“dear dan, i am 16 and i was wondering if you could help me know what to do, cause i am at the point that i hate myself and anybody else and i feel like theres no hope and i thought that you might be able to give me some advise since you are good at stuff like that. my mom is always screeming at me and her and my dad don’t love me and i don’t know why cause i try to do everything i can and i’m not a bad kid but they always tell me i am in fact my mom today sayd that i am one of gods biggest mistakes cause i slept threw my alarm and missed my bus. my dad doesnt ever hit me but he is always calling me an idiot or a retard or stuff like that. anyway at school i don’t really have very many friends cause i’m to shy i guess. i don’t know what to do cause i am just wanting to give up even trying anymore cause why should i? have you ever felt like nobody cares if you just disappear cause i really feel that way even with my parents.”
I had that kind of mom and step-dad. More than 20 years later I still bear the emotional scars. I am extremely well educated but a social cripple. I have zero self confidence and only want to raise my children to be self-confident adults.
What a moving post.
Wow. This post induced tears. Hang in there teens! You are all beautiful and have so much potential.
This has been a struggle of mine as well. It continued beyond teen years until almost three months ago, when the relationship was permanently severed.
I am two and a half years away from having a precious teen in my care. This post was a great reminder to me to let go of the control freak in me and love my kids.
I'm going to try to let my focus be less on obedience and power, and more on providing a loving a safe environment where my kids can experience decision making, even
mistakes, in order to learn and grow, before they have to do it all out there on there own!
Hang in there Christian - I promise it gets better, but only if you decide to be strong and not let "shitty" life win (stepping into traffic). I'm telling you - a live well lived is TRULY the best revenge. :) You can do this, but you have to take the responsibility for making it through these bad years. Nobody can do it for you. You got this! :D
Ahhh shit. I'm just tired of my mother. After being a year in Texas with relatives away from her I thought things would be better when I got back. Unfortunately I'm wrong. I'm addicted to the wrong things and my only parent keeps on telling me that it was all worthless for her to leave her 'dream' job as a flight attendant for me. Shit. Like sometimes I've thought about suicide but it's honestly easier than before because I live right next to an interstate highway. One easy jump and good riddance. Like more than ever I question if God would forgive suicide. I could type-up a book on how much shit I've gone through but then again it probably wouldn't compare to what others have gone through. Damn. I just want to fast forward out of these years. Before I'm dead. lol
This post really hit home with me. I am in my mid-thirties and still feel impacted by the way my parents acted when I was a teenager. They loved me very much and were great parents who did the best they could, but they still could have learned a lot from this post. They did not call me names or belittle me out loud, but their actions were very controlling and belittling. I was a good kid who hardly ever did anything wrong and got straight A's, yet they didn't trust me anyway. They would use the slightest reason to ground me for months or to not let me hang out with friends.
For example, one time I got grounded because my curfew was 11:00 and I came home at 10:55, which was "too close for comfort." These actions and similar ones led to very limited social contact with my peer group and major problems interacting socially for years. I can count on one hand the number of times I was allowed to go out with my friends or on dates between the ages of 16 and 18. I understand (and understood even then, contrary to popular misguided belief that teenagers think all adults are stupid--they don't) that they loved me and they were scared that something would happen or that I would make a wrong choice, but their actions had ramifications that lasted for years. I eventually started sneaking around and misbehaving just to get back at them. When I turned 18, I immediately moved out and went absolutely insane doing the things that I never was allowed to do while living at home. I don't blame them because, ultimately, it was my choice, but their behavior certainly played a part.
Parents, beware, and trust your kids more. Loosen the reins and use the teenage years for what they should be--a time to start letting go and preparing your child to be on his or her own.
I'm 26 and I still struggle with the past with my parents. "Youre a piece of shit, you know that?" "Are you stupid?" Being expected and forced to respect, agree, etc with my parents without negotiation. But my parents are pretty good parents. My three other siblings are independent. It's me who is the black sheep. I don't fully blame it on my parents. Sure there are many days including today where I google "I hate my dad," but in the end, i acknowledge the highs and lows and imperfections to be forgiven. There is no one way street to parenting, and people have different values like- money or happiness. For my family it's more on the money side, and it's a hard conditional thing to learn. You get bad grades for better future, we got hit- ruler, belt, drum stick, shoes... probably why I cringe at being touched. Have you read the book called "Tiger mom" or something like that? I feel like the results can be either the highest high or the lowest low as in highest high where you are conditioned or forced to challenge yourself out of the comfort zone and deal with stuff earlier like money, making decisions based on experience from parents and being smart enough hopefully to balance out what you think is useful from the parents while keeping your self esteem and respect for yourself. The lowest low would be giving up because it is a very hard conditional treatment and then there's depression and your self esteem is at the bottom, and you wish you could disappear to make everything better because you feel unwanted- that's me. What I have learned- call me crazy, that I was born this way. I had always been extremely sensitive, overthink things, and had a temper of my own. I have learned to forgive my parents; how could they know that I was different or know how to handle that anyway while already life is so busy. They didn't know I was suicidal for a long time. It's hard to be perfect- perfection is impossible. But I think the overrall conclusion is that it's a complex situation to say who's fault it is. Some teenagers may value money more than happiness just as some people value curiosity and greed more than the simplicity of happiness. I'm just trying to be unbiased or see things from a different perspective. No need for agreement. As for me I get tied between curiosity versus happiness. I know it's strange to hear this from someone like me who hates everyone often, thinks about suicide often, struggled with depression for two years and out of work, and cycle past of guilt and hurt through my mind often. but uh.. yeah that's my two cents.
