with lots of trial and error.
Let the fun begin. As I slowly advance through my journal I’m beginning to notice a few common themes. Let’s see if you come up with some of the same conclusions that I have, after I share some quotes from my next few pages:
- “Jordan is getting a bit out of control with her bedtime and morning routine.”
- “Not acceptable!”
- “By Friday she is evil.”
- “Her weekends are miserable, she’s moody all day.”
- “She only had two assignments for homework, but missed a party and a basketball game because she didn’t get them done.”
- “She doesn’t have to be perfect!”
- “We may need to get her help with this or she’s going to burn out before high school.”
- “I may try a chart so she can keep track of how long it takes to wash her face and pick out clothes, so maybe she'll see a pattern or something.”
- “Sleep and food are most important!” That was Adam's thing, and still is. ;)
- “At 13 you should really be able to feed yourself so you don’t become evil!” Cringe, because apparently this was said to her.
- "We want to help her but she's so stubborn and refuses to help herself."
- "She makes things worse and it's so hard to want to help someone who does that over and over again."
Do you notice any patterns? Does anything come screaming out at you, like it does to me? Because now that I have lived through it, it all seems so very clear; Jordan was slowly cascading into a world of crisis. And my reactions were judgmental and emotion-filled. Hence the number of exclamation points and descriptive words (aka name calling?). Cringe. Although, at least I was trying to come up with some possible solutions..
I see things clearly now, but when I was living through it, all I could see was fear and anger. I think we as parents are always looking for a reason why. Why is she struggling so much? Why is life so difficult for her?
Unfortunately, I think the typical parental answer to that question, at least when the struggle is so new and so raw (not sure I have the right to say this) is to "blame" the child. "If only my child would do the homework, accept the help, eat more food, eat less food, be less aggressive, be more aggressive, go to bed, hang out with friends, text me more, be more responsible, study more, try harder, stop being rude, listen to me, do the chores, not be so sensitive, so talkative, so mouthy, so angry, so unhappy, so... See what I mean?
It's a hard habit to break, stopping the judgmental finger pointing, but I'm proof that even if it takes a very long time, it can be done. That being said, you may want to brace yourself because it took me years to figure it out. And years fill up a lot of emotion-filled pages, in a lot of journals.