Monday, 28 June 2010

Teenage Manual wanted, any price considered!

Parenting with a chronic illness that keeps you out of the bustle of family life can be a challenge. How do you manage to stay 'in touch with' and 'current'? I feel that over the years things have been OK, my son's growing up has not been too much affected by my illness and the constraints of energy etc that it imposed on me. He was 6 when I became ill, and hasn't really know me any other way!

He is a resilient chap and, having had many challenges in his early life I think that Mum being tired and having yet another nap/quiet lie down just didn't figure too much. He taught me a lot about acceptance.

But Ooh the teenage years!
My son is almost 16yrs old now, and has so far been blessed with quite mild-mannered hormones. His attitude has been mostly easy going and fairly happy.
You seasoned 'Teen-handlers' may be thinking we've had it soft till now, but my son has special needs which have delayed the onset of 'teen-monster' but have brought us their own constant challenges in return!

Now I fear the tide is changing!! Issues around access to the internet, social networking sites, and YouTube have been flashpoints for a few months. There are some very scary things out there which have been accessed.

I feel like I'm letting my son down just lately, having my me-time has put extra barriers between Mum and Teen. It's hard work to balance the time/energy needed to stay a full part of the family life, and also take the time out that you need to safeguard health and energy. Working, recovery from that and everything life entails are a big enough drain, but to add the guilt of resting when you know you're needed elsewhere is a heartwrencher isn't it?

I'm sure there are better ways to deal with it all, I just haven't found it yet...but I'll keep trying!
If anyone has the manual that comes with their teenager, and doesn't need it anymore....I'll even pay postage!!!!


  1. I'm sorry that this extra stress is being added to your illness, Zarla. I'm so lucky that I didn't get sick until after my kids were grown and not living at home.

    I don't really have any great advice except to say "keep the lines of communication open." Talk to him whenever you can about his activities, including the internet, etc. Let him know what your concerns are without a judgmental tone sneaking into your words (easier said than done).

    I hope others with teens read this and can give you some more practical advice.

    Thinking of you...

  2. Thankyou Tony,
    I don't think there is an answer is there..? Just gotta ride it out and pray they'll come right in the end.
    Life isn't how it used to be, we were protected as teenagers, but now the big bad world is as far away as your computer screen.

    Oooh, catch me...! Sounding like my mum!
    Hoping you are doing OK Toni,

  3. Zar, I will put the manual in the mail tomorrow --oh how lovely that would be wouldn't it--to really have one!

    Toni--your keeping a judgmental tone out of communication is wise and speaking to me right now as I have a grown child, child's spouse and their child living with me. Communicate without judgment...I needed to read that!

    I raised three through the teenage years--they were each very different in their parenting needs--but I can pass what I learned on from my own mistakes and successes:

    Rules (they will act mad at you, say they hate the rules, mope around, but at the same time feel secure that you've given them strict rules.)

    When you feel inept as a parent (no you are in good company with all other parents of teenagers) and feign as much confidence as you can. It gives them security to feel your confidence.

    Remember that there are so many kids out there who have no family at all who would absolutely love to be a part of a family with a chronically ill mom who loves them!

    I believed then and still do that unconditional love is the ultimate parenting tool...and Zar I know you have an abundance of it.

    The whole technological challenges,...I feel for you. You are probably already doing this, but keeping computer use out of their bedrooms and in the space where the family gathers is one suggestion.

    Okee-dokee, its two in the morning and I sound like I'm trying to be an advice columnist- my brain just headed down that lane.

    I think your son is blessed to have you to love him through these challenging years! Kerry

  4. Kerry,
    Hey, thankyou for the wise words, much needed!! Yes, computer is in the dining room, and he has to ask to use it so we know when he's on it.

    2am? You didn't get to sleep well then- sorry sleep was eluding you Kerry, so frustrating when that happens.

    Unconditional love..... I try Kerry, and they don't always make it easy do they? I've had the grumping, the negative comments etc... Like water off a ducks back to me as, like you I know it's the ONLY way to bring him up, with rules-to be respected.