I'm late reading this one, but WOW! As a CASA for foster children, I hear and see some of the most horrific stories of abuse unfold. The aftermath of words is often far greater than the aftermath of the swing of a fist. Physical bruises and scars heal, but the wounds of the soul? Well, those take lifetimes. So often, I've wanted to toss parents out of court room windows because of the lies spewn to the Judge about their children and how awful they are. You have taken my thoughts from my brain and put them perfectly on paper. Thank you! I truly hope more parents read this, and are capable of taking a step back, realizing where they are wrong and making the right adjustments to correct this devastating issue. THANK YOU!
This. This has been what I have tried to get through to my mother all these years. My mother, like you is a single parent who has tried to give me the best life she can for me and admittedly it wasn't all that great, for both of us. She hardly ever called me hurtful names and only hit me hard every once and awhile but that is because we were in the power struggle you stated above. We were constantly fighting for power and years of child therapy has never hit me as hard as this post has. It has brought me to tears of sadness and happiness all mixed into a salty mixture. I finally feel understood, I had never thought that there are adults in this world who see's teens as we are. It's funny how I still refer to people older than me as adults even though I technically am one, but I still feel like a kid inside. It scares me. I put on a tough face and don't let on that I am secretly very insecure and scared. That is proof enough how true your post is.
I'm sorry if it seems like I am rambling on and on but I have to thank you. This post has made me understand why I hated my mother most of my life. Now that I am 18 and on my own we get along much better without that horrid, self destructive power struggle but are still patching our relationship. I'm not sure how long it will take for me to trust her, but I am hoping one day we will have a trusting relationship again. Thank you, and please keep advocating for us.
I like you. Really, I do. Generally, I think you're brilliant. In this case though, there are some points we disagree on. First of all is the obvious, you don't have teenagers. It is very easy to say what you should do when you are not in the situation. Yes, teenagers want power....BUT...with power comes responsibility. My goal with my teenagers has been to teach them the value of both. Often, they seem to want the power but absolutely refuse to accept the responsibility. They blame others instead of taking responsibility for their own actions and choices or want to stay out too late but then give you attitude because you are telling them it is time to get up to go to school. It is like saying you want the company CEO's perks and paychecks but without the hassle of doing any of that "work" stuff.
Secondly, teenagers, girls particularly, are long on drama and angst. It can be a crutch for not putting in effort, "They aren't ever going to be happy with me so why should I even try?" If you spoke to that young woman's parents, you might get the same story from them, that they don't feel loved, valued or respected by her. You only have one side of the story. There is never only one side. They may have continually said they would give her freedom to do ____ or to choose how _____ will work but she has to fulfill her responsibilities, like good grades, doing her own laundry, helping with household chores, etc., and repeatedly had her not be willing to accept that responsibility, even if it means earning freedoms.
Perhaps be more mindful about sweeping generalizations about how horrible this girl's parents are. Maybe she was frustrated and was just venting.
Even if the other side of the story is how you have described it is, there is no excuse for calling your teenager names, such as, idiot, etc. Or for treating anyone that way.
A parents actions and words should motivate, not squash.
Why should a parent's love and encouragement be dependent on whether their child missed the bus, or got good grades?
This has nothing to do with rewarding her for irresponsible behavior.
Her punishment was missing out on school and making it harder for her to keep up with her classes. Also, she probably is already beating herself up about sleeping through the alarm but now she will not feel that for herself because her parents have chewed her up and spit her out.
Life has its own consequences for "irresponsible behavior."
What everyone needs is to be loved, and know that they are loved, and they will find the confidence to learn and grow, themselves.
As he has stated after this post, he's not complaining about this one event. He's gotten this so many times, not deciding everyone is in the situation this girl says she is in.
Whether her parents are "good" or "bad" she is obviously hurting enough to reach out to a complete stranger. I think that speaks volumes. Take it from someone who as an adult is beginning to understand some of my parents reactions and decisions but still deals with the pain on a daily basis. If a young girl feels the need to write this, "angst" or not, there is a reason for it. There is a void there. Don't get me wrong, there are thousands of children/teenagers/young adults/adults/seniors who respond to life exactly as you have said "they blame others instead of taking responsibility." I am responsible to the core, a lesson my parents taught me from the very beginning. I grew up with a great deal of responsibility and I well understood the consequences for not following through on that responsibility. That is a gift my parents gave me, it has made me very successful in life. But another thing I carry with me is the feeling of always being alone, struggling to understand or know what love is. That lesson I should have known from an early age, but never learned. I don't criticize my parents because I have realized as an adult that they are first, human. Second, did the best they could. Third, no one is without fault and he who is let him throw the first stone. I would respectfully submit that in all those lessons about responsibility, there could have been a dad who cared as much about what I was going through on a daily basis (no matter how "silly") as there was an authority figure who wanted me to turn into the best version of myself. So no matter what the other side of the story is, this girl is responding to a deep pain, something parents too easily sweep under the rug while trying to create the next best version of themselves. Thank you for teaching your children responsibility, believe me I want more productive and well functioning members of society. But take the time to find out why your little girl, or your son are struggling (without judging them) sometimes that is all they really need you to do.
