Sticks and stones may break my bones……..

..but words will never harm me.

Right?

We have known this simple rhyme since childhood but how often do we get ourselves into trouble by unnecessary responses to words that don’t harm us?

When we live in close proximity to others, their cute little habits and idiosyncrasies may lose their charm when experienced 24/7. In addition to this when somebody in your family is experiencing some form of stress, irritability or mood swings, their responses and behaviour can become erratic, careless and hurtful.

How great is the temptation to fire a caustic comment in response?

Burning arrow

“How dare he / she speak to me like that” and a million other thoughts flash through our head, before we know it we are verbalizing an unpleasant aggressive response just to “let them see who’s boss”. Continue reading

Any way the wind blows……Part 2

In Part 1  we looked at our own possible reactions to having an unpredictable teen in our family, and ways in which we could deal with any difficult states of mind, or delusions  we may be experiencing, thereby improving our ability to support our teenager while retaining some degree of sanity!

The Buddhist term ‘delusion’ refers to negative minds such as anger, greed, jealousy, impatience, selfishness and attachment, which destroy our peace and wellbeing. However, positive states of mind such as love, generosity, patience and cherishing others, result only in happiness, both for ourselves and others around us.

It is vital not to label ourself with these negative minds, i.e. we are not inherently an angry person,or an impatient person etc, these are uncontrolled states of mind which arise within us. We know from our own experience that none of these minds are permanent, we may be very angry for a period of time but eventually this subsides. Our mind is like a balloon on the wind which is carried backwards and forwards out of our control, dragging us with it wherever it goes. This is why we can feel happy one minute and then maybe sad or irritable the next.

Balloon in the sky with girl

If we choose to label ourself in any way, we are perceiving ourself as something, that in fact , does not exist. We are not fixed or unchangeable, either physically, mentally, or in any other way . Continue reading

Anyway the wind blows……..Part 1

Are you living with Jekyll and Hyde?

Jekyll and Hyde

If you are the parent of a teenager you would probably agree to this question. Even the gentlest journey through the teenage years can be an unpredictable ride, and for some its like living on “the Big Dipper” (or whatever the scariest rollercoasters are called these days).

A happy smiling teen one minute can turn into a roaring lion the next. Sometimes even the simplest question such as “Hi, how did your day go?”, produces a scowl that tells you “Just don’t go there”.

Communication lines can be intermittent or completely down when things get very icy. Either way your teenagers mood seems to change every time the wind blows. Unpredictable at best ,unmanageable at worst.

We may feel helpless,hurt,impatient or angry. Continue reading

It’s so stressful……

If it’s not one thing it’s another.

Hardly time to draw breath before the next onslaught. One problem solved (maybe), another arises. You feel backed into a corner, you feel overwhelmed, and you feel so stressed. Stressed Does this sound familiar? Stress or anxiety in some form or another are becoming more commonplace in the daily lives of millions of modern people. We attribute our stress to various types of external conditions and situations, often overwhelmed with an inability to reduce or eliminate it, feeling helpless in the face of adversity. But think again…………….. Continue reading

How can I love this monster?

“Do I really hate my own child?

What kind of obnoxious person am I, that I could possibly even think this way?”

If your T.T. (troubled teen) is now making an appearance as T.T. (terrifying teen) you may genuinely be living on the edge of your coping skills, verbally abused by somebody who is now taller and stronger than you, and is literally ‘in your face’, pulling themselves up to their full height, puffing out their chest and shouting just 15cm away from your face.

There may even be a threat of physical abuse thrown in for good measure.

Scary Hoodie

For anyone who hasn’t experienced this, it is just as frightening as if a stranger had walked in off the street.

This is a stranger, you don’t know this person anymore, they are an unknown quantity bearing no resemblance to your (ex) fluffy bundle of joy, yet you have to calmly stand your ground and maintain control of the situation. It can be like living with a monster. Continue reading

He did WHAT??! …………………………(Part 2)

Help! I am losing my mind!

This is how we can feel when we have experienced a difficult confrontation with our T.T. (troubled teen) . We are often overwhelmed by our angry mind, totally lose our cool and end up feeling drained, exhausted and are probably left with a thumping headache.

Burnout

When this happens we have usually lost control of the situation and our T.T. knows they have found yet another way to wind us up!

