There are so many things that can cause conflict between parents and teens. Chuck in a mental health condition or two, and you’ve just raised the stakes. Bonds between parents and teens can be pushed to their limits. Therefore it’s not unheard of that a little arguing and shouting breaks out!
Nurturing those parental bonds keeps them strong enough to ride out tough times. Ways to do that are as varied as our families are, however the common denominators are always communication and/or fun. The more you have of both, the more resilient the connection is.
Jessie has a unique way of thinking that often leaves me in hysterics or shaking my head, speechless. And sometimes a combination of the two. Sometimes I have the same effect on her, although more of the head shaking from her end, “omg mum you’re so embarrassing.” We don’t spend money on the things that bond us. They’re free and effective. I find it’s the conversations we have together about anything, or after an argument, that help. Having conversations where we are each other’s focus, instead of a screen of some description, are awesome. And the simple things like enjoying time together playing a game or watching a movie, sharing funny things we see online, and laughing together about silly things.
When we started really working on our connection during our stay at Coral Tree we played charades on the iPad each night before Jessie went to bed. There are a few free apps you can download. We continued that at home, even on nights where we weren’t feeling so happy with each other. Amazingly, every time we’d end up having fun together and letting go of the days upsets. 15 minutes each night is all it takes, no longer. I wonder if it’s the same principle as reading stories before bed when they’re little? Quite possibly.
Jessie cracks me up. We were watching tv last night and an ad came on for a spray called V.I.Poo. You spray it in the loo before you go and it claims to mask any odours. (I love how politely I’ve written that.) I told her I wanted to get some and she couldn’t understand why, so I was explaining the benefits to her i.e you can have a crap while you’re at a party, or at your boyfriends house and you won’t leave a smell. We were already laughing because she thought it was such a waste of time and that I was weird. So after I tried convincing her of the benefits yet again, she just said to me, “nah, when you leave fast enough it doesn’t matter.” It was a funny enough conversation, and this had me on the floor. Who cares about washing hands, it just slows down the getaway!
Jessie was nine or ten when she started seeing a wonderful child psychologist at Westmead Children’s Hospital. She was very volatile back then, and I remember him saying to me that having gone through these issues so young, and with all that I was learning and changing, he believed we’d find the teenage years much easier. At the time I couldn’t see that being possible, but I think he was right. We both know how to handle conflict a lot better, but even better, we know how to repair our bonds after any issues.
Stronger, wiser and kind