OMG..A sweet baby has to face such situations. A family matters a lot to the children. If the Parents do not give them love and care they really get disappointed and feel alone. They even don't have good friends..These words Idiot, stupid, reckless are said by the parents but they forget they are only responsible to make their children in such a way..
Thanks for this article. Thanks for defending this kid. Thanks for defending teenagers.
I recently found a diary of mine from ages eleven through thirteen. I read it-- all the pining after boys and friendship problems and other typical things I half-remembered. And tucked in there, every few pages, were little things that threw me. My mother unwilling to tell me I was okay, a good enough kid. My dad's midnight rages about me, when he vented to my mother about how little he liked me, and how awful I was. Rages I would listen to as they talked-- as If I was a baby sure to be tucked away asleep. Of course I heard.
My parents were not awful. In many ways they were good. In some ways they were great. But when I became a teenager, they looked at me differently. My mother saw herself as having been a bad teen and thought I'd be just like her unless she stopped it somehow-- thus her scolding and disappointment when I achieved only a B+, or A-, not an A+ on the report card. I knew I was a good kid but I'd begun to doubt it.
People always say teenagers pull away from their families. What they don't mention is that families also pull away from teenagers.
I'm not going to Share your Post...for one single, solitary reason:
You just finished venting your feelings of frustration. Now I'm going to vent mine. Mine, too, have been building up for a long, long time. I want you to notice one major difference between our Posts: you won't find a single, solitary profane word in mine. I have learned, over the years, not to vent my frustrations with yelling and name-calling. (Cussing never was an issue of mine.) In learning to do so, I have found a peace of mind that was always missing when I carried on, yelling and calling names.
It was pointed out to me, years ago, that people who cuss (or call names) do so because they haven't taken the time to learn to fill their vocabulary with civil words that express their feelings. This is a major oversight, that could be remedied by anyone, with just a determination and a bit of effort...OK, maybe a lot of effort, at first. But the reward of having control of your inner feelings is well worth the effort.
I don't recall the last time I got mad. I occasionally become frustrated, but never angry. What's the difference? Anger goes somewhat deeper than mere frustration. I know. I used to spend a lot of time being angry. So, you see, I'm not rattling on about something I know nothing about, just because someone else told me so. I've been there...done that, and I've learned to control my emotions. Just like I also learned to omit chocolate and salt from my diet. At one time, I was addicted to both. Just like you, and far too many others, are addicted to using foul language.
Once you learn to curb a bad habit, it becomes a point of irritation. You tend to be irritated by others who haven't done the same...I guess, because you realize that they, too, could overcome the bad habit, and usually aren't even trying to do so. And you know the difference personal self-control can make in your life; and in the lives of others. Yes, the personal self-control you exhibit does make life easier to bear for those around you.
So, if and when you choose to re-write this Post, omitting the unnecessary expletives, I'll be glad to Share it. I was suicidal when I was a teen. I can empathize with the frustrations mentioned here...but I can't with the way you chose to mention some of them.
And please don't try to tell me, like others already have, that cussing is the "in" thing...that I should get used to it. I remember when it wasn't the "in" thing, any more than adultery or fornication were. Just because society has chosen to degrade itself, doesn't make doing so right.
It's incredible what some parents think is parenting. I'm 18 and I love my parents for what they have taught me over the years. They taught me how to control my own life, they guided me by setting an example, they always made sure that I understand what I'm facing and advise on my choices but never made them for me. Control and negativity is never going to get anyone anywhere and the amount of people that don't understand that surprises me... They were a teenager once, so why can't they understand? Why can't they see their children struggling with their own identity while they belittle them to nothing? Why can't they understand how much they don't need their own parents denying their very own existence? For some, family is the only place they can be themselves. For some, it's the only place where they can feel warmth and love. If their family is not providing that, can you blame them for getting it somewhere else? The amount of ignorance and self-assuring words that some parents hypnotize themselves with is incredibly pathetic. I've heard from friends about how much they have lost the ability to trust and love others because of the lack of it at home. It hurts for me even to hear and watch... I can't possibly comprehend how much it hurts for them...
Please, listen to your child. Please, respect them as humans. Please, treat them the way they deserve to be treated. Everything starts from parenting, the right way of parenting. The way of love, encouragement and reasoning.
Awesome article. I have always felt a heavy burden as a parent because I believe that there aren't any bad children, just bad parents. So, whenever I see my children exhibiting a certain dysfunctional behavior, I immediately look at myself and my husband. I got pregnant at 16 years old, and cringe to this day to hear people speak negatively about situations such as mine. I wasn't a bad child, I was a child who was alone, depressed, taking love from anywhere I could get it. This awareness stayed with me to this day; 12 years later. But, my mother put on a good show for everyone; I was just a rebellious child in many people's eyes. We are such delicate beings. John Lennon had it right: All you need is love. I constantly remind my husband-who is very much the power hungry parent as you described-that although I know he has good intentions, parenting has to come from a place of love. I believe everything will fall into place if it does.
