Thursday, March 24, 2005

To briefly follow-up on our “Family Fun” night...

The buddy list miraculously reappeared. In the meantime, no one seems to understand that the telephone is a useful communication tool.

DS still had a few disparaging remarks to make towards DD, but otherwise it all settled down.

I have had to remind myself that teenagers truly are nuts. It helps if I keep that frame of mind. There is this wonderful book by Dr. Michael Bradley called, Yes, Your Teen is Crazy/ Loving your Kid without Losing your Mind. We were having a terrible time of it w/DS a few years ago, and DH and I were having lunch in this bookstore/coffee shop. This book was literally staring me in the face while I ate - so I opened it... directly to a passage on teen rage and its aftermath. And in the middle of this coffee shop, I just started to cry. Honestly, I felt the hand of God right then and there. Bought the book, read it cover to cover. And still will refresh myself with it from time to time.

His main premise is that teen brains are quite different from adult brains. That brain development in toddlerhood is peanuts compared to brain development in adolescence. So the kids interpret our verbal and nonverbal signals differently, and usually incorrectly. And add to that today’s fast moving society and all its pitfalls, and it’s no wonder families have problems. Yet all of this is presented in good humor and by reminding parents that we are the adults (with normally functioning brains) and can exert great influence by modeling mature, rational behavior. It’s also kind of like that saying about kids needing love the most just when they deserve it the least (or something like that). And that we as adults have the capacity to forgive, so it’s up to us to be grownups and show mercy when kids rage or act stupid or nuts.

Now clearly, there are kids and families with problems that are beyond the scope of this advice.

But most of us have garden-variety teens who completely perplex, frustrate, aggravate and challenge us. And sometimes our exchanges can get so awful that we may be on the verge losing our relationship with them. That would be a terrible loss. Because despite all of their insanity, my teens and most of the other teens that I know have wonderful sides. Compassionate. Responsible. Polite (gasp). Funny. Perceptive. Sometimes it’s at the forefront of their personality. Sometimes it’s not.

As a for instance, did you know that DS will always go to a funeral home with me? DH works several nights a week, so often he can’t go with me when a friend or neighbor has died. But DS will always go. I’ve even told him that he doesn’t have to, but he goes. Told me he thinks he should. That I shouldn’t go alone. I think on some level he’s trying to protect me? Or at least be supportive. I think it’s incredibly mature.

Well anyway, now that I’ve thrown brevity out the window...maybe one day I’ll talk about stitching.

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