In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Warning: Rant Post

My youngest two sons, ages 18 & 16 are driving me nuts!

OK, so I may very well have already been nuts even before they came along, or for sure by the time they became teens. But still, they really are getting to me.

Great marytr that I am, I feel like I do a lot for them. Feel like I go out of my way to pack them great lunches and ensure we have nutritious dinners together. Plan my schedule around their events. Go to any sporting event in which they particpate, even if it is a 2hr drive after a work day followed by a 1 1/2 hour drive to get home. Try to foster a home life that involves prayer and seeking after God. get the idea.

But their perception of me and my perception are not at all the same. According to them there seems nothing that I do right. Life is a never ending litany of hearing how I didn't do this or that, or did such and such wrong, or that I'm too negative, or that I should do this or that for them.

Agggghhhh, I'm letting these guys really get to me!

Any other parents of teenagers out there? Do your kids ever act entitled and unappreciative? (Although the Bible is clear that we're not to compare ourselves to others I'm here trying to find others who feel the same so I won't feel like quite such a failure. So I can say, see so and so is someone who I really like and he has the same challenges that I do with my teens)


Victor S E Moubarak said...

Sounds to me like you're the perfect parent. God loves you for it.

I was thinking ... I wonder what God says when time and again I go to Him asking for things?

God bless you and your family.

Being Me said...

Must be the planets converging or something. I've been feeling exactly that of late about the kids.

It's the school hols of course and the house is a great deal messier and I am short on patience.
I'm tired.

All I can say is, God bless us mothers.

John Cowart said...

Hi Tracy,

All six of my children are grown and gone with homes of their own--Thanks Be To God!

However, the scars remain.

The single most difficult job in the world is raising a teenager.

We need to give them roots and give them wings. And it's a father's job to make his kids happy and to make them miserable.

But the most important thing we can do is survive. They will. We need to.

I'd suggest that you stop letting your life revolve around them. Instead of driving three hours for a school thing, stay home and watch dancing with the stars or some other edifying program. Believed me, the kids will find a way to get to anyplace in the world they want to go to. You are their first resort, not their last.

Love 'em by ignoring 'em for a change.

God gave you a life to live and it does not necessarily involve your kids. You and your husband will still have a life after they are grown and gone and living in their own homes.

Concentrate on surviving their teen years yourself.

Think my advice harsh? All I got to say is that by and large our children are now my best friends in the whole world.

But, by the way, I have no idea what, if anything, Ginny and I did right or wrong as parents. We by the grace of God lucked out. Ginny remarked that children do not come with an instruction manual--or a cattle prod.


Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

Tracy, all I can say is that I haven't quite gotten there yet, as my oldest is barely 13. However, your transparency is giving me the comfort that you are seeking. :-)

Just thought you might like to know that.

Tony C said...

Bless you Tracy! I feel your pain and only have a single teenager at this point.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to parent the way I feel God leads me to. It may be unpopular, disruptive, intrusive, embarassing, humiliating, and even seem asinine, but I'm moving forward in the direction He leads.

Doing it any other way is way too scary!

Best of luck dear...I'll say a prayer for you today!

David-FireAndGrace said...

The older I get, the more I wish I had given my older kids more choices growing up. (still have a 7-year-old) I spent a lot of time saying do this and don't do that. My kids rebelled against the rules and pushed the limits.

I did learn to pick my battles... as heartbreaking as the tattoos were, they weren't going to kill them. I am glad that they stayed out of trouble - in particular with drugs and alcohol. Daughter #2 got a serious infection from a tattoo, and there I stood saying, "you have a car, let me know if you need directions to the ER."

I try to give them choices. I let them pick schools, careers, their own cars, classes in HS, which chores they wanted to do and things like that. With the little one we let her choose the order of how she gets ready in the morning, whether she gets PC or TV time, what restaurant to have Saturday breakfast at (every few weeks), drinks or setting the table etc.

I fixed the entitlement issue by taking away the soap, toothpaste and toilet paper right after they wanted to have something else I couldn't afford.

When the rent wasn't paid, I shut off the cable Internet and TV. I even turn off one daughter’s cell phone that was on my plan.

I never stopped praying at the dinner table, going to thier school/college events, requiring church on Sundays, or putting their dirty glasses and plates on their pillows which they left in on the coffee table.

How did it turn out? My son is on his own and doing well - just finished a master's degree. My 23-y-o is living with us and the pressure is on for her to get a job that pays enough that she can afford her own place. She is in by 11 (or stays at a friends), pays rent, and does the dishwasher every day. The 20-y-o moved back with her alcoholic mother. She couldn’t handle working full-time, paying $25 a week in rent and doing a load of towels once a week.

Are they grateful for me? I don’t know, and though I have been called a few names over the years, my job is to train them up, not be their best friend.

I love what Dr. Phil says, we are raising adults, not kids.

JD Curtis said...

Teenagers, especially in their late teens, are often self-centered know-it-alls. I know I was at that age, and I doubt that it's much different these days for kids in that age group. Keep that in mind and just keep doing what you feel is best.

Enjoyed your reply David!

Deborah Ann said...

You know, Tracy, it's hit or miss. We did the exact same thing with all 4 of our kids. But the oldest doesn't want much to do with us. He only comes around when he needs something. Our daughter is a sweetheart, a real joy. And our twins call nearly everyday, even when they're on vacation! They want us to hear every single detail of their lives, and I'm loving it!

So don't give up hope, things are ever changing...

Tracy said...

Thanks for all the encouragement.

Victor - Perhaps my sons come by that know-it-all thing from me, I know that there've been times when I seemed to think I knew better than God's ways. Boy did that never turn out right!

Being Me - I'm with you on the God bless us mothers thing.

John - One of the things that I adore about you is that you love God and seek after Him, but never act "spiritual". You're so down to earth that even I can relate to you. Setting the bar at survival helps me not feel like such a loser.

Chel - What a kind thing to say - thank you.

Tony - Thanks for the encouragement to parent how I belive God is leading me; not how other people (my kids included) think I should. A woman in my small group named Jenni once said something to the effect that she loved her daughter more than she cared about her daughter liking her, and some days that's just got to be how it is.

David - Interesting method for dealing with the entitlement issue - you've definitely got me laughing on that one. The REALLY funny part is that you actually did that!

JD - Gee you were that way then and look at how great you turned out; see there's hope yet for my youngest two!

Deborah Ann - I know what you mean about the hit and miss; that you can do the same thing with all of them, yet they each choose different paths. I've seen this with other people's children and with my own. The truth is that each person is accountable to God and God is the one Who is really working in their lives.

David-FireAndGrace said...

Thanks JD - keep in mind that some of this was not easy.

@Tracy - it was hard, but I saw the need to make a simple statement. And nothing shakes up an etitled kid more than when a basic need is threatened.

I am practicing being nice and setting boundaries. It is easiest when my wife backs me up.

Gem said...

I have 8 children with 4 remaining at home.

My 15 yo thought that I "don't do anything" so I decided we were trading chores. Now she does the dishes and suddenly it's such a "hard chore!"

My 8 year old son makes his own packed lunch (usually peanut butter and raspberry jelly). If I was you, I'd drop packing the lunches for your teenagers. They can do that themselves.

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