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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

She Has A Lot To Teach Me...

I'm walking into unknown territory...my little girl has grown up to be a preteen. I thought I would share my massive "fail" on Saturday which went something like this.

She was upset about not achieving a goal she set for herself.
She walked away from her friends and gave me the "I need to vent" look.
I walked with her and listened.
-Sounds good so far doesn't it!-

In her anger she started saying things that really were not true about her life.
-Inside I start to think, "I have to say something to stop the death spiral!"-

I tried to remind her of all of the great things that had happened to her lately.
-Silence-

I reminded her of her accomplishments she had achieved just that day.
-Silence...stink eye...turned and walked away from me.-

I called out for her to stop...that walking away was disrespectful.
-More stink eye...with arms folded. I'm losing her big time!-

I told her to try to put her anger aside for another hour until her last race. That she wouldn't want to jeopardize something she worked so hard for.
-Clenched teeth and an "ok mom" and she walked away.-

Communication between us has changed, she needs something different now that she is older. I had a little time alone waiting for her race, and I just prayed that God would show me what to do.

It had been quiet for awhile in the car as we drove home.
I finally broke the silence telling her that I felt like I had really handled things wrong earlier with her.
-She nodded-

I told her that in this new time of her life I need her to teach me how to support her.
I asked her what she needed from me in that difficult moment when she had been angry.
She said, "I just needed you to listen mom. I didn't want you to say anything."

I asked her if she would let me know if she did need me to say something?
-She assured me that she would.-

Then I explained that when I am with a friend I know to listen and wait to see if they want advice or tenderness.
As a mom it feels different.
It feels like it is my job to help her see her situation clearly, to comfort her, to talk her through it.
Moms don't stand by and watch their kids experience pain and say nothing.
I asked her if she could understand why I responded the way that I did?
-She said that really made sense now that I explained it.-

It was a light bulb moment for both of us. There is so much about this budding teen that I am going to have to learn. Here's hoping that you can indeed teach old dogs new tricks. She sure has a lot to teach me!

15 comments:

Terra said...

I think you and your daughter are going to do fine, and that is so good that you each learned how to understand and support each other and how she wants you to listen. You turned the situation around quickly, good for you.

Kathy said...

That you were able to talk about it later is great! I find that Seashell needs space more than the comforting of the past. The talk later is the most important and you did a great job!

Frau said...

Wow I love progress like that...I stumble and fall a lot with my teen girl and I want to be better than my mom...I want to fix and prevent. It's hard sometimes to sit and listen.. Being a mother of a teen is HARD!

5thsister said...

teens are not easy, that is for sure. you did well, girlfriend, you did well.

Centsational Girl said...

That truly was a 'moment' in your relationship - teen girls are so hard. You did just the perfect thing ! I loved this.

BTW, and unrelated, but your dog poo story yesterday was hysterical.

Tiffany said...

it's funny what happens when parents and children talk to one another. (i'm referring to me and my parents). once we actually talked vs. a lot of dictation and pouting, things always seemed better.

ScoMan said...

Sounds like you handled it well, good on you. And good on her too.

It's great the way you were both able to be so open with one another. Not a lot of parents and teenagers have that with each other, so well done.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

I love how you asked her what you could do differently. It seemed that was the key to opening up a whole new thread of communication. Early teen years can be rocky, but once they are past some of the initial changes, teen kids can be a lot of fun!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

This made me smile. You will never stop learning from your children...or teaching them. The interesting thing is how you have to treat each so differently. What might seem like it works with one...makes the other one angry or sad. It is a process and it sounds as if you are both doing quite well with it. I see great things coming for your relationship...with those few bumps that have to come along the way.

christy rose said...

What a learning experience for both of you. It is true that sometimes our kids, especially our daughters just want us to listen to what is going on inside of them and not say anything. But it is also true that that is not always what is best for them. I have learned that most of the time, it is good to let them talk and just listen for awhile and give them the undivided attention that they are needing to feel loved and then after awhile ask God for the right time to speak up and give them the wisdom that is building up in our hearts to share. I think what you said about moms not being able to just stand by and watch their kids in pain and not say or do anything about it was great wisdom. You will have many many many more of these kind of conversations. But this one may just be a very good start in helping to make the rest of them go a little smoother. :)

Hillbilly Duhn said...

From just having gone through it not long ago myself, and now dealing with an actual teenager I think you did awesome. We now have to deal with things like TMI and overshare on his part, and I often have to tell him that some things he is able to keep to himself that I truly do not want to know...:)

But I hear girls are different. :)

Liz in Virginia said...

Sad girls are so tricky -- it's hard to know if she is sad because she just heard a moving song, or because someone was mean to her, or if she disappointed herself, of you disappointed her, or because the rain forest is disappearing.

All good reasons to be sad. Stir in some estrogen and you've got a potent cocktail!

Aha! It's The Obnoxious SAHM said...

and i thought that my 5 yr diva was a handful... i dread the teen years.

you did awesome.

all my love,

me :)

Matty said...

I learned quite a bit as my three children grew up. I remember a number of "light bulb" moments. Sounds like you both learned something that day. Trust me, it will get very interesting in the next few years.

Holly said...

I'll be filing all of this away for use with my own daughter...and possibly son. I also think it is important for our children to see we can apologize and rethink things.