Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Difficult Teenagers

As I have mentioned previously, I have two children.  I often speak about my little one, but my first love and first born, is my daughter.  She recently turned 17 years old and for the better part of a decade she has been...difficult.  

She is very smart but has always hated school.  She hates authority.  And even more than the aforementioned, she hates the word NO!  She is beautiful with very low self esteem.  She is angry.  She does not know her value so she allows people to take advantage of her.  But she is not always the victim, she is a master manipulator and is often the one doing the taking advantage of.  She is a lying, lazy, unappreciative brat.

I know the negatives far outweigh the positives up there.  And that truly kills me.  She is a beautiful person who I love unconditionally so if I sound like I hate my kid that couldn't be further from the truth.  She is my first true love.  I created her...with some help from her father.  I carried her in my body for 9 months and anxiously awaited her arrival like a crazy person.  She was and still is the most beautiful baby girl I have ever seen.  She was my everything!  She gave me purpose.  She was my little sidekick.  Where ever you saw me, you saw her attached to my hip.  It's crazy how much things change over time.

School has always been an issue - and she is now a high school drop out.  The only time I ever seen her cross a stage to get a "diploma" was KINDERGARTEN!!   She had runaway a couple days before her 8th grade graduation and didn't bother to show up.  Me, the hubby and her little brother all sat there waiting for her name to be called.  They called her name and then followed with "ABSENT".  My heart sank.  I was sad and furious at the same time.  I felt that she robbed me of this moment that every parent should experience.  I so wanted to have that proud mama moment.  Sadly I already knew that she would not be graduating from high school so that was my last chance to see her getting a diploma.  Hopefully she will get her crap together and get her GED and then one day take some classes at a college, not for me, but for her.

She has runaway countless times, stolen from stores and family, been involved with drugs, underage drinking and all of the shit that goes along with that.  She has been very self destructive in the past.  She has all but ripped our family apart.

Last month she was in a pretty bad car accident while on the run.  She thankfully was wearing her seat belt and had minor injuries.  But the car was totalled, all of the windows busted and all of the contents of the car spilled all over the highway.  The Police came to our house at 1:20am banging on the door to let me know that she was at the hospital.  I was so scared.  They wouldn't tell me what happened - they wouldn't even tell me if she was alive.  My mind was running rampant with all of the terrible possibilities...did she O.D.? Was she shot or stabbed?  Raped? I was beyond relieved to see her alive and only with minor injuries.  She was very shaken up emotionally though.  She was crying uncontrollably.  After the doctors did their thing, I took her home.  

We really have not had any major issues since the accident.  I think it may have knocked some sense into her.  haha!  Whatever, the reason, I am grateful for the major decrease of drama in my life.  I am grateful to know where my daughter is every night.  I am grateful that she no longer "hates" me.  I am grateful for the opportunity for us to be able to start repairing our relationship.  She comes home every night.  If she is running late for curfew she always calls and lets me know she is on her way.  She is civil with all family members.  The attitude is all but gone.  She is miraculously handling the word "NO" ok these days.  She still doesn't help out much around the house and keeps her room disgusting, but as far as I am concerned that is normal teenage behavior.  I love my 17 year old baby girl no matter what, even on the days when I don't like her much. ;) She will always be my baby and I her mother.  My love for her is unconditional even when it needs to be tough love. 

This is a poem that a friend emailed to me while I was going through a particularly difficult time with my daughter.  It was during one of her many runaways, but this time I didn't know where she was for over 3 weeks. When I read it I wept uncontrollably.  I think because I always felt I was so alone in my trials and tribulations with my daughter and then there it was, in writing, that others go through the same. 

A parent is grateful to have been a dealt a difficult child for in this she has the opportunity to test the boundaries of her love.

Thank God For The Difficult Child
By: Shelly D. Coleman 

The difficult teen will do things their own way, in their own time, regardless of your wishes or schedule.
The good teen will do what you ask, when you ask, even though they may complain a little.
It's easy to love a good child.

The difficult teen will try your patience and understanding every day. They will challenge the depths of your love, the core of your soul numerous times throughout each day, until you wonder if you have any strength left.
The good teen will try your patience and understanding from time to time. They will challenge your ability to see just how many extracurricular activities you can cram into each day, until you wonder if you have any energy left.
It's easy to love a good child.

The difficult teen will sneak out of the house at night to buy drugs, only to have the police knock at your door at 3am on a work night so you can come down to the station to pick them up. They've been arrested.
The good teen will sneak out of the house at night (on a weekend) to TP the soccer coach's house after a big win, only to go back to the coaches house the next morning. To help clean up.
It's easy to love a good child.

The difficult teen will skip school, even when you drop them off out front and watch them walk inside. No matter how hard a parent tries to help or force a child, the difficult teen may not graduate from High School. The difficult teen won't be going off to college.
The good teen might consider skipping a class or two, but doesn't want to get caught. A parent doesn't have to make an effort to keep a good kid in school. The good teen ponders which college they should attend.
It's easy to love a good child.

The difficult teen is often withdrawn from family. They don't smile a lot, they don't get real enthusiastic about much. A parent's heart breaks a little more every day.
The good teen often tells family about things that happened during their day. They smile and laugh a lot, and are enthusiastic about a lot of things. A parent's heart soars a little more every day.
It's easy to love a good child.

So many people give up on the difficult teen. Write them off as being unworthy of their efforts. Distrust, because they don't understand. Give up because it's the easiest thing to do.
So many people cheer for the good teen. Try to help them in any way they can. Trust them, because it's not hard to do so. Encourage them to succeed because they seem to want to.
It's easy to love a good child.

It's easy to love the good teen. The parent's of them, thank God their life is going as planned. That they have good children to love. Sure, a parent loves their good teen unconditionally. But they haven't really had to put that to the test. They haven't had to test the limits of their understanding and forgiveness. Their souls and faith are intact because they haven't been shattered. Do they realize that the most important things in life are the little things? The path of the good teen may not be exactly what a parent would have chosen, but they know that everything will turn out all right.
I thank God that you have a good child.

It's not easy to love the difficult teen. But I thank God for them, for without the difficult teens, how can we possibly understand what unconditional love really is? How would we know just how deeply we can love, and how easily we can forgive? How would we otherwise test the endurance of our souls, the depths of our faith? How else would we realize just how strong we really are? How else would we know what is TRULY important in life.
The path of the difficult teen may not be what a parent would have chosen, but it is the hand that they were dealt.
I thank God that I have a difficult child.

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