    Yes, I understand about the kids in need of a family, we adopted!

    You have both reassured me about my parenting... although I'm not sure my son would always agree with you about being blessed!!!

    Thanks Kerry,


  5. Hi Zarla! I still remember my teen yrs well b/c my 1st chronic illness set in @ 13. I was what you might call a "goody two shoes"; life had gone smoothly until I hit 13 & became very ill; all hell broke loose. That 1st illness took 10 yrs to be diagnosed. NOT fun. I love my parents dearly but plan to handle some things differently when my 9 yr old is a teen. My hubby & I are already noticing some changes in her attitude. She’s a very well-behaved/sweet/bright girl & not one to make trouble/talk back. However, her spunkiness has, @ times in the last few mos., switched into a bit more "edgy" spunkiness than the self-confident type we've encouraged over the yrs. I guess we're headed for pre-teen zone. (Yikes!) I’ve been sick her whole life; she's never known me any other way. She's excellent @ "rolling w/things" & knowing plans sometimes get changed last minute because "Mom's sick". I agree w/Toni it's important for teens not to feel "judged" & w/Kerry kids need rules (no matter how much they complain). While your son may not always like rules now I have no doubt he will "get it" later. (I think appreciation sets in for most in their 20s). I honestly DO appreciate many things my parents did when I was a teen. I just wish they’d been more proactive re: my health problems. I'm not blaming them; they just didn't know what to do. As far as the Internet is concerned, we’re VERY strict. My daughter’s only 9. She’s allowed to use the PC when one of us is right there. Any emails she sends must be approved by one of us before she clicks send. They then automatically generate a copy of what she emailed to me/my hubby. Incoming emails back get copied to us too. This is all well & fine for a 9 yr old; any teen would flip out over such strict rules. However, we're monitoring her very limited online time this way while we can. It is helping us see who she's practicing her writing skills w/as a pen pal (great!) & who just likes to send her silly emails full of emoticons & nonsense. We’re teaching her the PC isn’t a toy. She just finished 4th grade. One day, she came home saying ‘so & so’ has a Facebook acct. (She seemed to want one). We reminded her "different houses have different rules" & told her firmly that she is NOT getting a FB acct. Interestingly, I did a search for the FB acct of the girl in her class b/c I wanted to see what I (a non-FB friend) could see. (This girl is very bright, polite whenever I see her @ school, dresses appropriately, etc.) Well, a brief glance @ her FB acct was revealing. Her school persona (described above) & her FB persona weren't a "match". It was obvious from looking at her FB acct that the rules in her house are different than ours. That's fine. I'm not judging anyone. The thing is that if this girl's FB acct makes my daughter want one, I need to be prepared to explain why that's not happening. I'm actually glad my daughter mentioned this b/c checking out her FB profile made it very obvious to me that my daughter won't be going to her house for a play-date (something the girl has already mentioned). The rules in her house are WAY too different than the ones in our house for me to drop her off there & wave good bye. That’s just not going to happen. So, while my comments on teen yrs are limited to memories of my own (I'm 41 now) & bracing myself for my daughter's teen yrs (seat belt fastened), I can empathize w/you. Hang in there. You'll get through it; keep those lines of communication open @ all costs!
    P.S. Quick FYI: I have many infertile readers & rarely talk about being a mom online/on my own blog but I thought it was safe to share what I did here. So, I just wanted to let you know that I don't get into this stuff on my blog because so many of my infertile friends are going through infertility, pregnancy loss, and/or adoption. Thanks! :)

  6. Jeanne,
    Thanks for the advice, we were where you are just a few years ago, oh things were so much simpler then!!! (gazes wistfully!)

    Unfortunately those horrid things, hormones, hit the adorable, sensible, trustworthy kids we had, turning them into something akin to Gollum with acne!

    I'll do like all other Mums have done since, forever - I'll do my best and fingers crossed!

    Great to see you here Jeanne, welcome!

    Zarla xxx


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