It seems the “terrible teens” have officially hit my home. Both my 14 AND 16 year olds have hormonal fits out of nowhere and will flip from being fun and laughing one moment to the point that I think their heads will start spinning and spewing fire the next.
I know, all homes go through this and parents all over the world feel the need to duck when their teens walk through the door, but it seems like children of divorce take it to a whole new level. Add a Cluster B Personality disordered parent who fuels and feeds the fire and feelings of entitlement in the children, and you have a house full of “system created” monsters.
These “system created” monsters start at an early age. Many have parents who have some degree of conflict, and they learn quickly that if dad won’t get them what they want, mom will, and vice versa. The target parent, many times the non-custodial parent, gets sucked in easily because of the internalized stigma that they aren’t as “good” as the other parent. They start to believe the shaming. Others want to be the Disneyland parent for once. We contribute to the demise of good morals, values and character in our own children without intention.
I, for one, am guilty of overlooking disrespect. The conflict with Ted is so severe, and knowing Grant and Kristy are pulled in the middle by him at every turn, I have let much go for the sake of keeping my home fun, uplifting and positive. Now that the teen years are upon us, I find myself backtracking to curb behaviors and choices resembling their father’s selfishness and disrespect and entitlement. I know all teens are guilty of this, but it doesn’t make it ok, and it makes my limited time with them much harder now than it should have to be. Grant and Kristy are not in counseling and never have been, because Ted will not allow it. This makes changing behaviors that much harder because the message is coming from only one person, who’s parenting time is limited. The opposite is taught not only by Ted, but his entire large family.
This is a difficult subject to research. I have tried. Basically, in the little I have found, I have learned that patience, love, communication and boundaries are key to making it through these tumultuous years. And hope. Lord give me the strength to keep the hope.
- Patience: For me, for them, everyone needs to learn a little more patience during this time. Hormones rage, we all lack sleep, they crave more independence yet still want mommy, have dad’s put downs of me in the back of their minds, fear dad’s wrath, fear hurting me, and can be extremely selfish. I must remember their underdeveloped brains and inability to fully grasp that their behaviors and choices can have long lasting consequences due to our situation
- Love: I must show them unrelenting, insane love, even when it takes every ounce of my being. I never understood how difficult it can be show love to a child who is guilty of breaking important promises in an effort to show allegiance against me. Last August, Ted fed and manipulated Grant to feel “betrayed” by me and therefore convinced him to take pictures inside the temporary trailer home at Dane’s farm to make it appear uninhabitable, so he wouldn’t have to return for visits, not caring what it would do to Kristy who loves visiting. Dane’s great grandparent’s home burned down about 5 years ago. He temporarily has an old dumpy trailer on his farm property while he saves money to build a barn/home. I have never been so hurt by one of my children. I cried for weeks over his broken promises to not help Ted hurt me again, as he has in the past. My heart was also broken over his arrogance when first confronted after I received pictures from my attorney asking “What is this?” I have never struggled so much to show love in all of my life, but it is what he needs. I haven’t been able to forgive him quite yet, but I am working on it and showing as much love as a snot nosed teenager will allow. This means lots of hugs given to a stiff body.
- Communication: I am learning that I must have constant patient, loving and open communication with them. Living with a Cluster B parent in their lives, Grant and Kristy must learn to grow up faster than their brains allow. They have to make choices most kids their age don’t have the capability of understanding, and this really sucks, but it is the reality of the lives we are forced to live. I do not bash like Ted does me, but I also will make sure they know the truth instead of believing lies he tells them about me.
- Boundaries: Since the “August incident” boundaries have become a biggie in my home. Grant no longer stays home alone, must stay downstairs as long as Kristy and I are downstairs, and is not allowed to take his ipad or any electronic out of my sight. I can’t trust him not to try the same in my home. He swears he never would, but he swore he would never take any photographs anywhere for his father and we know how that ended up. Trust is earned and there are consequences for breaking trust. A close friend in my support group is selling the truck she bought for her son and forcing him to find his own transportation. “Andy” has decided the truck mom bought is not good enough and narcdaddy promised if he sold it and gave him the money, he would buy him a better truck. This is coming from a father who didn’t even call this son on his 16th birthday and didn’t see him for a month. Manipulation and constant chaos are created just to hurt my friend. Another friend in my support group’s sons just walk out of the house whenever narcdaddy manipulates them to leave, on my friend’s parenting time. New boundaries with consequences have been established in her home as well.
- Hope: We all have to hang onto the hope that our children do not become empty, entitled brats. I have to know at the end of all of this, that I did everything I could to help my children be the best they could be, if it doesn’t kill me or send me to the local looney bin in the process.
Do you have any tips or suggestions ?