes, I lovingly explain that this is my first experience with a teen, and that I'd love some help understanding such a creach-ter. I tenderly walk through eggshells. I don't want her to feel like a freak or make things worse, but on the other hand, I don't want to coddle her so much that I am left with a spoiled rotten brat. It truly is a catch-22.

So, out of desperation, this weekend at Mass, I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me (I know, that should have been where I started in the first place..I'm a slow learner). The first thing I think I heard was "reach out to King". I suppose I have shielded him from a lot of it, because I felt like I can handle it. Realizing I cannot, I took that first step. We talked for quite a long time and are both on the same page so that we can present a united front. Even still, it's quite intimidating.

Please pray for us.


Sandy said...

I remember those days and especially, in the summer, when I had two of them like that. I still have nightmares.:)

vcrick said...

I will pray for you. We have raised one teenager into manhood and are in the midst of raising the next two. Not much fun. Hang in there. It is worth the heartache and tears.

Bia said...

you are not alone . . . we have been sojourning in this same unchartered territory with our oldest. i was never like this . . . or was i? (don't ask my parents)