My best fried stopped a suicide attempt the summer after I graduated from High School. I was sitting in the middle of my parents' bed with my dad's pistol pointed at my skull when she came through the front door (yeah, I was making a statement with the where and how)....she said she'd felt something was wrong and needed to check on me. She called another friend & they put together a support network for me that held together long enough for me to start planning. The despair was momentary. I didn't want to die. I just didn't want to live like that, and I couldn't, for a few moments, see past the present. Everything I'd wanted to do after graduation, my parents had put a stop to. I had a car I couldn't touch without permission, I wasn't allowed to get a job (he would give me any money he felt I needed), Any plans I made with friends required permission (and were always changed in some way), I arrived late everywhere I went, and had to leave early - when I was allowed to go at all......the list goes on and on. As a child, though, I never doubted that my parents loved me, that they were just trying to do what they thought was best for me. Weird, isn't it?
My parents would "re-write history" - something would happen, and when it was discussed later, there was only a vague resemblance to the events I experienced, actions, words & motivations were all miraculously transformed to tell a different story. I almost told a counselor at school about some of the things that went on at home, about being thrown against the wall, about how my Mom had to wear heavy make-up and sunglasses to work a couple times a year....but, my Mom put a stop to that idea. She told me point-blank that if sides had to be taken,she would ALWAYS choose my Dad. He was her mate, I was just her child....so I didn't dare. I didn't really want to know what would happen if social services came by & didn't take me with them when they left.
I've suffered from anxiety and depression my whole life. I don't believe I really know what JOY is....despite having flickers of true happiness here and there. Do I blame my parents? I did for a while, but I've since come to realize that I am responsible for my own happiness. I was in my 30's before I cut off communication with my parents for a while. Things are better now, but I don't know if they will ever be "right."
Brilliant. I faked it for years and had to have lots of treatment for severe depression before I realised I'd managed to force myself to be a person I'm not. Being assertive did not go down well with my extremely controlling father and our relationship has deteriorated since but I suppose I think there's no point in being Daddy's little girl if he has no idea who his daughter actually is and would rather try and mould her than let go once in a while and find out. And the depression still comes and goes but life is much better.
I think one of the things that fueled my rebellious stage against my parents was culture shock, or rather culture disconnect. As Immigrants, they have different expectations of me than the ones society had, and it confused me, made it seem like I was rebelling when I was doing something socially acceptable (like skipping an essay rewrite that I already got 100% on), and making me feel neglected because they weren't doing what society expected them to do. I'm fortunate to have loving and listening parents, so they do listen when I say "Mom, Dad, I need to you say that you're proud of me, I can't just assume it", or "Mom, Dad, I'm passing this course, it's okay that I'm not getting a 95", or "Mom, Dad, I need to take a break from studying and relax and be a kid". A lot of kids have a hard time vocalizing this, with reason. It took me years to get this through, and they're still uneasy with it.
Part of my rebellion was also realizing they're human and make mistakes, when they were still trying to be perfect and not. That one's harder, and I'm still working on it.
Only just found this as an older teenager who's parents barely even know me because I'm little miss perfect for them. I have to be they have called me it since I know. Little miss sunshine. They don't know anything about what I really love doing because I hide it from them. They'd try to make it theirs and it's MINE. The only thing that's mine in my life. They don't care about me unless I'm getting As at school. I don't not do that just to spite them because that would damage my own dreams. But I had depression for years and they didn't know until 10 months ago because I ended up having my stomach pumped after attempting suicide to be frank.
Don't get me wrong I love them. I'm sure their intentions are good. But I just want them to let me be me. I almost went into accountancy just to please them. I'm good at maths but I HATE it. I'm glad I decided to be me. Anyway. I'm 18 now. I made it through. I move out in a few months. I know it won't be easy. But at least my opinion may count a little and I will have the option to make my own decisions. I am lucky. I have found parent figures in other people I know. But I am still a very closed off and independent person to the point it damages me. I am working on it I'm trying. I just. This made me cry and realise how much of me isn't really me. But what my parents wanted me to be. I'm not the child they wanted. I'm nothing like them.
I love kids and I work with kids and other young people as a kinda unpaid job. But I am still fearful of having my own. I fear I'll muck it up as much as they did. I wouldn't want my kids to go through what I went through alone. My parents don't believe in depression or annorexia so it was completely impossible to tell them. Anyway I found you and this today and it gave me a burst of strength for these next few months.
Thank you, I sincerely hope you keep at it.
