Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guide For The Perplexed

Recently Kalynne posted a sentence from an e-mail someone sent her. It was "The proof of good parenting is in the lives of our children..."

Oh, Lord, that still cracks me up. Gets me every single time...

I mean, if only, right? If only we could rest assured that by doing everything "right" (whatever that means) when raising our children, we would be rewarded with responsible, loving, hard-working teens and adults. But, um, no. Doesn't work that way. I've seen kids raised on TV and junk food and general neglect turn into the most wonderful people, and I've witnessed children nurtured and read to and lovingly disciplined develop into the most nightmarish teens you would wish to see.

There are no guarantees, folks! Parenting is a crap shoot! Isn't that great? So let me supply some of you unsuspecting innocents with a little guidance, gleaned painfully from personal experience. You're welcome.

How To Know Your Formerly-Precious Daughter Has Been Possessed By The Devil
(A Guide For The Perplexed)

  1. She thinks it's okay to sleep on a bare mattress rather than exert herself to put her sheets on the bed.
  2. You give her a gift card to Target for Christmas, and she lets you know (in a particularly non-endearing fashion) that it isn't for nearly enough money [and you bet I took it back].
  3. She expresses anger toward pants hangers. She hates them! Because you suggested she use some in her closet to save space.
  4. Being required to eat a quarter cup of oatmeal in the morning becomes an intolerable affront to her free will, equivalent to a violation of the Geneva Conventions
  5. The confusion and discomfort in her facial expression, when spoken to by a parental unit, would be more appropriate for an encounter with an (unshowered) crazy homeless person on a city street. Who is this woman? her expression clearly indicates. Why is she babbling? Do I know her?
  6. Teachers and other parents praise her comportment and behavior, as her satanic possession is only in effect around the people who have loved and cared for her her entire life. (Bothers me much? You bet!) Please do not comment that that is because she feels "safe" around us. Is it okay for a man to be verbally abusive to his wife because he feels "safe" around her? That was a rhetorical question. The answer is no. Go peddle your pop psychology elsewhere. Thanks. [Lord, I'm touchy tonight. Must be because of the hanger incident (see #3)].
What to do if you suspect your daughter is indeed possessed? Take heart. Apparently, these demonic takeovers, although they feel eternal, are only temporary. In the meantime, here are some

Coping Tactics

  1. Do not attempt to reason with victim. The possession disables most cognitive processes.
  2. When accused of Nazi-like behavior, salute and yell, "Heil, Hitler!"
  3. Be aware that any semblance of pre-possession behavior heralds a request for cash or favors.
  4. When others compliment your daughter's behavior, refrain from emitting the hysterical laughter that wells up from within. No one understands. No one.
  5. If possession is prolonged (lasting longer than 2 years), boarding school, while expensive, might be a reasonable recourse. Or, if she is old enough by then, hand her off to a military recruiter. And right before she heads off to basic training at Parris Island, tell her that drill sergeants love when recruits roll their eyes.


  1. I have a reader from Littleton that never leaves comments either! Maybe people in Littleton are very shy.
    I have a 13-year-old girl who is very pleasant and helpful. When can I expect this demonic possession to take place? I've been holding my breath. (I'm sure it'll happen because of all the times my mother screamed, "I hope you get a daughter just like you!!!")

  2. Wait a sec. I just rechecked and my blog stalker is from Littleton, Massachusetts. Still coincidental, I think.

  3. I am so trying the "Heil Hitler" one tomorrow on my "lovable" teenager!! Thanks for the coping skills....oh and wine with dinner [for me not them silly] works wonders....

  4. I hate these posts. I mean, I love these posts, because they're hilarious, but they just make me very, very, VERY afraid.

    I think I might have myself committed when I have a 13, 15 and 16 year old.

  5. What the hell is my daughter doing living in your house? And who is the possessed demon teenage girl living here?

  6. "Heil Hitler" that had me in stitches! I was rather compliant as a teenager but I would have paid good money to see my mum use that one on my sister! Still laughing!!!

