Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Is that a She Cat or....my 13 year old?

If co-authoring a book is anything like co-parenting, I don't know if I can ever be a part of that endeavor. My daughter, overnight, turned into a teenage meerkat. Gone was the wonderful little girl I had known, dressed like a doll baby, parroted to church conferences and museum trips, laughed and talked with over lunch and book shopping dates. In her place was this little hellion who physically appears to be my child, but that is where the resemblance stops.

Now at a time like this, divorced parenting is not the optimal plan, because you can't just struggle to your corner and tag your authority partner to take your place in the ring. You have to call them on the phone and if they are available, relay the whole situation to them. You know the old adage "you had to be there?" This teenage angst is some mess that has to be seen in action to fully appreciate hormonal affect.

The time involved in getting the other parent up to speed cheapens your end game. I mean, who has time to explain to the other party that his spitting kitten doesn't want to wear the gray uniform tights with her formal uniform and wants to wear eye shadow to school, and mumbled under her breath that I "don't know anything about anything?" Just for him to say "Well, she's a teenager and she's going to go through this?" This kind of response belittles the battle of wills happening in real time right before your very eyes.

Now, it's gonna take at least 15 minutes for me to explain to him that she is not going to go through anything sorta kinda like this which resembles disrespect up in my house, Dr. PhilLipsAgain, so when does she get her key to your house - and that just takes too much time away from me chasing her into a closet. He has to be reminded that he plays for Team Parent.

I digress. The thing is, it is difficult to do well at divorced parenting during the teenage years. We may actually have to reconsider our parenting pact and develop some new communication skills. Teenagers can be frustrating, but we must be mindful to see around their hormones and past the challenging behavior to the underlying needs.

And you may find yourself making concessions that you couldn't or wouldn't make when you were still married, for the sake of your children. This is just God's way of helping you grow in a tight space. You might as well know now that you're going to grow regardless of whether you divorced or stayed married, if you both love your children enough to want to parent them together.

You may find yourself at times thinking, why couldn't we do this when we were married. Don't doubt. You have to know that you are right where God wanted you at this very moment. It doesn't mean that the next moment won't be different, but today is right.

Every once in a while I take the time to say "I forgave that past and its over. This right now? This is my  now." That is how I deal with co parenting, especially when something has to change. Dealing with this teenage child who resembles my baby? This is a change. Yet we must remember - change is not a bad word.

Well, I am off to rekindle my relationship with my therapist. I need meditation, medication, and copious amounts of mass communication to deal with this new leg of the journey - all, of course, preceded by much prayer!

1 comment: