My friend with a PhD in neurobiology tells me that there is an evolutionary reason for teen girls to hate their families - it helps them to move out and start making their own families. Scary thoughts of teen pregnancies aside, I think she was trying to reassure me that Anna's evident dislike of anything remotely connected with any of us is a natural occurrence and not my fault. But if (evolutionarily speaking) 13 or 14 year-old girls are supposed to leave the family nest, wouldn't it make sense that their brains not evaporate into thin air at this precise point in their lives? Sending Anna out on her own (and believe me, I've fantasized about it) would be like sending a 2-year-old into the world to make her own way. Rachel, at 5, is more street-smart than her sister.
Can you guess it's been a rough couple of days? Her best friend went away for a week, plus we didn't have time to take her clothes shopping this past weekend; so now we're bearing the brunt of her angst. I am so tired of her scaring the younger children. The tantrums do get rather boring after a year, you know. Yes, honey, you hate us. Now shut up, wash the dishes, do your schoolwork and think about going away to college, okay? Thanks. And you're right, we don't understand you - but would it help if we did?
And any of you who are getting ready to recommend How to Talk So Your Teen Will Listen or any other books of that ilk, forget it. The more we let Anna "express her feelings," the worse she got. Learning to grin and bear it is an important life skill, if you ask me. I've checked with several experienced parents of large families, and they agree that the no-nonsense, "get over yourself" method of parenting is the healthiest. This may be why the larger the family, the fewer the problems. To have diagnosed complex behavioral issues among your offspring, you need to have few enough kids that you have time to obsess over them.
Hoo, boy - I'm going to get an earful over that last statement. Hey, don't listen to me - listen to a guy who has adopted 10 kids, most of them with labels out their wazoos (I don't know what that means, either). Go to www.drray.com - the funniest parenting professional you could hope to meet. Enjoy some of his audio bits. From this page, for example -
I've got to get back to benignly neglecting my children.