    For fear of upsetting you more after "the hanger incident" I often leave the browser open at the last page I looked at... so... um... perhaps you are last on "littleton's" list of blogs to check?... *time to redeem myself* or perhaps as I am sure is really the case littleton thinks you are a shining example of a human being and spends hours going through your blog in the hope she can be just like you :)

  7. Oh thank god. I have a newly turned fourteen year old. She's like this maybe half of the time right now but it's getting worse. And YES!, everyone else, especially her teachers, think she WONDERFUL...what's up with that? Drives. me. crazy. Sigh.

  8. My husband and I have decided that you must have met our daughter. I'm not kidding. She's about 5'5", 125 lbs., Brunette, spinning head, flames shooting out of orifaces? Could this be the same person?

  9. So funny.

    I jennie w's daughter is somehow living on the sweetness that left my daughter at 10.

    At 10.

    I thought I had three more years (or two at the least). Plus we homeschool, so that ought to have given me an extra year.

    Math, not my strong point.

    Funny post.

  10. for those who don't realize, the transition from 13 to 14 is a watershed moment in demonic possession.

    i think perhaps my daughter is masquerading as yours.

    btw, i SERIOUSLY told my daughter today that i hoped i lived long enough to see her as the mother of a 14-year-old girl.

    she laughed.

  11. These same tactics can be used with teens of the male species as well. I have taken to speaking minimally to my 15 year old son, because he talks more than I do (amazingly enough). Plus if I don't talk to him much, he thinks I'm mad at him and leaves me alone. I assure him I'm not mad, I just don't feel like talking.

  12. Yes, I agree! Only parents of easy children spout that mumbo jumbo. Let them try raising a, ahem, difficult child and I bet they change their tune!!

  13. I could really have used the coping skills over the summer when my 16 year old sister was living with me.

  14. Parenting is easy.
    Until you have kids.

  15. The proof of good parenting... is similar to the comment in the Scriptures about becoming as a child.

    I don't think God wants me acting the way my kids do in church. Someone was quoting that line as my three year old was having wailing banshee melt-down and my fifteen year old son was snoring.

    When you figure out the how to get rid of the demonic possession thingy be sure and let the rest of us know how you did it. Best wishes.

  16. Oh dear you just described my son to a T. And I thought my last child was going to be the best of them all.. ha ha on me!
    love your blog

  17. oh no. I have an 8yo son who acts like this. what should i do? : )

    and can I just tell you how much I love that you took the gift card back? Seriously? AWESOME parenting. I am not being sarcastic. I truly mean it. Good job.

  18. Thanks for the advice. I think I will print this post out and save it. My 4 year old will be doing these things soon enough and I will need to know how to handle it!

  19. Okay, first off I am in the throes of the terrible 2's and really don't like being reminded that they're going to be repeated WITH THE ADDITION OF SARCASM!

    Secondly, I am new to the blogging thing and I would love to know how you know that someone in Littleton, CO is spending so much time here.

    Please share your method with someone obviously VERY clueless. But would like to reverse-stalk all 3 of her readers.

  20. I have a reader from Littleton as well who never comments!

    Your post about your daughter is hilarious. I forwarded it to my mother, because I have a sister who seems to be forever stuck in this phase.

  21. My 17yo son just named a sewage treatment plant after me on facebook. I'm going to have to give him a taste of his own medicine and give him a yellow snowcone. It's sort of like the Hitler salute, only public.

    I have 2 semi-comforting things to say:

    "Parenting teenagers is like nailing Jell-O to a tree."

    "Grandchildren are your reward for not strangling your teenagers."

    Repeat as necessary. You're welcome.

  22. Thanks for the laugh, the help, and advice! Mine is a boy and kissing him on the face makes his head spin and flames shoot out! Just think though in 6 years I will have 5 teenagers all at once!!!!!! What am I going to do then?

  23. I tend to read your blog while I'm in Littleton. But I also tend to comment, so I don't think I'm the culprit.

    Currently, however, I'm in Englewood. Roads were slick and I didn't feel the strong need to risk life, limb, and mode of transportation.


  24. Sounds like a bad day at Black Rock over there. But really, the proof of parenting comes in their lives, just not for a long time to come, i.e. when they have children of their own. The first time your daughter hears your voice come out of her mouth when speaking to her own children will be the moment when she realizes that all her rebellious sarcasm and attempts to separate from you have really just brought her back to the starting point. No matter how hard she tries, ultimately you are in her head and heart: her conscience sounds like your voice, your habits and values will have given her a place to start constructing her own life and you will find that reward enough for what you go through now.