I just heard of your blog when a friend shared your "I am Christian, unless you're gay.." blog with the note from the mom, I cried instantly. Then I started exploring more of your blog and found this article. I can't reach of to that girl though I wish I could hug her and set her mind and soul straight, she is beautiful, priceless, strong to ask for help, and will have a better life but it will take help, she should get counciling esp. before she has a relationshop of her own, trust me I know from experience. I grew up in that household (crap here come the tears, you've made me cry a lot this morning, but it a good cleansing cry) my mom on a daily, weekly basis from as early as I can remember which is about 5 or 6 yrs old has told me how she regrets me, how I ruined her life, how she never wanted me, how I made her fat, how I made my dad leave her bc she was fat, bc I was not a boy. How she always wanted to send me to my dad or grandparents to live. I grew up thinking i was worthless, and that I wanted to die. I did try suicide when I was 15, luckily I failed. Finally I did go live with my grandparents, they have always been my rock of stability. My dad, never felt those things about me, this I learned later in life when I had the strenth to ask him. I found out that he wanted custody of me but bc he was in the Navy and went to sea, he could not have it. Today, I am 36, I have 5 kids ranging from 16 to 3. I am NOT my mother. I tell my kids daily that I love them. Yes, i have made parenting mistakes but never that big, I have always tried to mend my mistakes with dicussions, apologies, and hugs. I think my kids know how much I love and support them as people. My kids are brilliant, will go far in this world, further than me because they have the support of a parent who cares about them, twoactually. My husband grew up in the same household, broken, bitter, and abusive. We often have discussions about the torment we still feel over our parents treatment of us and in his case the parents complete lack of acknowledgement of their wrongdoings. In my case, my mother has admitted and apologized, I have forgiven but I sometimes still have issues with acknowledging her love and the reasons for her apology, but that is my wound that is still healing. If I could talk to this girl I would show her she can make it thru this, others have, I have, after years of being told I'm worthless I am raising wonderful kids,I have worked hard to get an MBA while doing that, she can accomplish much, and quite honestly nothing proves a person more wrong than showing them the complete opposite. Or as Henry Rollins said in an awseome spoken word tour when I was 17...Don't kill yourself, if people don't like you stay alive, and totally piss them off by doing it. Much love to your awesome blog and parenting. I got a few laughs today from you too, pistachios...thank goodness I haven't had to deal with the "up the nose" thing. Joanne Baldwin
My mom and I just couldn't get along, I could do nothing right for her, no matter how I tried and man, did I try... I'll never forget how I felt when she told me "Had I known how you'd turn out, I'd have aborted" When I tried to commit suicide (it didn't work, obviously), she then told me I was too damn selfish, how could I not think about how she'd feel, about how my other family members would feel... It seemed to me that it only mattered how others would feel but how I felt the whole time was just not relevant. And why I felt that way even less, huh?
It's been a long time since then but I'll never forget these things. It still hurts like hell.
I know this happens in many families... Hell, I've seen it happen to my friends right in front of my eyes. But... I can't say that I've ever felt worthless in my parents eyes. I have never felt worthless, ever. I've felt goofy, clumsy, dorky, and happy. Throughout it all I've always felt happy and loved. Maybe it's because I'm the youngest, but I sincerely doubt that because my family has always been really tight and loving. My biological father was murdered when I was two, and you would think that I have this piece missing from my life. I never felt it. My mother remarried, to the only guy I've ever known as my dad, and I never once felt like he thought of any of us as "not his" or "worthless brats" or whatever. He gave me something that everyone should have: A loving father. He was kind, he was easygoing, he was strict, he was funny, he was fiercely protective of us, he told me stories and jokes, he hugged me and let me cry on his shoulder. He told me some of the most important things I've ever heard. "Life does get better than this, I promise. Of course you can have a slumber party with the girls and take over the living room and make a mess in the kitchen, because that's what kids should do. It will be all right. I love you and I'll never stop believing in you. You can tell me anything and I promise not to freak out until you've finished. Life has it's ups and downs, and it's not always sunshine and roses; but if you have the love of your family and friends and you love them in return... You can weather any thing." And you know what? Everything he told me was spot on.
Then there was my mom... You couldn't find a better soccer, dance, cheer leading, football, working, single then married again mom. She was our champion. When life tried to tell us that we weren't good enough, she stood up to it, pushed it back, and told it that we were good enough. She held us when we cried, pushed us when we thought we couldn't do it, let us step back when we had enough and she loved us. She loved us to the point that our friends were jealous. It wasn't noisy, but she knew what was going in our life. She wasn't a tiger mom, but we kept active and excelled in what we did. We didn't drink, smoke, do drugs, have sex, our get in fights... But we always knew that if we had done any of those things, first she would have knocked our heads together, then sit down and talk about why we did it and then hug us and say, "we'll get through this together." My mom always put us first, and now that we've all left the nest, we try to make sure that we spoil her as often as possible... Even though she thinks that we should be spending our money on, "more important things," like there could be anything more important than family, right?
Growing up I never felt rich, I never felt poor, I felt loved. I felt bad and confused and just plain sorry for those of my friends and others that I saw that had the real crappy parents. In high school, my friends always would look at me like I was crazy when I would call my parents and say things like, "Well, we're going to Mario's bday party and I don't know who's going to be there. I'm not sure if any adults will be there and yes, I am pretty sure that there will be alcohol there. Call you when I'm headed home. I love you, too." Or maybe, "I think we're going to go set off fireworks in the dry lake bed. Oh, and there was an old, rusting, dead van that looked like it's been there for ages that some of the guys want to blow up... Yeah, I think that they are pyromaniacs, as well. Oh, no! I'm planning on staying as far away from that and I will be ready to call 911 when someone catches fire. Plus, I have plenty of water. Okay, talk to you later. Love you!!" The thing that no one wanted to understand is that I was honest with my parents because they trusted me... They trusted me because I was honest with them. They didn't have to worry about me because they knew what I was doing. I know, it may sound like I was a goody two-shoes but my brother and sister are the same. We're an honest, loving and tight family. I know their faults and they know mine, but we've never focused on them.
