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Friday, March 30, 2012

Bullying: Then and Now

I have been going through my old writings.  I wrote a lot of articles for sites like Technorati.com, HubPages.com, EZineArticles.com and Suite101.com. 

Bullying: Then and Now is one of the articles I wrote for Suite101.  It seems to be a good one as a mental health site used it as reading material on one of their pages.  Now, I am ticked they did not link back to the actual article (shown here in the link above) but I am glad that it was good enough for them to use it to help whoever it helped.

How do you feel about childhood bullying?  Is it a rite of passage?  Has it gone too far in the cyber age?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is There A Right Way To Raise A Teenager?

I've never raised a teenager before.  It seems pretty tough.  There are mood swings, power struggles, tantrums, fits, loud music... some of that is me.
I am losing my mind.  One minute she is happy, the next she is vicious and rude.  My boyfriend thinks he knows what to do, I know I don't know what to do and we argue about it.  He went barging in her room today and I flipped out on him.
"Don't you dare barge in her room like that!" I yelled and slammed the door to continue talking to her.
I came out of her bedroom finally and he was standing there and gave me the finger. 
So I think... how many children am I dealing with here?
I have learned some things in dealing with a teenager for the short time I have:
  1. It is important to deescalate the situation. The louder you yell, the louder she yells.
  2. Arguing does not help. It will take you down a losing path.
  3. Threats like "you're grounded for a year" are pointless. You can't follow through on it, so you've played into her hands. 
  4. When all else fails, go for a walk or a drive so you can cool off. 
It's tricky, you know? I have known parents who went strict thinking it would work and it didn't.  I have known parents who went slack thinking discipline was a "no-go" and it didn't work. Is there a happy medium? What doesn't help is having someone else in the household giving me hell.

  • Do you struggle with a partner about parenting technique?
  • Is your parenting style different from your parents?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Trying to Listen

Is there a wrong way to listen?

When I was a teenager, I had problems like any other kid in the world did and like any other kid in the world would have today. Okay, the problems today seem to be on a more complex level.
One thing I always tried to do was talk to my mother about the stuff that was going on inside of me.
I felt so inferior as a kid, as a teen and as an adult.
I guess growing up in a house with alcoholism and neglect can do that to a person. Who knows.
Fast forward to today when I now have a sixteen year old daughter. She talks to me about a lot of things. I am thankful for that. But tonight, as she told me about a problem she is having with a girl in school, after I was done listening, I went on to tell her how to handle it.
She yelled at me.
I wasn't listening she said.
I said I was absolutely listening.
She insisted that I wasn't.
I went on to tell her all the things she had just told me. That means I am listening!
Um, no.
Listening to her is what my mom thought listening was for me. But it turns out, my idea of listening is not what my mothers was and more importantly, not what my daughters idea of listening is.
This parenting this is tough, man. I don't want to be the mother my mother was to me because looking back I feel like she could have done better in a few areas. On the flip side of that, my mom was pretty cool in some areas and I really that to inject those into my parenting style.
So what does a parent do?
And even when I find myself trying to "just listen" and not heap a giant was of unsolicited advice onto her, I feel like I am just not getting it right.

Do you have any doubts when it comes to your parenting technique?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It Never Gets Easier

So my intentions when I first opened this blog was to highlight all the happiness pertaining to my daughter coming home after being away from me in foster care since 2006. She came home in June 2011. Almost her entire childhood was spent being raised by strangers while I came for visits bearing gifts purchased anywhere I could find them to quell the guilt inside of me.
She is sixteen, and I don't need to tell anyone what it was like being sixteen (if you have already been there) or tell you what it is like to be around someone who is sixteen. At times, being around a sixteen year old is utter joy, while other times it is more like being in the chair at the dentist right before he drills your molar and you realize he forgot to shoot you with Novocaine.
Yeah, it isn't much fun most of the time, but then again, it is the most fun I have ever had in a long time. My daughter is full of attitude I wish I had when I was her age as she tells me exactly what she thinks when she thinks it. I like that about her. I like that she has become comfortable enough with me (in a sense) that she wants me to know when she is upset about something (whether or not it pertains to me).
I would be lying if I told you I didn't second guess my decision to bring her home after the five plus years of her being away from me. I would also be lying if I told you I hadn't locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed while standing in the shower.
I haven't blogged about anything pertaining to this whole fiasco because I don't think she'd be too happy that I aired her crap on the internet for the whole world to see. I certainly would not have been happy if my own mother had done that to me years ago. Then again, my mother was very good at sweeping things under the rug when I was a teenager.
It was kind of the "let's ignore her, she'll get over it."
I don't ignore my daughter... I know it pisses her off now, but I have a feeling in five years she will thank me for it.

Do you think you got enough attention growing up or not enough?

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting Back Into Being A Mother

(Excerpt from a blog on The Great 80's - it applies here)

In the 80′s, my heroes (heroines.. whatever) were people like Laurie Strode (the protagonist in Halloween, played by Jamie Lee Curtis). She was fearless when protecting the little boy she was babysitting against that monster, Michael Myers.

Madonna! I fell in move with Madonna because she broke new ground for adding sexiness to music (along with some sluttiness – my mother loved that part… not.) She was sassy, controversial and took chances.

My daughter is nothing like Madonna, but at 16, I am noticing something about her. She sticks up for the underdog. She stands up for the kid that gets picked on. She sides with the bullied girl.

I put my daughter through hell from the age of 9. I got sober in 2006, when she was 11. But those years of me finding myself, staying sober and focusing on my program, were still no walk in the park for her.

She stood strong. She kept her head high. She never gave up on me, even though for years I had given up on her.

My other two daughters, who are older than my 16-year-old, deserve a mention here as well. They have been through their share of hell courtesy of me… something I am not proud of. They didn’t have the chance for a mother to be there for them in their formative teenage years. My middle daughter pretty much got her smarts on the street. My oldest daughter trusts no one.

One thing I notice in all of them: they stand up for what is right, and most importantly, stand up for themselves.

I struggle from time to time with the right things to say to my kids. Sometimes the guilt creeps in.. it swallows me like wounded prey.

This is bad. Guilt is an evil, worthless feeling that consumes the most optimistic of people.