Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How do I feel today? I Feel Resigned

Resigned. Not that I have resigned, because as a parent you can't resign. But I feel resigned to the fact the that some of my children are not going to change. And I'm resigned to the fact that I'm going to have to live with it.

I like to be obeyed. I've always liked it. From the time I was the oldest child of two little brothers as a 4 year old, I have needed, wanted, HAD TO be obeyed. OK, so I'm a control freak, but hey, at least I'm honest.

And up until I was married I was. Then I agreed to obey him and I do. Which you are all guffawing at, but it is true. I am a submissive wife. Which my husband doesn't believe in. But that is so far off topic. Ok, now that i"m in the middle of it I better explain. It is not hard to submit to someone who truly loves you. And he knows that I will do anything he asks, so he is careful about what he acts. And it works very well. But I love to point out to others about how submissive I am to him because it bugs him. So I guess that probably nullifies it to a certain extent. But whatever.

Anyway, up until I was married and had kids people usually did what I said. ANd as an adult, if they didn't, I fired them or kicked them out of school if they were insubordinate. I have often said, "The only thing I've ever been good at is telling people what to do, and now I'm full of a whole houseful of people who don't do a word I say."

So I like to be obeyed. ANd my philosophy is that the "little things" count. If I say, "Turn off the TV at ten" and my kids don't, and then they say, "It's not that big of a deal" then I say, "Exactly, so why can't you do it?" I think it's the little things -- the tiny rules that are based on the family system working well and Bart and I surviving living here -- those are the things that show attachment and trust and love.

But that's the problem. We have kids who never have been attached, who don't trust us, and don't know how to love. So they aren't going to care about the little things and there is nothing much I can do about it.

This morning John is sleeping on the couch again. He was obviously up doing laundry late into the night. Both of those things I don't prefer and I have asked him not to do again and again. Am I going to make my son, who is doing better than he has in years, move out of the house because he won't sleep in his bed? No. Am I going to start some consequence game to try to stop it? I don't have the energy. So I guess I'm going to have to let it go.

But in some ways I sort of feel like I'm selling out each time I come to this conclusion -- that one of my "rules" is going to have to die. If I were looking in at my situation I would be so critical -- After all, I am the parent, and I should have control over my own children.

But the truth? He isn't going to do what I say in some areas no matter what. So maybe I should just stop caring and let it go.

I hated typing that. Badly.

And by the way. I don't like the earring, or any part of the "gansta" look either. But he's nineteen and sometimes you just gotta let it go.

Am I just way out there today or does anyone else mourn the death of a rule when you finally have to let it go because it is not going to get obeyed without way more stress applied to ensuring compliance than it's worth?


Yondalla said...

You said, "I'm the parent and I should have control over my own children" and that's where I think we just plain disagree. Respectfully, cuz I think you are fantastic, but I completely disagree with that.

When they were little I suppose did, to an extent, but even then not as much as my friends did. They put their clothes on inside out and didn't want to admit it was wrong, and I shrugged. The kindergarten teacher told me that Andrew was a great kid except he never pushed his chair back in, kept his workspace tidy, and always talked to the other kids. She looked at me like I could do something about that. I said, "sounds like my kid."

I'm afraid this is going to sound critical and I really don't want it to. It is just that when you write posts like this and you seem to think you think you have failed, I want to tell you that you haven't FAILED at anything you should have been trying to do in the first place.

Recognizing that you can't make an apple tree turn into a pear tree isn't failure.

Claudia said...

Actually, this is a result of me blogging too quickly. What i mean to say is that historically I would have been critical seeing someone else in my situation because I used to believe that "parents have to control their children."

So we actually agree. But I didn't used to be that way. Getting more so every day.

And by the way, I never think you sound critical. I learn tons from you.

Tiruba said...

John looks good. My husband is very similar to you in that he wants things to go a particular way and feels defeated when he has to let it go. I used to feel like a total failure when I had to let things slide...but then I discovered it freed me up cause I didn't have to carry around all that angst all the time. Of course, it could also be the medication I am on. That helps. ;)

Jill Miller said...

