My oldest is almost 13 and we have been butting heads A LOT during the last few months. The raging hormones regularly declare their existence through bouts of moodiness and lots of attitude. A few times it got so bad that my ex had to talk me down when all I wanted to do was lose what is left of my mind.
Recently she went to the other side of the country on a Youth Exchange for a week. And then last week she spent the whole week at her Father’s. We did see each other for a few hours in between the exchange and the time at her Dad’s but it was almost 2 full weeks of not really being together.
What a difference it has made for us. I believe that the old saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” holds true in this instance. The last 2 days with her have been so much nicer.
I’m not sure if the change comes from both of us or not but I know that I have been dealing better since she has been back. For example, today she yelled at me when she was frustrated and instead of instantly getting upset with her for yelling at me for no reason, I pointed out to her that she was stressed and asked her if she really meant to be yelling at me. It immediately diffused the situation because no, she did not.
I have been off work for about 9 months now, which means that even on the week’s she is with her Dad, she comes here after school so she sees me all of the time. It’s possible that there just might be a bit too much Mom these days.
Part of becoming a teen means asserting her independence. That also means that she has more opinions about what we are doing and a greater desire to make her own plans. Sometimes when she shares her dislike, it comes across as having a bad attitude as it is often accompanied by an eye roll or negative tone of voice. And she is less than happy to drop what she is doing now to accompany the family on some type of excursion. Texting with friends or straightening her hair can often seem more important than whatever you are offering.
I can’t guarantee that this improved atmosphere will continue, but if I can see her actions as what they are as opposed to a personal attack, I think we might be able to make it through the teen years. I have seen that there is hope so if I can “keep calm and carry on” we may both make it through intact.