No I'm not talking about plants or frogs here. I'm going to talk about those humans go thru on the way to finding ourselves.
(Disclaimer: My daughter may not like what I say here but I am not going to put out gory details and in fact be a bit vague about somethings. I'm doing this in the hope it may help me grow as a parent and see things I may have missed and maybe help someone who is going thru something simular or will someday go thru.)
I once had a talk with a friend who asked if anyone else's teenage daughter had/goes thru cycles in life where there are good months and lots of growth then they seem to backslide and take on old behaviors. I noted mine most diffenetly did. I don't think teen girls have a monopoly on this though....I've seen it in children, teens, adults...men and women alike. There is a term for it: Surrender.
We have to surrender to change- inner and outer and change is hard.
The teen years have not been an easy adventure, to say the least. I've seen alot of growth in our family during this time- in me and how I parent, not only the teens but the youngers too. I see mistakes I have made and try to fix how I do somethings in the hopes of doing it better with and for everyone involved. The teen here don't like that I choose to do it a bit different for the youngers but I do things different each day with them too- but being on the inside doesn't let you see that.
My eldest has grown a lot in the past year but over the past few months I can see the cycle on a downward arch. (I feel we'll make it thru this just like many of the others but still feel a bit of hopelessness or faithless that I'll be able to get thru still fully intact. When at the lowest I become the punching bag. And having lived in abusive relationships and often mistrusting my insticts and feeling guilt or like I've done or am at the root of all that is wrong with my children, then it is easy for me to second guess myself and start to beat myself up along with the outside attacks.) I honestly wonder how much I can take this time and when and what I am supposed to be doing.
I've been recently told my expectations are too high and I make others feel like they need to be prefect. I had a conversation not long ago where I stated I don't feel that way- I honestly don't expect straight A's or even B's, just that you put the same effort into school as you do your social life. I don't expect them to do more than their fair share around the house (everyone of the children have one chore daily) but I do want and need them to do what's theirs and clean up after themselves. I expect, no demand and complain that their never here, no I just want them sleeping under my roof an equal amount of time as they do away and to call at a reasonable time to let us know what's going on. And when you are home to be pleasant and respectful because honestly we miss you and like having you here, even if it's a burden you dislike.
I don't think my expectations are too high, actually I've been told they are too low but simply I want my children to grow up to be happy and successful in whatever they choose to do. I want them to be able to see when they are wrong and take responsibility for it and not struggle against the hard times in life, because they do come and part of being an adult is looking at that and finding solutions to fix it and usually the solutions being with you.
My daughter's cycles can come to the low point of threating to run away, and she has actually done it- trying to live first in one place and then another till she finds nothing is working and comes back home. But it's still not her issue and that of those around her. I often get to hear how bad I am as a mother and how I don't give enough attention, freedom or many other things. I try and ask what I can do but when I fulfill those wishes it's still not good enough and I did something else wrong. Usually it boils done to money and spending money on activities but we don't have it to spend in that way- no my children don't want for the nesscessities and have more than a lot of others but it doesn't ever seem like enough.
I hate being told that she wishes I'd just given her up when she was born. Really I'm sorry your life has been that bad. But I don't regret her one bit.
Can I do it again this time? Can I handle being the punching bag, the scapegoat, the root of all evil? No but where and when do I draw the line. How much is too much and when do I just let go? I've tried in the past to let her go but she still is only almost 17 and legally (not to mention emotionally) I have a tie to her for another year. Her life can't be her own yet. I know some will think I should just put my foot down and dole out punishments for her behavior but how do you do that for someone who won't take it?! Yep I could take away her Ipod or phone or any number of things but when she'll just walk out the door anyways there's actually no consequence being learned. Yes I have turned her in as a run away but again no consequences for that. And honestly I've learned and feel it all boils down to being a battle of wills and what does that teach?
I don't know but I too am at a surrender- I see my daughter struggling but she doesn't want help, she wants to run. She wants to be angry and self-pitying and blame the world for life. I was that way too once upon a time and it took many hard lessons for me to live thru to get to a point where sometimes I can see where I've been wrong and what I can do better and try to make amends. But when do you finally make those amends and just be done with trying to fix it. When do you let the other take it on themself? I have an easier time with this and adults when it comes to my children there's the mama guilt and the fine line that you're doing your best but your children's expectations of you are too high, mainly older (teen and young adult) children.
I don't know where my daughter's physically at at this point (she never came home last night) and what I should do, simpily because this has happen so often before. I don't know how to deal this cycle this time. I'm just basically at a loss. I do know I can't do it again and again and again. Even when in the long run she does grow- but at the extent of our relationship and those around her. She does damage. And sometimes there are others that need protecting, and sometimes it's me because if I live with all this self-doubt and beat myself up I am not a good mom to anyone.
But I love her unconditionally.