Seeking self-worth in all the wrong places

Where do you derive your value from? Your self-worth?

From other people? In the form of praise? Acceptance? Or love?

Or from an internal sense of a job well done? Maybe from an accomplished task?

From a paycheck?

Please don’t say from kids. Especially not teenagers. πŸ˜”

I won’t go there (right now). I’m doing what I can to the best of my ability, sometimes on my own, sometimes with the co-parent. Sometimes I yell at the kids that they didn’t come with an instruction manual, but I digress. 😐

All the stress and hurtful lingo in the past weeks has me thinking. In actual fact, I cried to a friend in Germany over email who has a firm(ish) grip on these things. Or at least she has somewhere to go to seek truth when it happens to her.

She has six kids so she knows a thing or two about parenting teens.

She is more grounded than me.

She is more secure in her worldview than me.

She has faith, and is the least hypocritical person I know.

My friend stays true to her course. I admire that about her.

She also helps me back onto the right path when I cry to her. (I cry to her a lot.) She explains things I don’t have a clear understanding of, in a non-judgemental, straight-forward method. It doesn’t matter that we don’t share the same worldview. We respect each other and illustrate with similar examples. I can ask her anything, even topics that often remain taboo between friends; about religion, politics, sex, relationships or anything in between.

Sharing our views from different perspectives has given us both insights to possibilities we hadn’t considered, at times.

But this doesn’t prevent me from continuously crying to the internet with my incessantly obnoxious questions about teenagers and parenting and self-worth and midlife invisibility all that asininity.

You’re welcome. πŸ˜‰

Why does it feel like I am such a screw-up when it comes to parenting tweens and teens? And why do I let this stuff affect my self-esteem and self-worth?

I don’t particularly like myself when I look in the mirror these days. Despite all the stupid selfies I post here. That, in itself, is a whole other topic I won’t bore you to death with at the moment, but essentially it was an exercise I attempted at self-love and positivity and bla bla blah.

I need to look inward. I know that too.

Before you tell me not to take things so personally or not to be so hard on myself (you know who you are – but thank you for caring), I do instinctively know I’m not (that much) of a screw-up. I don’t even really take their ridiculous I hate you’s personally (most of the time).

Although I’d be lying if I told you it hasn’t affected me in the past weeks, especially when we seem to be in this continuous, repetitive, lashing-out-at-everyone-all-the-time loop. It’s the same arguments, the same battles, over and over again.

It’s the stereo-typical, adolescent I’m right and you’re annoying power-struggle that teens seem to want to engage in with their parents.

I KNOW THIS. Why do I let them suck me in?

They are unformed, hormonal young humans growing and adjusting and trying and doing and expecting everything and still, they push back when a slight comment about responsibly or accountability is mentioned.

They argue. They want to, at all cost, win the battle. Know better. Do less. Much less.

And I enforce boundaries, rules, expectations…To no avail.

It’s not rocket science. Is it?

There are times when we all respect each other and live in harmony. It has happened, it will happen again.

Right now is not that time.

It’s been a year of transition, since school started in September. I mean, grade 9 for one (high school), and middle school for the other.

I knew it would be hard. 😢

Still…

I fail to understand how taking the trainer’s first aid kit inside a knapsack from the car in to the odorous dressing room by himself along with his equipment bag can cause a teenager to hurl insulting phrases in my direction. I stopped right in front of the door so he wouldn’t have to walk so far. I needed to be somewhere and left him to it. He wanted help carrying stuff.

“You can handle it, put the pack on your back,” I encouraged him. “You’ve done it before.”

Where did the hostility come from? How did this gentle, introspective boy become so sullen and unhelpful at the slightest mention of going above and beyond? Don’t even get me started about the morning routine…

I also fail to understand that asking a tween to help me wash a few errand dishes by hand while I tended to a heavily bleeding cut on my finger can cause her to insult me along with crying at how unfair it is to have such a horrible mom who makes her do dishes when she’s clearly doing homework (on her instragram account).

I quietly cleaned the blood off the floor and kitchen counter while wondering how such a self-absorbed attitude was born into an otherwise helpful, empathetic child. Normally, she’s the one who doctors me up when I have one of my numerous accidents involving knives…

Sigh.

