Tag Archives: Single parenting and teens

Ch 8, Post 3 A New Way of Talking with My Teen

Relaxing Parental Control

The next Friday, when Sharon asked to stay out late after the basketball game, instead of immediately saying “No”, I said, “Well, let’s talk about that.” We did talk, and we reached a compromise. That Saturday morning, she was tired from staying out with her friends and I was tired from sitting up writing until she got home. We were equally irritable.

“I told you I don’t want anything but juice and toast for breakfast!”

“Well, excuse me!  I guess I got your order mixed up with someone else’s!”

“And why do we have to have such a small, wobbly table to eat on?”

Suddenly, I remembered the little speech I’d prepared for the next time we both got snippy.

“Sharon, we’re both a little tired right now, so let’s just be quiet, including me, until we feel better. Remember our problem is the problem, not each other. And our problem right now is this little kitchen and little, wobbly table.”

Our tiny table was a problem (picture from Dreamstime)
Our tiny table was a problem (picture from Dreamstime)

This little speech I repeated countless times in the ensuing teen years, sometimes out loud, many times silently, with one or the other of our problems plugged as the subject:  the lack of money, the lack of a car for Sharon, or the lack of privacy and space in the apartment.

Investing in My Daughter When She Needed It Most

Besides investing my emotional energy in maintaining our relationship, I determined to invest monetarily as well. I made it an irregularly regular habit to surprise her with a pizza date or a trip to the mall for the stone-washed jeans, hemp sandals, or silver anklet I knew her friends had but that she hadn’t even mentioned.

She would be a teenager only once, and she had already spent so much of that tumultuous time of her life working too hard and doing without too much.  I knew she cherished each little unexpected pleasure as much as she had those two unexpected mechanical pencils the Christmas she was ten.

She still appreciated the little things
She still appreciated the little things

Ch 8, Post 1 My New Frontier: Parenting an Adolescent

Chapter Eight-  Torment

            Anger is like . . .  Well, how can you really describe anger?  It comes in so many forms, from mild irritation to agitated frustration to towering, all-consuming rage. Each person experiences, and expresses, each of those forms in a manner consistent with personality, role in the situation, and, in the case of a teenage girl and her mother, state of hormone imbalance and reserve of parental patience respectively.

Irrespective of how it’s defined or individually experienced, anger involves change, change that has happened, soon will happen, or that needs to happen.        there is 32 shut door free cliparts all used for free

One night early that winter, what had become a typical shouting match between teen and parent ended, just as typically, with a slammed bedroom door and Sharon’s angst-soothing loud music. I stood in our little front room, the air still bristling with tension, and thought, with no small amount of irritation, at the natural order of things, the way growing up had to be, how adolescence had changed Sharon, and, of course, changed our relationship.

The physical changes, of course, were coming one after another, as were the mental and emotional changes, exactly as they were supposed to.

However, my cherished little girl was also becoming sensitive to the pressure to conform, to dress, talk, look, and act like her peers and to do and have the same things.  That’s where the friction was.

That summer, she’d starting working in a bookstore, 20 hours a week.  She had completed all the work my boss had for her to do on Saturdays about that time. And she wanted more money.

Fortunately, her new job had increased her weekly earnings at the same time her new adolescent status had increased her desire for what those earnings could buy. Of course, she wanted things like mascara and eye shadow, magazines to read, movies to see, and pizza to eat with friends, all of which I could not buy for her.

Things Single Parents Cannot Provide

When school started, though, her paychecks had taken a nosedive.  Now she wanted to work three afternoons a week as well as Saturdays in a fast food franchise.  We’d had several quite warm discussions, but none so intense or loud as tonight. Our positions were entrenched.  It was all-out war.

money_3 clipart - money_3 clip art

“I am old enough to have a regular job now!  I can still get my homework done and get enough sleep.  IF I don’t start working now, I”ll never be able to save for a car. You can’t buy me one.  What else am I supposed to do?”

“I don’t know,” I’d replied, my voice thick with threatening tears.  “But you are not old enough to work like an adult, and you’re not going to!”

How could I have gotten so angry and yelled so loudly when I loved her so much?  I slumped on the sagging blue plaid love seat, elbows on my knees, head in my hands, and closed my eyes.  I prayed and cried at the same time, quietly so she would not hear