I love my kids…until I didn’t because I felt so disrespected, taken for granted, and unappreciated.
I felt resentful with a touch of rage.
I didn’t want to be around them anymore and that broke my heart. I did more of what I knew because I didn’t know how to turn things around.
I tried more control, more need for compliance, used more guilt and shame so the consequences I chose were based in fear. My relationship with my kids was fragile, like walking on eggshells, not knowing when the next explosion would be or who it would come from.
I was a hot mess.
If you’re like me, you weren’t raised in a home with healthy, effective boundaries. Your parents aren’t evil or lacking intelligence. Their generation of parenting was more authoritarian, based on control, compliance, guilt, shame, and fear. That was normal then.
Now, you find yourself parenting based on what as modelled for you and although it worked while your child was younger, it’s not working with your teenager. You’re frustrated and at your wits end, your teenager isn’t happy either and they’re letting you know on the daily.
I thought I was being the best mom by overcompensating for everyone, doing everything for everyone, putting myself last. I thought that’s what being a good mom and a good wife looked like, yet I was full of anger and resentment that came out on my family because they weren’t changing in spite of my efforts. Worse yet, I beat myself up because there was obviously something wrong with me!
There’s got to be another way!
Then I remembered the boundaries class in school. Just kidding. There’s no boundaries class! You weren’t taught this and I know you’re doing the very best you can.
What if you had the key to change?
You want your teens and partner to change because they’re the ones being selfish, lazy and irresponsible! They’re the ones taking you for granted and not listening to your requests (sometimes made through clenched teeth)! Why is any of this up to you??!!!
This may be hard to hear.
Begging and pleading (or yelling and nagging 🙄) someone else to change so you don’t have to look at your role in a negative pattern or your thinking behind it. Your family is playing into the pattern because it works for them, and you’re allowing it. Your words might say ‘I hate this’, but your actions say, ‘keep doing what you’re doing’.
That realization is a hard pill to swallow.
Especially when you are exhausted and already feel like you’ve tried everything. I’ve been there, and it sucked. I felt like I’d need to put more of myself into something that already wasn’t working. That’s when I realized I was wrong.
Respect starts with you.
My actions needed to match my words by doing less. That’s when I went on strike. I took a stand FOR me, not AGAINST my family out of retaliation. The first comes from love, compassion, respect and resolve, the second comes from hurt, hate, fear and control.
I decided I was worth being treated with respect and when I believed that, I didn’t need to beg for it. I sat my family down and told them how I felt, what I was willing to do going forward and made respectful requests of each of them. Then came the internal screams that said I was a selfish person, terrible mom and bad wife and the overwhelming fear they wouldn’t love me.
Compassion was the key to making this work.
My family didn’t like the changes at first and took a while to adjust, pitching in more with cleaning, cooking, tidying and other household basics. It didn’t mean they weren’t willing; it just took some readjusting. I took deep breaths when ‘just doing it myself’ would have been easier but that would’ve taken me back to the beginning. I forgave myself hundreds of times each day for having been part of setting up those patterns while doing what I thought was right, doing the best I knew how.
Now, I ask for what I need at the first hint of resentment and my family speaks up about their needs too. We compassionately and respectfully negotiate our way through changing seasons of school, sports and work so everything gets done and we all have the best experience possible, no matter who’s on dishes the night of a huge feast that used every pot and utensil in the house.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, and you’re tired of nagging or yelling at your teen while walking on eggshells until the next blow up, I have the solution! Join my FREE masterclass below and learn how to transform your moody, hormonal teen into a compliant, respectful human without the daily nagging or punishments.