The point is, for several weeks now, I have heard nothing but negativity coming from my spawn. I’m starting to feel the weight of their hostility. It’s starting to weigh on me. And I’m starting to feel defensive.

Do you understand what I’m saying?

I’m loosing sight of what’s important. I’m allowing other people, young and immature people, to determine, define, my value. I’m letting them make me second guess myself, my decisions, my outlook on things.

I let a kid tell me that the top I wore was making me look ‘a little fat’. I tossed the top and stopped eating carbs. Never mind I was pms-ing at the time…

I mean, what is this?

I need a vacation from family.

So anyway, this post got a bit away from me. I was actually planning on talking about something else, something relating back to my friend in Germany and her worldview, and how that helps her stay grounded, but I’m out of steam now.

Maybe next time.

Thank you for reading. It’s Friday…doesn’t mean much to me at the moment, since I got my days confused and missed a kid practice as a result (we made it, but ugh)…but for most people, Friday is a cause for celebration.

Happy Friday!

52 thoughts on “Seeking self-worth in all the wrong places

  1. Nothin’ but sympathy here. The teen years are so hard in all the ways. I would love to read some of your friend’s advice if you get around to blogging about it – in the meantime, sending hugs xo.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really felt for you when I read this blog. Many times, I’ve sat behind my bedroom door just to get away from the hurtful words. It’s very difficult to ignore it but you must. Maybe it’s different with girls but my daughter and I talk daily about how she is feeling and try to make sense of it, and the only bit of comfort I can give you right now is that she agrees that the words she is saying and the way she is acting at the time, just isn’t her. I’ve read and listened to so many books on bringing up teenagers and they all say the same thing – not to react to anything and to keep calm. It will pass, but you must look after yourself in the meantime. It’s very hard though and I’m pleased that you have so many caring readers to support you :-). I have so much material written down that I will blog about one day. Take care

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WP has a limit of space available on free blog sites. If you use a lot of pictures it fills up quicker. I’ve been blogging for years on my free site with pictures on about 20% of my posts and I still have space. But that’s what it means. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This post took me back a few years. I remember crying because of some of the things my kids said to me. Even the nicest kids seem to go through this stage. The only comfort I can offer is that it will pass and they will appreciate you again. All the best in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have heard some horrible backtalk from the at risk teenagers I work with part time after I patiently help them with their writing skills. I pretend I am fishing waiting to reel in the shark and then I try to let it flow gently off my back. The new generation is different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did it! I am so fxxxxn proud of myself! It’s a blog post in itself… all the “I can never do this technical shhht.” I practiced what I would tell my teenagers. “You are learning… you got this!” This is my year to just do things bit by bit and remember that mistakes is part of learning!!!! Yay!!! (Thanks for pointing the link issue out. Who knows how many more folk I’ll meet now. Grateful!!!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a tough one Claudette. I find kids are spoiled these days. Teenagers have always rebelled to an extent, some worse than others, but overall we would never have been rude to our parents – it just wasn’t acceptable. But society as a whole has changed, it’s a whole different world. Maybe a weekend away would make them appreciate you more? Ideally a whole week away would be good, but even a weekend. Pricey I know, but might be worth it for your sanity.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. That would be good. I’m wondering what’s in it now!? Books I hope. I always wanted to take a reading sabbatical somewhere…….preferably someplace with a beach.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. There is an instructional manual for raising teenagers, it is called The Art of War
    by Sun Tzu. Self worth is an illusion because we never feel like we are good enough. If you think you ARE good enough, just tune into Oprah and find out why you do not measure up. If you can go to bed knowing you did your best, and your best did not involve choking the living shit out of some poor bastard that REALLY needed choking, then you had a GREAT day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A. I was never and still am not an Oprah fan. Too cultish for me. πŸ™‚
      B. Chocking someone who really deserves it would feel like catharsis and would probably happen on a daily basis (just not with the wayward spawn). πŸ™‚

      Thank you. I get what you’re saying. I need my head screwed on right by someone like you occasionally.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. FWIW, all parents of tweens and teens occasionally (or often?) feel like screw-ups and question their own self-worth. Kids at that age are naturally sullen and hostile, but like all things, this too shall pass.

    Or maybe not. Some of them just grow up to be assholes, lol. But not most!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m hoping for a specific outcome. πŸ™‚ My partner has two siblings who went through quite a lot of really shitty stuff during their teen years and I think he’s occasionally thinking he doesn’t want his kids to go down the same path…The circumstances are very different, of course, but I understand that there’s always risk. You worry about the kids no matter how good or bad a parent you think you are.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We fight with our kids (all three are teenagers now) all the time. I guess, looking at it from their perspective, they want wings to fly, but their entire existence is tied to us – the roof over their head, their food, their transport, and so on. And boy do they fling shit at us (probably out of frustration) because of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. See, that’s a good way of describing it. They are tied to us for not just the basic necessities, but all the extras too (rep sports, social life, etc)…so yes, they don’t know any different, that it’s a privilege and all that, but when we try to tell them how lucky they are they just roll their eyes or pick a fight BECAUSE they don’t know any different.

      It’s a hard path to navigate…especially if you, the parent, comes from a less privileged background.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What we went through with OC was different, but it was so frickin’ hard. I spent so much time feeling like such a crap parent, hearing I was such a crap parent from people that should have never said that kind of thing. It can eat you alive. We had to learn that there is a point where you just have to quit doing the fighting for them (and that includes fighting to get them to do the things they are supposed to) and just let them fail and deal with the fall out. We were actually told this by the school counselors. It is great advice and I can see how it works with a lot of kids, but… with kids like OC, it didn’t do a thing for him but confirm he could do nothing and still get through life. The teenage years are some of the most difficult for a parent to go through, not matter how mild or over the top your teen may be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The letting things fall down part is soo hard, not because I don’t want to watch the kid go through things, but because often, falling down means it impacts my life directly in a negative way. It does go back to “pick your battles”, like some people have suggested:.

      I’m hoping the phase will pass soon. Maybe with the weather changing in the next months?

      Ugh.

      Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I was a pretty chilled easy going teenager….. HOWEVER my younger brother was the rebel, his sharp tongue often reducing my mother to tears, but they get on fine these days and he even admits he thought he knew it all. I’d suggest age 16 is when family life became a little more tranquil.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. πŸ˜€ My mother (when prompted) reminds me I was master of the ‘cold shoulder’…….. I can’t remember but apparently I went 7 days without talking to her, …. begs the question lol which does a mum prefer, not being spoken to or WW3 (Err is that a choice?)

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I struggled with this a lot, too. I’m just now over the hump kind of. They get to me, but not in a make me crazy way. They did for a few years, tho. You are not alone. I am going to write a blog post tonight about what has saved my bacon with teens. Check in if you feel like.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Test it yourself. I should be able to click on you on this comment and it should go to your active blog.

        It may be in settings or under “my blogs” where you adjust primary, secondary blogs.

        I’m not sure…

        Like

  12. I’ve always wondered why no one tells you that all the stuff you deal with when they’re in the toddler stage come back even worse when they hit the teen years?? Plus they are more verbal and as you say, HORMONAL as well. It’s not a good mix in any way.
    You are a GREAT mom Claudette. Hang in there and when it gets bad, just walk away for a time. They will survive and you will send a message (eventually) that they cannot treat you badly. Being a mom does not require you to put up with insults and verbal nastiness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? The toddler years are really coming back to me, I’m remembering specifics. It was so much simpler then (even though we didn’t see it when we were IN it) because all they needed some hugs and kisses and a snuggle or a snack and then it was over (for 15 minutes) till the next meltdown happened. lol

      I know it’s a phase. I just struggled a lot lately. And their dad is more busy than usual and less in tune with all the drama (which sometimes is actually better that way) but it’s added another dynamic. I feel like I have 3 kids sometimes…

      Thank you Deb. I appreciate your comments more than I can say. Happy Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pick your battles. That’s the biggest thing with teens…which things are you most adamant about? If your list goes beyond five things, start tossing them. You have to let teens start having control over their lives. Start with that, and the rest will come along. And you should use your writing as a sounding board…that’s a healthy way to deal with emotions…get them out…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the pick your battles thing is crucial. I’m learning the hard way here…(and I did it with the girl yesterday, she is not on my current list of battles to fight. But her time will come). πŸ˜›

      Thank you. I’ll pass through the phase with friends like you just fine. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.