The guy who's my father in every way except blood was one of those kids who had hard, well meaning parents and siblings who treated him like crap... He turned out pretty okay. So, for those of you who think that it's an endless cycle of parent hurting their children out of "love" and those said children becoming like their parents... My dad is living proof that it doesn't have to be that way. And for those of you who have treated your children this way, stop and reevaluate your life. Now, go apologize to your children and hug them and kiss them and be thankful that they are here in your life and know that no matter what, they could never be a mistake and never be less than a miracle. And to those kids who think that no one cares and that they are insignificant... YOU MATTER! Now, go tell your parents that the way they are treating you isn't healthy of conducive to a happy childhood. Tell them that when they say those things that they hurt and that if they aren't careful they are going to lose you. And if that doesn't work, make your own damn family. Jenny who lives down the block and has had your back through everything, held your hand when you cried, sat with you in silence and laughed with you about something that no one else on this planet could ever understand... Well, she's your family so keep her close. And know that you're her family, too.
Sorry your parents are douche bags. Things will get better but you just have to stand tall and fight back. And somewhere, somehow there is at least one person in your life who cares whether you stand or fall, laugh or cry, dance or sit, or shine like the beautiful miracle you are or hide your beauty from the world. Someone cares. I care. Dan cares. The other teens who are going through the same thing care. Don't let the world knock you down.
This kind of treatment doesn't begin when you become a teenager. I heard how worthless and stupid I was from the time I was young. I thought I ignored my dad, but once my mother finally left with me and my sister, I realized that everything he said was in my head. (My mother kept quiet because she was afraid. I felt like I was on my own very early.) His voice replayed in my head for years constantly. After awhile I only heard those nasty things when I failed at something. It has taken until now (at 43) to get that I matter and that I have something to contribute. I know exactly how the teen feels. I wish I could say that it goes away quickly or easily. I married someone much like my father who told me the same things. I got divorced after a year. My son had to put up with hearing those things too. Even though I told my son he was wonderful and smart, he believed his father. No matter how many nice things you hear, you only believe the bad stuff that you heard as a child. My son went from an outgoing, happy toddler to an introverted, shy teen who stopped smiling. With my help and doing the same work I have, my son has gotten who he really is. He may still have more work to do (I might too), but at least he, at almost 20, has gotten that he's smart, capable and loves people--much less time than it took me.
You really nailed how these put-downs from parents work, why the parents do this, and the results. I've never read anything where this was explained so clearly. I never understood why my son's dad wanted to control him or break him. Thank you for writing this.
Its incredible, the way you have delved the teen world. Being one, I know all the challenges and uphill tasks that consist of teen life. Pressure, from parents, peers, from everyone who seem to not care stifle the living hell out of you. And like idiots, we ignore it all. I have seen plenty of my friends suffer and apart from some consoling advice, I feel I really can't help much. Hope this post changes some of the people's psyche :) Kudos for a great article !
There is one more thing that you forgot to mention in this article about why teenagers feel such angst. I tried everything in my power to have a relationship with my sons; yet their father is a sociopath. He believed that the best way to ensure our sons had no relationship with me was to alienate them from me in entirety. He had help; his parents. My sons treated me with utter contempt. There was nothing that I could do right. I was always wrong. My sons, even as teenagers, lied, cheated, and maniplated me; just like their abusive father. So, sometimes it is not the parent's fault. Sometimes, it is the teenager's if they have help and encouragement to live an antisocial lifestyle, from one parent. They reach a point where they have to choose which lifestyle works for them. My sons chose pornography, drinking, drugging, and assaults. They were completely enmeshed, codependently, with antisocial behavior that their father, and his family taught and encouraged. I walked away. I just continued to pay child support. But, I cut all of my sons loose; walked away; and began the path to my new life of happiness, free of abuse.
I'm a seventeen year old girl who's grown up in a "good" home. My friends love my parents. But my parents have fallen into these things. My dad doesn't make an effort at all to have a relationship with me. A few times a year he'll "apologize" and say he wants a better relationship but it never happens. It never has. He doesn't get that even though he's probably hurt me more in my entire life than anyone else, I'm still loyal. Sure I don't agree with his thinking and truthfully I don't respect him, but I fake it, and I never tell other people. I get judged for not having a good relationship with my dad and yet I still don't speak up and explain.
I went searching for love, and it hurt me. As a preteen and early teenager I attached myself to people and inevitably I'd get thrown away and hurt and more convinced every single time that there was something wrong with me. And of course, the first boy who really payed attention to me, I trusted way too much and latched on and it broke me down again when he turned out to be immature and hurtful.
I've spent my whole life thinking I'm fat and ugly and not good enough. I've spent my whole life thinking nobody will love me. I've spent my whole life allowing people to walk all over me because... why wouldn't I?
I just wanted to say, you right on the dot with this. The whole just thinking you have to make it to eighteen and then it'll be ok? That was me.
Parents do need to understand that life is HARD for a teenager. Sometimes the trouble we get into is our fault, but regardless, all we really need is proof that someone loves us no matter what. If our parents, the ones who knew us the best at least while we were children, don't seem to love us, how are we supposed to succeed? How are we supposed to believe that anyone will? How are we supposed to believe that anyone should?
Oh and, (this is the same person), things are getting better.
My parents are somehow better at parenting me now than ever before. Possibly because I don't require much parenting.
Honestly, I realize I was a difficult child. I realize that parents have it hard too, and that they say things they don't mean and sometimes have no idea that their child is hurting.
