Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Feeling At A Parental Loss

I don't know what this post will become, I just feel the need to sort it out. Perhaps just be transparent so that someone else can know a real glimpse of my life.
It's very hard when you have a child that you struggle to communicate with. One that has a personality that is in some ways similar to yours but in most ways extremely different. Just absorbing the mere scientific fact of different brain processes and ways of absorbing information would be enough to know that some sensitivity has to come into play. Do you have one person in your life who, no mater what you say to them, they seem to hear it differently and get a completely different meaning from the one you intended? Or perhaps they don't get what you are saying at all. That is the struggle I'm in with my eldest. Rick and I both actually. I'm in a struggle and search right now, knees bent before the Lord in it, to learn how to love and communicate to this child in the way that she needs me to.
I was just telling a blog friend that God has looked down and purposed that we are the perfect parents for our children. I believe that with all that is in me. I trust his sovereign plan to use all that we present to her for the good he will work in her life. That he works through us rather that in spite of us. Yet, the last two days I have not doubted this, but wondered how it can possibly be working here. He knew we would have these problems with our clashing personalities and yet he still said in essence "it is good" for us to be mother and daughter.
I love my daughter with all that is in me but I need to learn how to love her better and how to let her know that I love her without ignoring some issues that she needs to work on in her character.
My personality is full of flaws itself for sure. Mine is one of a survivor mentality at any cost. To push through no matter what comes up, to find a way to make it work. I am not a very cheerful person all the time, but I do believe that being hopeful and positive is powerful and it comes naturally to me.
My child is a defeatist. She will halt from trying just from the mere projection in her mind that it won't work or that she can't. She will cry over school work the minute it does not come easily to her. Thankfully, she is very bright and most of her academics have come easy to her and I think that very fact makes her flip out when it does not. I on the other hand, struggled in academics and learned to find a way and push through doing the best I could each time. I tell her all the time that if you give up and start crying, your brain will freeze and you won't be able to sort out the problem. I have to calm her all the way down before we can move on. She flips if she gets one wrong on a test, or her grades are not straight A+'s across the board. When told by her teacher, during their state reports, that she needed to hand draw the outline of the US with her state in the just could not do it! She tried and was so mad that it did not look right and was in angry tears by the end of about ten pieces of paper on the floor! I HAD to let her trace it from a map or we were never going to get through the project!
I cannot tell you how hard this is.
It's hard for me to see her throw up her hands and give up rather than try her best and be happy with that. It's just so not me. It's not her daddy, and it's not what her daddy and I have taught her or exemplified to her. It's like she just can't function a different way.
Another aspect that has been hard is ongoing negative thinking. For instance, and this is just an example: Lilo brought up in the car yesterday that she was so excited about the end of the school year party at the local pool. To which Princess says "Well, I'm just going to be bored because I'll be at the shallow end and all my friends will be in the deep end because they can swim better". I ask her how she knows that is true. She says that last time she was there, all her friends were in the deep end and she was left in the shallow end. I ask her when she has been to the pool with all her friends before. She says this was when her neighbor friend and another girl where there. That's just two people, I remind her, and "your class has 35 students! I don't think they will ALL be at the deep end ALL of the time you are at the pool." It's like she projects ahead and visualizes herself all alone and decides that she will for sure have a miserable time.
Yesterday was one negative response to life after another from the minute she got in the car.
I had a meeting I was supposed to go to at the school and I had arranged for my friend to watch the kids for me. She was distraught that she could not go home and rest, having some time to herself to listen to her book on CD and do her beads. I understood, I told her so, and that I really did not want to go either but that it was important. She started snipping at her sister because her world was unhappy and she got in trouble for that. As a result, she went in her room and started crying loudly so we could all hear her and spouting out various doom and gloom statements of how awful her life was and how she never had any time to herself. Now, mind you, I could tell she was tired. I suggested that she just lay down for the few minutes we had before the meeting. I even offered her my bed so that she could rest quietly without her sister coming into the room since they share a room. I was truly trying to validate her expressed need for time. She not only did not want that, she refused it and went on about how miserable it was that she could not do what she wanted. Tears again. I tried so hard to swallow so many things racing through my head. I prayed for wisdom and for self-control. I felt a sense of doom myself for a moment realizing that this was only the beginning of a long road ahead with h0rmone swings and efforts to be the strong yet sensitive parent I needed to be. I felt at a loss. I thought it best to let her cry it out but asked her to come to the couch and talk to me if she needed to. She just kept complaining and I finally had to tell her to stop. I asked her to be thankful for so much that she did have, and for the fact that I'm trying to be involved in what goes on at the school (I'm on the school site council which decides where the money goes in the school) and reminded her that I did not want to go myself but was trying to deal with that unselfishly as I was asking her to do as well.
On our way out the door she asked if she could bring what she wanted to listen to (the book on CD) with her. I was bothered by this because these friends of ours have three boys and one older girl, a year older than Princess. They homeschool, so this young lady does not get to do much with other girls her age. I asked her how she did not see that that would be rude to go to her friends and then proceed to sit in a corner and listen to something instead of blessing her friend with playtime. She said she really did not think of that. I tried to remember that she indeed sees life from a different perspective. She seemed earnest in this and I could not question her sincerity despite the obvious rudeness it presented to me. So, I accepted what she said and tried to explain how that would be insensitive to her friend.
I was running late by now. I dropped them off at my friends giving her a big hug outside before leaving and telling her that I loved her and I was trusting God to help us through these things. I told her I hoped she and her friend would enjoy the time. She was sulky but went on in.
I got up to the school only to find out that they had misprinted when the meeting was to be. It was not till next Tuesday. I wanted to rave to everyone about how hard I had worked to get myself there and what I'd been through with my daughter to get there as well. I took a big sigh and headed back out to my car. I drove to my friends house and she opened the door in surprise that I was back. I explained while Princess came down the hall (now, mind you, MAYBE 10 minutes has passed since I dropped them off) with a big grin on her face and said "but, I don't want to leave, I'm actually having fun!"
Something in myself just became overwhelmed with exhaustion. I smiled back and said, that I was glad and we would stay for about 15 minutes more. Inside I was not angry, not sad, not anything. I was just wondering how I was going to ride this roller coaster for seven plus more years.
That's all I'm going to vent out today. There is more but it may or may not be chatted on here.
I'm just seeking God and saying "show me how!". I know he is faithful but I feel weary. The other two are so easy going and I sometimes feel that I'm so worn and distracted from riding the roller coaster with one that I have to stop and say "oh, yeah, I'm your mommy too!" They can be up in the morning and everything is pleasant. Then Princess gets up and the whole tone of life changes. It bothers me that this happens. I ask her to be a peacemaker (her daddy has been teaching her that for so many hears) but instead she nit-picks at her siblings and always has some grievance about something. We have not been neglecting her heart on this either. We have been working on it for many years. We have taken her to the Word, and she certainly knows what's right. Yet, I don't want to always be on her and make her think that we don't love her or that she can't do anything right all the time. Yet, there are so many zillions of every day issues that there are few moments when things ARE going well for her. If she has a good day with everything going smooth for her things are great. As we all know, life does not work that way so there are so many moments of trial. I don't know how to get her to relax. I don't know how to get her to lighten up. I don't know how to get her to take things in stride. I don't know how to get her to see the good. I can tell her all these things till I'm blue in the face, and I have, but I cannot make her change. Only God can do that. I just feel overwhelmed with the HOW right now.