    I know everyone else has commented on the humor of this post, but I hear a lot of pain instead. I salute you for trying to create humor out of the pain your child is causing you. I know from experience how hard that is to do and how sometimes, when dealing with teenage girls, it is the only weapon left to us. I say this as the mother of a 19 year old with depression, trichitillomania (compulsive hair pulling), anger management issues, a former cutting habit, and possibly ADD, who put herself in the hospital 18 months ago because I didn't say the "right thing," whatever that was. She could only express her anger that day by hurting herself.

    Did I take it personally? You bet I did at the time. Now I know that lots of it was her hormones and the chemical imbalance they have caused in her body. And I have always loved her and told her that. She knows I will never stop. I know she does and says things to me because she believes I am the only safe outlet she has. But your observation about whether that makes abuse acceptable is spot on. I have told her that I would have left her father had he treated me as she does, and that if she continues, I will distance myself from her as a safety measure. It would not end my love for her, but it might end our relationship. She has backed down some.

    Also, a really useful book that helped me survive her middle school years, is one called "Yes, Your Teenager is Crazy: How to Love your Teen Without Losing Your Mind." It explains a lot of recent brain research that explains a lot of teen behavior. They are quite literally out of their minds: whole pieces of their brains are disconnected in adolescence! Basically, you are dealing with oversized toddlers with language skills. They need the same clearly delineated boundaries and limits as most two year olds. We need to stop treating them as ready to be adults, because, in actuality, their brains are growing in much the same way a toddler's does.

    I don't know if any of this helps. If you don't feel like posting this with the other comments, I understand. You have a reputation for humor to maintain. But I heard pain, and I thought it should be addressed. You are not alone, and she will come back to you in good time. It's just hard to wait it out. I have cried myself to sleep more nights than I can count, and we're not out of the woods yet. But I do see the clearing ahead, and I know we're going to get there in the not-so-distant future. You and your Anna will too. Don't forget to tell her you love her, because deep down, she knows her behavior isn't likable and she wonders if she herself is unlovable. She isn't of course, but 14 is too dumb to know much of anything, and she needs to know that her mom will continue loving her no matter what. It is our hardest job as mothers, because it feels as if there is nothing we can do to change the outcome. But it is also the greatest gift we give our children and possibly the only thing we can do to steer their lives during adolescence. Good luck and God Bless.

  25. Although I am in Colorado, I am not in Littleton, and I comment :) Sometimes :)

    I'm just gonna give hugs today, because the annoymous poster above me kinda made me get all teary - Parenting is a thankless, heartwrenching, joyful, thrilling roller coaster ride. There is not a magic formula. Just a one day at a time job. That's it. Hugs.

  26. Not from Littleton but I have been spending a bit of time reading and laughing over here. Okay, Mary Alice says it's delurking day. Here's me delurking to say I can't go a day without checking in. Thanks for the good times.

  27. Maybe I should add, I have two daughters, one had a bit of a devilish possession thing while in high school. She didn't finish school, got her GED and I am happy to say we can call her Dr. Daughter now. Hang in there.

  28. I have another sign of demonic possession: You tell your 15 year old daughter that you are going to GIVE her your 5 year-old car when she turns 16 and she says, "Um, I really don't want that crappy car."

    That's when you know you have to consider exorcism!


    1. Melissa, I have a 17 yo son, a 15 yo son, and a 13 yo daughter. My oldest bought himself a 93 Toyota from a tow yard, and built it himself. We paid for 1/2 of the original purchase and repairs, up to 1000. After that he was on his own. I remember him coming home from school mad as hell because his friends were all being given "new" cars. New= Parents car. So I have to say this literally had me laughing out loud.


  29. I wonder how much of this she'll remember when she's older? I think your reactions are really funny--I'm sure she does too, deep down.

  30. My kids are already slightly insane, and they're barely tweens. Oy.

    I'm almost afraid to take credit for the good ways that my kids are turning out. It might make me responsible for all the "other" ways they're turning out, too.