To all the people talking about parenting teenagers (especially older teenager): Possibly the single most important thing that my parents have started doing is letting me make my choices. I wanted to date a boy, I explained my reasoning, and my mom told me that she wasn't a fan of the idea but that it was my decision. In her words, "I don't really want you to, I don't want to see your heart broken, but I'm going to say it's your decision, I just hope we can keep an open line for advice." The same thing when I asked to go see a movie that my parents weren't fond of. They said, "Sometimes I don't like your decisions." But they didn't say no. Even when I was discussing moving away to university a year early, eight hours away, they let me think about it and pray about it and decide. Obviously you can't do this with your younger teenagers, but when they get to 16-17, give some leeway. Being a teenager feels like being kept in captivity a lot of the time. And the kids who are kept in the strictest homes are the ones who go crazy when they're finally "free." Gradually give your kids responsibility and freedom. Even when they don't deserve it. They'll live up to the expectation.
More than half of what you've said could be my teenage years, which I've just come out of. One of the best things my parents have done for me is to accept and be okay with me drinking in college. I didn't drink in high school and I was always honest with my parents about what I did. When I got to college, I wanted them to know that I wasn't drinking myself into oblivion every night and I was behaving responsibly. They said that that was okay, and it turned into an amazing dialogue in which I could tell my parents what I was actually doing. I never drank to too much excess, and they knew it. They trusted me to do the right thing to take care of myself, and I never felt I had any reason to go beyond that. My mom knew what I was doing on a weekend night, and when I came home for holidays it was easy to ask her to come pick me up if I was going to be having a few drinks at a friend's house. I have so many friends who can't tell their parents what they do on a weekend because they're afraid of telling them about drinking. Can't tell their parents they were in the hospital last night because they made a stupid mistake or drank something they never drank before.Parents, don't you want to know what your kids are doing? Where they are on friday? If they went to the hospital? If they went to help a friend? Don't you want to be able to talk to them about it when something goes wrong, so you can give them advice? Don't you want to be able to enjoy a drink with your child and sit down and know that your kid is an amazing adult now, who is living their own amazing life where they're responsible for themselves? I hope more people can be like this. My parent's trust and openness is one of the reasons I have always enjoyed myself and never drank destructively like so many people I know.
I agree with you 100% - and everything that you say about teenagers is true! Theya re all of those things, I was and my boys are now. But if they were perfect they would be out there supporting themselves in the workplace. Every teenager is like this is their own way and WHO CARES! This is what has molded each and every one of us into what we are today. I have a very close relationship with my boys, but maybe that's because I don't turn around and tell them how worthless they are. Teenagers will make mistakes and we as parents are there to let them do it and pick them back up, dust them off and let them know we will always be there for them. Judgement, critisizim, and bullying is a part of their everyday lives. They don't need to hear it from us as parents. You want to know why teenagers don't talk to their parents but share with friends? Because you not their friend. they don't trust you! You are the enemy. As a parent YOU must be strong. YOU shouldn't be rude. YOU should be RESPECTFUL. These children (that is what they are) do not owe PARENTS ANYTHING! As parents YOU owe your child the love, friendship and understand THEY need to grow into a healthy individual.
With you 100% on this. I've had to spend the last several years bringing myself to accept that the only way I could ever hope to make my Dad happy and proud of me would be to become someone I don't want to be. Someone who is completely dominated and lives their life solely for his benefit and convenience. Someone whose life revolves around his and who still thinks the sun shines out of his every orifice the way she did when she was 6 (I don't think he ever really forgave me for growing up). But it's hard, because deep down inside there's still that little 6 year old who craves Daddy's approval.
On the positive side, at least I have a fantastic relationship with Mum. And with Granny, too, when she was still with us. Those two incredible women shaped pretty much all the good parts of who I am today. Sadly, Dad shaped most of the rest.
Even at 21 I am still desperately trying to win my mother's approval. Even after getting a 4.0 and my private catholic college she is more focused on the fact that my tuition is an unexpected 300$ extra. Three hundred dollars or I'll get kicked out of school. No matter how well I do at being the BEST at everything (school, work, organizations, etc) and constantly achieving more highly than my peers she finds the one thing I am doing wrong and focuses all of her resentment of my life into it. I don't know how to be any better. I don't know how to make her proud. She had me at a young age and I changed her life forever. But that wasn't my choice and I'm tired of paying for it. I hope that when I leave for good, never looking back, that for once in her life she feels guilty or sorry. My first memories are of being 7 and taking care of my little sister. I may not remember having a childhood but I'll be damned if I let her have my future.
It's kind of funny to me that parents don't realize that how they treat their children is directly parallel to how their children behave. Humans come out of the womb complete terrors—they're made that way, in part by how they are raised. Everyone should know that how we are parented has a huge effect on what we turn out to be like. If you think there's something wrong with how your child behaves, then first look at yourself and see how you can change your parenting. Then, look at the child.
We have taken in one of my son's friends. They're both 19 and have been friends for almost half their life. When they were 14 and and got to goofing off and skipping school, we backed the school and made sure our son realized he had to attend. This kid's dad got mad at the principal and yanked him out of school. He has not attended since. His dad is always yelling at him to get a job, join the Army, do something but the kid only has an 8th grade education, no transportation, no phone, no Internet. And he is such a GOOD hearted kid. The essential core of him is just Good. Helps with dishes when he was here, would take the dogs out, do laundry. He's honest and smart, polite and friendly. We made sure he understood that if he moved in here, he had to attend school and get his diploma. We would make sure he had transportation and supplies and clothes if needed. I have taken him to get Medicaid so he can see the doctor if he gets sick and talked our family doc into taking him on as a patient even though he wasn't taking new ones. We have taken him on vacations with us and opened his eyes to other places besides the small town we live in. My heart aches for him, he was feeling so trapped and helpless. I really, truly hope we are able to make a difference in his life because he certainly deserves it. Even if it's just one kid I save, it makes a difference.