tricia said...

I will pray for you, Rick, and Princess. I think you are on the right track of praying, taking her to the word, and loving her. I know what helps me a lot when I start feeling bad is my blessing journal. It helps me see that even though I am going through a trial, God has blessed me.

Joy said...

Oh Goodness. I hear you and know this is really bothering you. My oldest tends to be a negative child too. She invisions scenarios in her head about the way others are going to act and how she is going to be treated.
She doesn't have a lot of friends whereas my little one has a revolving door of friends.
My husband is good at dealing with her irrational times. I get frustrated, he is able to logically walk her thru things. Sometimes I've just found that I have to nip it in the bud. If she starts spewing the negativity. Just tell her to zip it right away. We're not going to do that in this house.
She sounds like she has a lot of perfectionist tendencies. You may want to look for good information on how to raise a child that is a perfectionist.
Perfectionism I have learned is really a form of pride and it is a sin.
I really don't have answers for you, but I can sympathize with you in some of these issues.
I'll pray for you two.
♥ Joy

Joan said...

I'll be praying, too, Alicia! Hang in there!

Michelle said...

Hello, i just found your blog and wanted to say that i really sympathize with you! I obviously don't know anything about your daughter, except what you've just written, but i would agree that she sounds a bit like a perfectionist. I have a good friend who i've grown up with since childhood, and she is a perfectionist. She tends to have the same negativity that you described. It stems from the fact that she is absolutely TERRIFIED of not being able to do something "the best." She has many fears & worries about others liking her, her appearance, etc. I believe she figures that it's "safer" to be negative and to have negative expectations than it is to just go into something with an open heart.

(I hope you don't mind me sharing my insights btw...) Have you maybe considered having your daughter talk to a school counselor or someone at your church? Sometimes kids turn a deaf ear to their parents, but will be more receptive to hearing the same thing from another adult that they trust. I wish you luck and hope you can figure something out! A big part of it is that she is obviously hormonal and that in itself is so tough! :)