    I swear, it's reason enough to have twins -- it lets you point at the other child and say, "Exhibit B: pretty, calm, sweet, and raised the same way as the other one. It's not all my fault!" Oddly, it seems to work, especially on my parents.

    And how long will it take for my little dears to get used to actually doing school work again after Christmas break?! They're making me crazy!

    And I have to ask -- how long did it take Anna to stop screaming after you took back the Target card? Tough love is hard on everyone. Believe me, I know...

  31. OK, so I'm not alone. I feel better.

    I am also acting like my daughter...but I can right, because I'm the mom?!?


  32. I couldn't agree more: total crap shoot.

    And THAT scares the crap out of me.

  33. I posted on my blog a month or so ago that I was contemplating getting a catholic friend to sneak me some holy water and then shoot it at my daughter with a SuperSoaker water gun from a safe distance away....I think God would understand and would not view this as irreverant at all.....

  34. My just turned 13 yr old is the same way. Recently her father has informed her that she is not to old for a spanking if she can not get her act together and stop acting like a spoiled brat. I don't believe in spanking, only as a last resort. But hubby, on the other hand, has occasionally given them a swat on the seat of the pants. I think that's where the switch that activates their ears is located. They finally listen once they get one spank.

  35. I was married in Littleton but that really doesn't count now does it? :)

  36. HA HA! I think your daughter and my son have been sending smoke signals...
    If I have to ask *YELL* for this child to clean his room ONE MORE TIME!

    A good friend says to me that a child goes in stages. The odd years are their good years, the even are their bad. Well if that is true I need CASES of wine shipped PROTO! He is about to hit an even birthday...

    I often tell Christopher that because Ian is in the Navy we get a discount to the military school in Salina Kansas..ha,ha!

  37. Oooh, it's nice to know that you can still have humour while raising teenagers. I am heading for 4 girls between ages 11-18 in a few years. Should I buy stocks in Kotex while I'm at it? :)

    BTW, you should really you watch the mom song. A friend just sent it to me, and I almost cried from laughing so hard. The best version is the one I posted here: If you don't recognize yourself with your brood, I have no hope left! :)

  38. Here's what frightens me most about this post. My daughter is exhibiting many of these signs and she's only 9 1/2! I may not last through years of this behavior. Someone pass the wine please!

  39. I'm afraid. Very afraid. And I'm not afraid to admit it.

    But I will say that it's been my experience (from watching others) that kids who hit their posession years earlier (while still in highschool) in the long run, tend to fare better than those who are 18 or older. (I make no mention of difficulty for parents.)

  40. Y'know what? I have 14 nephews and 5 nieces and I have to tell you that the girls are a DELIGHT in comparrison to the boys. Seriously! The boys are so much more sullen than the girls. I can barely stomach some of them most of the time.

    I really hope things improve with your daughter! I don't have any advice for you. I was a good teenaget and got cancer when I was 17 and my parents became my best friends.

  41. I admit to still exhibiting behavior number 1 on your "Possessed by the Devil" list from time to time. (When I am too tired from parenting to make the bed.) I will remind my mother she is a failure at our next outing.

  42. Scary, scary, scary. All I think of is my horrible self at that age. I still apologize to my mother. And she says, "Oh stop!... I mean you were AWFUL, but stop...." I turned out halfway decent, I'm very close with my mother, and I even make my bed every day after having a pigsty of a room as a teen.

    Good luck to you!

  43. I like to remind everyone who tells me good parenting yields good children, "Adam and Even had Cain." Yeah, kids are what they are. And I'm grateful that I am in the eye of the storm with no babies and no teenagers; I've got about 3 years to pray before the storm descends.

  44. Some days I think my 5 1/2 year old daughter has skipped right on to teen years! I pray the Lord will give me the humor and wisdom to make it through those difficult times!

  45. Everyone above has said it all...and I am thankful to know that I am experiencing something considered normal. Now if I can only figure out what abnormal is! Thanks for your post!

  46. You just described my nine year old son! Heaven help us in 4 years! You are too funny! Thanks for bringing the laugh tonight--I needed it. I just barely found your blog through a blog from a blog from another blog...