Growing into Me with Bipolar

A New Threat


It’s not supposed to be a threat.  It’s not supposed to even be a problem or an issue.  A person’s kids are supposed to follow in the parents’ steps, respect them.  I mean, I’m not asking for the whole filial piety thing, but maybe on a scaled down version it would be good.   I have poured social capital (the intangible resources that only those close and concerned can give to a youngling) onto my  kids since they were born.  I want them to be maxed out in terms of social capital.  The more of this kind of resources they have plus the tangible resources available to them, then the more opportunities for success they will have.

I love my kids.  I fill them with social capital.  I teach them to navigate the world around them and how to interpret it.  And I am not oblivious–I know very well that the teen years are the most tumultous, as they are the time when they begin to spread their wings, to practice take-off flights, to begin to change their worldview from what they have been taught, to something they have come to on their own.  Teenagehood is the time when kids rebel and develop their own beliefs, thoughts, ideas.

That being said, my kids were not supposed to start slowly pulling my worldview apart.  They were supposed to stay out too late, forget to call, lie about where they were going or who they were going with.  They were supposed to skip school to hangout with friends once in a while.  They weren’t supposed to tell me that my interpretation of how the world works, of how people behave, are up for debate, and that they are not going to be persuaded anymore by me.  They weren’t supposed to tell me that my perspective is too rigid, that I am judgmental.  Me!  and to hear this from my own kids, the same kids I have lavished my attention and knowledge and understandings upon.  It would be one thing if those who don’t know me, the real me, were to say these things, make these challenges.  I could ignore them with disdain, or embark on a philosophical wandering that eventually demonstrated my reasoning (I hope!).  But with my own kids, I certainly can’t ignore.  And when I try to explain and give them evidence that what I say is true (I think), they pull me apart at the seams and I find I am actually under some kind of an attack, that I am not explaining to them, I am defending.  Or I find my very character is being put on the block, and there is no defense I can muster.

I know they are teens.  I know they are practicing at being adults.  I know they are learning their own minds.  I know they will rebel, but it should have been with skipping school once in a while, or being late coming home, or sneaking out.  Those I am prepared to deal with.  But not this, not eschewing all that I am, all that I have poured into them, to help shape them and guide them into who they are now so they can succeed when they really do fly away from me.  I never saw this coming, not this way.

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Comments on: "A New Threat" (4)

  1. I wish I could say that I know what you’re going through, but I can’t. I’m a parent to a preschooler, and we haven’t gotten there yet. But, I can share my sympathies and give you some reassurance.

    For me, it hasn’t been too long since I was a teen myself. I worked with teens for awhile in my profession. So, I can at least share with you one speck of hope. You have already gotten through to them. They may be standing there, rejecting everything to your face and dismantling the truths and beliefs that you imparted upon them. That’s right now. They’re basically experimenting with what works, and attempting to carve their own way to assert their individuality.

    In time, they will come full circle. They’ll make their mistakes, and the lessons that you have given them will come back, ringing true. As a parent, I know the most difficult thing you can face is standing by, watching your children make mistakes. I find myself going to assist my son with things, but I have to hold back, even after he’s expressed extreme frustration. That’s how he learns. And that’s how they are learning.

    I went through a nasty period of rebellion, quite like your children. Except, you are allowing them the freedom to think for themselves, even if they are seemingly putting you down through their challenges. My parents didn’t permit any license of independent thought and free expression. “My way, or the highway.” And the more they pushed me, the farther I deviated.

    Teens always think that they know better. I thought that I knew better. And I once I became an adult, I landed myself into a whole lot of hot water. That’s when the applicable lessons came back. (my parents were older parents, so they were kind of out of touch). Now, as a wife and a parent, I am really starting to see it. We may differ on some things, but that’s just because we have very different personalities and grew up in different social eras. But, the fundamentals still ring true.

    They’ll come back around. The fruits of your labor are not wasted. Don’t stop trying to get through to them. Even if they “aren’t listening”, they really are.

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    • thank you! i know what you say is true. i know it logically. but emotionally, i react and feel as though i am being attacked. this is one of the hardest things not to personalize. i need to find a way to not react emotionally, but logically, and let them go through this stage. Than you for your kind words and support-it really helps to keep things in perspective.

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      • Of course it’s something you personalize! I can’t imagine any other reaction, honestly. Kids spend their younger years convinced that their parents know everything. (Okay, most kids. My kid thinks he knows better than me about everything… and he’s only four). They look to us for advice and guidance, and we take that on as our social role for our children. It’s the way of nature.

        I know you’ll get through it. In the meantime, just continue to provide your guidance and be the most wonderful parent that you are. They’ll thank you one day.

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  2. Children’s jobs are to challenge you, to stretch your boundaries, to make you rethink everything you ever thought was true. So if your kids are challenging your status quo, whatever that may be, they’re doing their job.

    Like

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