Now in my experience these situations can become quite commonplace in the T.T. years (though you may be lucky and escape them!) so it’s a good idea to get a handle on them as soon as possible for everybody’s sake. By understanding anger and how it arises we can then look at the antidote.

We began in Part 1, (please click here if you missed it) and will now look a little deeper and explore the solution. Continue reading

He did WHAT ??! …………….. ( Part 1)

Phone rings……………………

“Hello this is Secondary High Grammar School here, we just thought we ought to let you know your son / daughter has been …………….”

“Oh No! Surely not, they wouldn’t do that” (would they?)

“Afraid so, they did admit it in the heads office”

The first sign that your cherub may be turning into a troubled teen (T.T.) may be heralded by the start of a series of phone calls from school.
(Of course this may not be the first time, we may have already experienced this in primary school, in which case we are now about to enjoy Series 2, which is likely to have twice as many episodes now hormones have kicked in.)

Shock! Horror! Embarrassment! Shame!

You can hardly believe it. (Sick feeling in stomach). You didn’t bring them up to behave in this way. This bears no relation to the values you taught them. How could they possibly do this?
Just wait until they get through that door tonight…….. Continue reading

Money can’t buy me …………..happiness?

“But I really need that one!”

“This is the only chance I’ll get, I have to go!”

“I can’t possibly manage without….”

Your ex-cherub has hit puberty and demands are increasing. There are things they must have and must do to have any semblance of happiness in their life, or so they would like to make us believe – as they demonstrate their wrath when the desired answer is not forthcoming.

After all, as far as they’re concerned, we brought them into this world, they didn’t ask to be born (haven’t we all heard that one?), so therefore it is our responsibility to provide everything they think they need to be happy. With a spot of emotional blackmail they even have us thinking that we can’t be happy if we’re not successful in making them happy!

But have you noticed, , all the things we provided so far to make them happy, haven’t worked too well, as now they need something else to be happy – so that didn’t last did it?

Messy room

Come to think of it, we’re pretty much the same ourselves aren’t we? Even if we don’t realize it, advertising agencies know it already. They constantly try to sell us happiness in the guise of cars, phones, furniture, washing powder, fizzy drinks, hair dye, face cream, perfume…the list is endless. Continue reading

Gimme a break!

Your heartbeat is rising, chest pounding, jaw clenched tight, head about to explode, then a torrent of words leaves your mouth so quickly you forget to breathe, and what was it you just said anyway?

There’s never a minutes peace; you work all day, do the school run, try to referee the kids while doing the supermarket shop, home to the kitchen to put the shopping away, make tea and make tomorrows packed lunches, eat, wash-up and then……….STILL no peace!

Sound familiar? You must be a stressed out mum or dad. Don’t you just feel there isn’t enough of you to go around, totally drained by everybody? Your mind is splintered; permanently multi-tasking, even in your sleep.

imagesCA5ZK2A9

You need to ‘regroup’, get yourself back together, stabilize your mind. Continue reading

Enter stage left: setting the scene.

The first few seconds of parenthood must be different for everybody, for me it seemed truly miraculous. Not only was I meeting the little person who had been safely tucked away for 9 months (and a bit extra, every one, obviously far too comfortable by far!) but I seriously never believed any human could experience that much pain, yet still be alive. But like parenthood, childbirth is a very individual experience. (I’m sure the babies themselves would agree.)

Luckily for me, my three full term babies were all healthy and perfectly formed, despite having suffered previous miscarriages.
New baby

How perfect they were! Completely different, yet each completely perfect. Snuggled up in their little sleepsuits, warm and cuddly with that distinct baby smell. All my senses were totally intoxicated….that is until the highs of new motherhood were replaced a few weeks later with lack of sleep, exhaustion and another erratic turn in the hormone situation.Obviously I had the karma to enjoy the benefits of three children who didn’t believe in a full nights sleep until they were about 1-year-old.

Yet still I was totally attached to this new appearance of a permanently perfect being in my life.

How proud is a new parent? Isn’t our baby better than any other baby in the world? Aren’t they going to remain that way permanently, for ever? We just know that they will be bright, happy and perfectly behaved. We love them so much, they will love us back in return and never do anything to disappoint us, never get in trouble, never be disruptive, and certainly never hurt us. Hindsight is a marvellous thing, what unrealistic expectations we can have! (more coming later)

Once we step through the door into parenthood our lives become an emotional rollercoaster…………….. Continue reading