If this is indeed true then I feel so sorry for the girl to have experienced this from her parents. Parents do need to understand what their teens have to say because they do matter. Although I too believe that no parent would have wanted to hurt their kids on purpose just because it satisfies them, unless of course if they're not capable of thinking and feeling normally. Any troubled teen nowadays become who they are not just purely because of how parents deal with them but also because there may also be other factors causing it. It's easy for these teens to be influenced by the wrong peers and by the media, in spite of their parent's giving them the love and the support they deserve. But then again, parents could only do so much to understand their teen's behavior. Finding the right help to reform any troubled teen can be challenging but really not impossible.
It probably goes both ways in order to establish a great relationship with your own teens. And once this is done, I'm sure there won't be too big of a problem with parenting our teens.
Anybody who believes that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach flunked geography http://www.getxprofiles.com
To the teenager who wrote the email to Dan...
".. I am one of gods biggest mistakes"
That is emotional abuse. You have been emotionally abused by the people who were supposed to love, protect and take care of you. It is not your fault. And you have every right to feel your feelings; to be angry at your parents, to cry, to feel shorted.
Your dad calling you names is emotional abuse. It is entirely inappropriate. It is not okay. And it is not your fault.
The abusive things they've said about you are not true.
You did not deserve any of this abuse. You deserved, and still deserve, to be seen, heard, validated, respected, loved and appreciated.
Because of the legacy your parents passed down to you, you will have to seek support for yourself when you are an adult. Hopefully, right at 18.
There is hope, there are people who can teach you how to have a good relationship with yourself and give you the love you've always wanted.
But you will have to go to them yourself.
Please, check out themeadows.org and using the "Chat Now" button, ask them for a referral for a therapist in your area.
You are a precious child, regardless that your parents didn't send you that message, just for being born and alive and trying to make it in this harsh world.
You are the reason I want to reach teens as a counselor, to show you the love you so deserved and to teach you how to hold yourself in warm regard.
Do not believe what your parents have told you; they are damaged and toxic.
God says He created you in His image and that He has a plan just for your life. Start seeking God; talk to Him.
God bless you,
My recent post I don’t want to talk about it
Let me sum up this article for you;
People do exactly what was done to them, to their children.
Until, someone has the intestinal fortitude to break the cycle. With professional help.
All of you should read, "For Your Own Good:
Hidden Cruelty in Child-rearing and the Roots of Violence" By Alice Miller.
My recent post Emotions
I saw this site today because I was crying in my closet a few minutes earlier. God knows how much I cried my heart out. My parents just had an argument with me over lunch and it was because of a stupid sunny-side-up egg I cooked for them. I will tell you what happened..
My mom cooked the main course but it didn't look like it will fill up the three of us (mom, dad, me) so I cooked the eggs just so in case someone's not satisfied, there will be something else to eat. I wasn't trying to offend her in any way but when she saw me cooking, she got mad and told me I was being rude for making another meal and that I was disrespecting her for showing that I had no plans of touching what she cooked which was entirely untrue. And just when I thought my dad wouldn't plunge in, he went for the argument and sided with my mom. Now there's 2 of them yelling at me when all I really did was make them both a nice secondary meal. I kept telling them I wasn't trying to be rude but they wouldn't believe me. When I cried, my dad told me I was being dramatic and that my acting wasn't going to work on him. And from there, the issue went down to all the other issues that started from way back when I was born. WHEN I WAS BORN!!! Who cooks eggs and get scolded after that for being such a terrible baby?! I am now almost 19 and I still hurt like a kid for all the things they did to me while growing up. I wouldn't call them abusive because I never really got major injuries but every time and again, they'd slap me on the face or the head as a sign of discipline whenever I say something that they don't want to hear. IT HURTS. I know they love me with their life but I can't feel it anymore. Sometimes, I feel like I just come and go from the house to the school and that I really don't matter to them anymore. Speaking of school, I'm afraid of it and I can blame my parents for that. If my dad didn't call me stupid in 4th grade for not answering a math problem right, I probably wouldn't grow up thinking that I'm not good enough. I know you can tell from this comment that I sound like a kid but to tell you the truth, I've been trying all my life to be the best daughter to my parents. I'm not perfect, I screw up and even rebel against them but deep inside, all I want to be is someone they could be proud of.
My closet isn't big. It's not a walk-in closet where you can lock yourself in. It's just a compartment with a rack and all my clothes there but after being so depressed earlier, I just couldn't help but squeeze myself in and cry. It really hurts.
I hope I get a response from you that'd be really helpful. All I really want is to have someone who would actually listen to me. My parents are off the list. My siblings are not around and my friends probably won't even know what to say. So please respond. I just need someone who is going to listen to me.
i'm 18 and i am going through the EXACT same thing as u are. email me at [email protected] if u need someone to share yr probs with. i sure do.
I hope that you got a reply so long ago. :) You are a survivor and a warrior. So am I - so was I. You need to start putting together a life outside of your parents, where you can be successful and not have them tell you otherwise. That was such a wise, selfless decision to make more food. You are a successful person. I can tell. :) Put together your life outside of your parents. You deserve it :)