DEAR COACH RICHIE: I’m at my breaking point and any negativity will not go well with me. I don’t trust my daughter.
For the past 2 months I made the decision to move across country with my daughter back to where my family is. We have all the support we need back there. It’s a huge change. Very bitter sweet.
My daughter has been on board with this move. Actually has wanted it to happen for a few yrs. But for some damn reason had been making the poorest decisions since. Caught her lying about where she was. Smoking weed, got in trouble in school for having a vape pen, constantly skipping and today got caught by the police skipping. Has to attend a 5 week class to avoid going to juvenile hall. I already had the plane tickets to fly back, and now have to cancel everything.
I don’t have a life because I’m constantly on my toes and I don’t trust my daughter.
I guess I wrote this because I’m just tired. I feel broken. I feel like I’m failing as a parent. And it doesn’t matter how hard I try, she is constantly making poor decisions that are affecting the both of us.
COACH RICHIE: You sound really exhausted and frustrated. When you say I don’t trust my daughter, is there something inside of you that you don’t trust about yourself? When our kids start to get into trouble it is a sign of something wrong in their world. A change in their lives, something going on in school or having troubles at home. These problems cause a disconnect with us as parents and when that happens they turn to their teen tribe for support and guidance. The teen tribe is all about the tribe. They have a shared identity. Which means they all smoke weed, get into trouble, cut school, do drugs, defiant to and most times hate their parents.
They are searching for a place to fit in. The worst thing that can happen to a teenager is them feeling left out. So when they want to fit in they will sacrifice everything. including grades, etc. You haven’t failed as a parent. It is just that your daughter is finding herself. Maybe she didn’t like who she was before. Maybe she is trying to tell you something about the move and she doesn’t know how to express herself.
When children go through their teenage years they are learning about their emotions and it takes a long time. So they are either hot or cold, happy or sad, hateful or loving. A couple of questions you can ask yourself. What do you think your daughter needs more than anything write this moment? What are you really scared of? What are your expectations of her? Are any of these expectations satisfying a need within you? What would you say if she said she really didn’t want to move? Sometimes children say they are on board and really aren’t. They just want to try and please us.
A couple of more questions. When you say you don’t trust her? Do you think she trusts you? Sometimes we reflect onto our children challenges we are having in our own life?
Where in your life could you have possibly betrayed her trust? Our kids are very smart and very aware and watch and hear everything we do. They know we are lying before we even do. So her poor behavior is causing you to cancel your plans. Do you think this may be part of her plan and didn’t know how to tell you so maybe she did this what out even thinking about it because she doesn’t want to move? We have so many expectations for our children and think we should be parenting a certain way and when that plan goes south we beat ourselves up about it calling ourselves bad parents. What if we thought of it in another light? What about dropping our expectations about our children (we don’t own them) and be the parent that need us to be not the one we imagined. So what do you think your daughter needs now? What about a chat about the move?
Maybe she is really scared? What about if you shared your feelings with her about the move? What about if she just needs someone to listen to her without any judgement, fixing or rescuing?
It is time to exhale and approach our children with the love that they need instead of the love we thought we should be giving them. If they don’t feel connection to an adult this is when the challenges begin because they will do anything in their power to be part of their teen tribe. So how do you win her back? Time and patience and being their to guide, support, mentor and love her on whatever path she takes on her journey. We already had our journey and it is their turn to have their own. Hope you can find something in this that helps you . Hang in their you are an awesome mom. You got this. They eventually get older and if all goes well they will have children just like themselves.
Coach Richie XO
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Voices Mom that feels like a bad parent and she has these feelings of not being enough. The other day I was coaching a group of mom’s that are living in a sober home. A mom spoke up who was constantly felt put down by her parents when she was young. They told her that she should be more like her brother. The athlete, star student, fancy dresser and social butterfly. She grew up feeling unworthy, unloved and used drugs and alcohol to cope with her depression and not feeling like she was enough. Then ran away at the age of 14 years old to live on the streets.
As her parenting journey evolved she found herself using the same tactics on her own children. She mentioned in one of our conversations that her 6 year old daughter was needy and her 8 year old son was rough around the edges. I repeated her words to her in the following conversation.
Coach Richie: “So you believe your daughter is needy and your son is rough around the edges.” She paused for a moment and said.
Mom: “Well not really. When you say it like that it sounds
like I am a bad parent.”
I explained to her that I was just restating the exact language she just used.
Coach Richie: “Was there a time in you felt needy or rough around the edges?” She paused and her eyes started to glaze over. Then a tear fell from her eye and rolled down her cheek as she spoke.
Mom: “Yes. I feel that way now in my correct situation and my substance challenges. My parents used very similar words when I was younger and now, I am using the same words to describe my children.”
Coach Richie: I asked,
“Are those words the truth?”
She wiped the tears from her eyes with an open hand as she sniffled and said “No. When I was a child, I just needed my parents love and attention. They failed at giving me this and I turned to friends and drugs to find comfort and love”
Then as she started to compose herself, I asked her.
Coach Richie: “How did you feel when your parents said these things to you, when all you needed was attention.”
Mom: Saying in a faint voice. “that they didn’t love me”.
Then I proceeded with the second question.
Coach Richie: “How do you think your children feel when you say they are needy and rough around the edges. After a minute more tears started falling from her heavy eyes.
Mom: “They feel as though I don’t love them and they are not enough”.
Coach Richie: “How does that make you feel?”
Mom: She paused and took a deep breath and cleared her throat. ” Like a bad mom”.
Then I want on to explain that we do the best we can as parents with the resources we have and the parents that raised us and taught us the best they could. There is no such thing as a bad parent. Only a parent that doesn’t know better. Because when we know better, we do better. That is all we can do.
Coach Richie: So, I asked her a final question. “What do you need to do better now that you know better?”
Mom: “I need to love my kids more and accept them for who they are and not burden them with my own fears and lack that I have in my life.
Coach Richie:” How do you think they will feel about that?
Mom: She said. “Hopefully good and she ended with a little smile.
Coach Richie: “And if they are not good, what can you do about that.”
Mom: “I can just keep trying to do better”
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All my love and support.
Coach Richie xo
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