Just me putting my thoughts out there in hopes that someone has some insight.
Published on September 27, 2008 By scoutjamal In Marriage

Well, we are less than 1 week away from our wedding! How exciting/stressful/scary/romantic/exhausting/ memorable/crazy...you get the point...In the midst of all this wedding planning, honeymoon planning, childcare planning, new job planning, financial planning, pet-sitter planning, trip planning real life continues to go on.  And, as many people who know me know, real life for our little family is crazy enough without any added stressors!!

One of the bigger stressors in our family is parenting a pre-teen.  I know teens in general are strange creatures, warranting much research, observation and prescription medications for their caretakers.  Seeing them on tv, advising clients and friends how they "should" raise their very own version of this specimen, etc. is all well and good.  But when one of these creatures dwells in your home, it's a whole different beast!!!

Add to that the dimension that I am the step-parent and the plot thickens...

Add to that the fact that neither one of the parents of this strange hormonal phenomenon had models of good parenting and chaos ensues.

Add to that the tragic truth that both parents suck at communicating with one another and you have.....this morning!!! 

Basically, what I need to learn from co-parenting is that I need to keep my mouth shut.  No matter how much time passes, no matter how many parenting roles I take on, no matter what lip service is given to my role as the co-parent, the fact remains that I am second fiddle.  I am second fiddle to the teen - who I think would much prefer that it just be her and her mom (or her and a pack of wolves maybe).  That's understandable.  Everyone I have spoke to who survived this teenage years insanity says that your teen hates you from age 12 to age 20.  So, we're off to a good, developmentally appropriate start!

However, I am occasionally reminded (in case I forget, which I did this morning) that I am also second fiddle parent to the other parent.  I cannot express frustration with parenting - it is met with silence or annomosity.  I cannot express disappointment, stress, concern over poor behavior/choices.  Basically, anything negative is best kept private inside my own head.  All I can express safely is love and glee and happiness.  And, sadly, those moments are few and far between with a teenager. 

So, I'm stuck.  I'm being told by my partner, my therapist, my partner's therapist that I suck at communication - that I need to communicate more, that I need to share my wants/needs/thoughts openly and honestly, etc.  However, what communication often times teaches me is that it is best left unsaid.  So, I have a lot of trouble finding that balance! I hate conflict.  So, communication to me oftentimes equals inevitable conflict. 

Perfect example: This morning.  My partner's going to get a haircut! I'm going to teen-sit, which I had already planned on doing.  I made the mistake of saying that I was not looking forward to spending 2 hours with the teen because I was so frustrated with her.  BIG MISTAKE. Should have kept that one to myself (even though her mother's next sentence was  "Well, I'm not excited about having to spend 8 hours with her this evening.").  The result: A brief altercation, followed by the silent treatment and leaving the house without even saying goodbye. Nice.

(On another note - I HATE the silent treatment.  I hate when I'm ignored. I hate when someone leaves me in anger without saying goodbye or I love you.  My first desire was to call her cell and say, "Love you. Hope I don't die of a heart attack while you're gone."  But I refrained! But I still hate it. I think it's unfair to do that to someone when you know they hate being treated like that!)

Any insights???




on Sep 27, 2008

Sounds like you've got a support system in place. As a vet of such a support system, I'd say listen to what is offered, and do the best you can do.

I recently posted a blog about raising teens called "Sniffing for Butt." (http://sh-80.joeuser.com/article/325584/Sniffing_for_Butt)
I told the boy I'd see him in 12 years since his brain was entering hibernation.

Hang in there...just a few more years and she'll be back to normal...okay...perhaps that is a relative term...I'm almost 40, and I ain't normal!


on Sep 27, 2008

BTW, it is difficult to walk that line of when to share your feelings and when to hold back for fear of hurting the other, adding to his/her stress level, or overstepping (an imaginary) boundary.

But, being on the other side, I expressed recently that I want to know her feelings because her feelings are important, and her insight is invaluable. Often, she can provide a different viewpoint that I wouldn't have otherwise seen because of my longstanding emotional attachment.

Hang in there...keep communicating (even if it is hard)...it's better than the other option!

on Sep 28, 2008

aw the teen years, some of the most intense, lovely, wanting to wring their necks feelings! And that also happens even when they are six years old! Kids are great but they are little selfish people walking around on two legs. They don't get what they want, they hate you, they get what they want, they love you.  It is hard to not want them to love you all the time but sometimes you have to do what you hate doing and make them hate you, they will get over it, eventually! No matter what, make a decision and stick to it. Don't flip flop or else they will have things over you all the time!  I learned from experience.  I want my kids happy (who doesn't?) and I tend to give in to them at times, but now I'm not so easily swayed because I realise they have it good and it is not the end of the world if something they want, doesn't work out right away. 


As for communicating with the love of your life, yes, that is very important.  You have to keep the lines open at all times, otherwise how else can he/she knows exactly what you want, or are feeling?  I give my hubby the silent treatment when he acts like an ass.  That's when he doesn't listen and only wants his way without considering my feelings are even really paying attention to the matter at hand.  I don't know if that helps you. But good luck with it all!

on Oct 09, 2008

You sound like a good enough communicator. Blogging about it is definitely some sort of communication and you've found all the right words to express the way you feel. I'm not saying that you necessarily need to share your blog with all parties concerned, but you can say the words to them that you wrote here.

And I think an, "I love you," phone call would have been beautiful and appropriate after the silent treatment that went on that morning. The part about the heart attack (i.e. giving your partner the guilt treatment) could be done without though. I know things are blurry in the heat of the moment.


Good luck to you!