Ok let me tell you why I have resigned to my 15 year old sons desires.
You know the story of our church situation so I won't bore you with the beginning.
Jerry is the kind of kid that has never had much self-esteem because he has always lived his life in the lime light of his older brother Joe. Joe has always been outgoing and has a way with getting everyone to like him with no problem and almost always gets his way. Jerry is shy and has never gotten over the fact that his brother gets everything. So when we had to leave our old church he had to leave the one thing that he did good and people noticed him. Jerry lived to play his guitar and was good at it. So when he had to leave he had become depressed and angry. So when his one thing that mad him happy (Holly) lately ended he became more depressed and talked about not living anymore. I thought hard, very hard about what we should do with him. I can see his situation but the fact that I hated (a strong word) the place he had to be to fulfill his so called dream made it very hard for me to make a call for this one. I love my son very much and I just want him to be happy so I really needed to resign to the fact that I was going to have to let him go down the path he desired so badly.
Now that we have given into him, Jerry is a new kid. He talks to me with more respect, he's so much happier now. I still don't like that he is going to a place I don't approve of but I guess he has to make his own mistakes and if and when things fall apart for him I will be there for him to clean up the tears.
I'm so sorry that things didn't work out the way the both of us wanted as far as playing for the worship team but I'm still holding out hope that he will come to his senses and see the light.

Sheila said...

I am struggling with the same thing having 5 bio who have left home fully respecting their parents and 5 children left with fasd (what were we thinking)who have a whole list of letters after their name(adhd,ocd, you get the idea), anyway, we are have to change our parenting to a large degree and i feel like i am losing who we are. That is a long way to say I agree,but thanks for your blogs. I get up every morning and read yours and a few others. Gives me renewed hope for what we are doing. God bless you.

Claudia said...

Sheila: This is a great quote

We to change our parenting to a large degree and i feel like i am losing who we are.

That is exactly how I feel sometimes. Like by letting some of my ideals go, I'm losing what our family stands for. Anyone else feel that way?

Tiruba said...

Claudia, I think this is really interesting coming from you. I have had to re-write this several times to capture what I am thinking. Instead of "losing" who our family is, which is an ideal that I created in my mind, I am re-inventing new ideals, progressing with the times, evolving in my methods, because, like technology, parenting methods and rules cannot remain the same and our kids evolve and change. Of course, I am really early in my parenting adventure, having only been doing this business for 3.5 years, but I feel like my intense daughter has given me a crash course in acceptance and letting go. I have a long ways to go and how I parent in 10 years will be entirely different from what I am doing today. I may be writing the same thing you are writing today in a decade. We will see. I have to constantly shift my way of looking at things. Instead of "settling", I am adapting. And on some days, I just want to scream "WHYYYYY????" and all this calmness goes out the window.

Claudia said...


On my good days I am right with you. I am evolving, becoming a better person, feeling energized by all I am learning and becoming as a parent.

On my bad days, when I am a bit overwhelmed or stressed or not thinking clearly, I feel like I am losing myself.

Does that makes sense?

Tiruba said...

Claudia, that was me yesterday :)

Anonymous said...

Does it make sense? It makes so much sense it scares me sometimes! I often read other blogs and feel as if I have sold out or taken the easy way out, because I gave up most rules.

Really, if my kid could just live at home, take his medication and go to school without hurting anyone inside this house--I would be ecstatic. Talk about lowering your expectations.

Sometimes, like you said, I feel badly about it and judged by other parents. Most of the time though, I really feel blessed that I "get it". I think a lot of people spend all their energy and make their lives miserable trying to force our kids into compliance. I do not judge them either. I was right there with them for a long time. But I realized that the process of forced compliance just made me dislike my kid a whole lot. He needs my support and my unconditional commitment and love. I can not give him what he needs most if I am hell bent on compliance. So, this works for me and my family.

Lee said...

This isn't even the teeniest bit on topic or profound but it might make you chuckle. My computer was really sluggish and weird and when I was trying to bring up your post all I could see of the photo was the very top 1/3 of your son's hat and I thought you had a pic of a watermelon! :-) Honestly.

Sheila said...

propiIt does. I didn't want to imply that we are not flexible and changing( oh we so are!)Its just simple things like making out in the school hallway. The older children knew that was not appropriate within the school and our family boundaries, but now the children have attachment issues and brains that work differently and don't see anything wrong with it and because there is no way for me to monitor it they continue and I get the phone calls. The older children say you never would have allowed us to do that why are they different. Then I have to have the TALK again about why, but it gets tiresome.I know we arew ever changing, but sometimes it seems to much and I feel like i am losing myself.

Sheila said...

I dont know where the first two words on my last comment came from! Thanks bloggers for your input I really needed it right now.