Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

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Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby manas » Sat Nov 12, 2011 10:46 am

When my (now 12-going-on-13 year old) was first born, my heart was officially melted. I had a baby daughter! And over the next nine to ten years I would say that the times I spent with her were precious. I had never loved any other human being as much (until the next one came along), and never would again.

But over the last year (or so, kind of gradually) she really has changed. Often it's like my dear daughter has kind of been subsumed by this mean bitchy person before me, being disdainful and rude to me often for either a trivial (or sometimes, no) reason at all, other than that I happen to be her dad. I promise you, I never regretted my life-path (having kids) before this last trying year. And the sad thing is, I still love both of my kids, even the currently nasty one, as much as I love myself. That's just what being a parent does to you.

I'm sorry for this but it makes me feel much sadness sometimes. Here I am, a Buddhist with more faith in the Teachings than I've ever had before, and yet I find my daughter's rudeness so, so hard to deal with, because honestly I just did not behave like that at her age. That rebellious and defiant spirit she got from her mother, I'd say. (Or from herself. Pah I dunno). It really isn't right to speak to or treat your parents with such disdain, at just 12-13 years of age...(I'm a bit old-fashioned, maybe? Am I 'not with the times?')

So while I have much love for her in my heart, I must say that if she treated me like she did today for the next six years, I might not last the distance. The monastery (a long way) down the road might have a new resident! (Just kidding!) But seriously, this really isn't much fun. Monastic life looks far, far preferable to this, I'm sorry to call it like it is. But I really did lose my shot at that a long time ago now; So, I'm staying the course, and raising this being (who has come into my care) to adulthood, with as much virtue and metta as I can muster.

Thanks for listening,

m. :anjali:
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Ben » Sat Nov 12, 2011 11:31 am

Hi Manasikara

At moments like this I am reminded of that saying by Charles Bukowski: Love is a mad dog from Hell.
If its any consolation, many of us have gone through what you are going through - albeit in different manifestations.
With myself, its my 16-year-old son.
This parenting gig can be very difficult.
But at least you have the Dhamma as your anchor.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Stephen K » Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:28 pm

This too will pass...

As a child I was a very good kid, but I had a troubled adolescence, which did cause problems to my family. Now all that has gone as if it never existed. So, yes things will change and come back to normal, you just have to be patient.

Teenagers are confused and troubled, they crave independence and seek acceptance. By their nature they are rebellious. Put yourself in her shoes. She needs compassion and understanding from you.


That's my take anyway.


May you and your daughter be happy! :smile:
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby manas » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:10 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Manasikara

At moments like this I am reminded of that saying by Charles Bukowski: Love is a mad dog from Hell.
If its any consolation, many of us have gone through what you are going through - albeit in different manifestations.
With myself, its my 16-year-old son.
This parenting gig can be very difficult.
But at least you have the Dhamma as your anchor.
kind regards,

Ben
I appreciate your reply, and understanding, Ben. It's funny that it can be looked at in a Dhammic way. Life keeps forcing me to let go, for my own well-being in fact! First I had to accept that 'gone are the days of close connectedness of when she was my sweet little girl'. There came this day where I just let go and accepted it, even celebrated it in the sense that, this is part of the journey of growing up - it had to happen.

This time however, I'm a bit scared within that, 'what, do I have to also accept that she might not be as nice a person as I thought, either?' If I ever needed to apply my newfound (albeit merely intellectual) understanding of anatta it is now. Forms are not-self...feelings are not-self...perceptions are not-self...volitional formations are not-self...consciousness is not-self. This contemplation, along with Dependent Coarising and the method of Satipatthana, would help me through the coming challenges. It does when I'm out on the street, for example. If some hoons yell at me as they drive past, and if I'm ready, I can direct awareness to any number of places to avoid anger from arising. One is to 'catch' the inner reaction of sadness before it proliferates too much, just feeling 'sadness' (I'm a sensitive person who despite not liking being insulted, have endured it quite alot this lifetime)...another is to recognize that those guys only yelled at me because of defilements, due to ignorance, and so I can defuse any anger that way, and actually have a bit of compassion in my heart, even for them who just yelled at me...but...when I am at home, and my daughter is 'testing' me for the tenth time (that day), pushing the boundaries, trying to see just what it takes for me to take away the internet, for example ('consequence 1), I ask myself 'why does she do it? Can't she see that I'm not a doormat? Why does she push me, over and over again? It's just tiring...' That's what I mean, Ben. It's a tiresome job. I really value peace of mind thesedays, I guess I have to be able to let go of always having that, too. But once again, thanks for listening, it sounds to me like you know what I'm talking about!

:anjali:
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby manas » Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:19 pm

Stefan wrote:This too will pass...

As a child I was a very good kid, but I had a troubled adolescence, which did cause problems to my family. Now all that has gone as if it never existed. So, yes things will change and come back to normal, you just have to be patient.

Teenagers are confused and troubled, they crave independence and seek acceptance. By their nature they are rebellious. Put yourself in her shoes. She needs compassion and understanding from you.


That's my take anyway.


May you and your daughter be happy! :smile:
Thanks for your input Stefan. I need to make sure that compassion is in my heart as I deal with her, even while I set and enforce clear boundaries of acceptable behaviour. (It certainly would not be very compassionate in the long run, if I just let her treat me badly and have no consequence, however!) And here is the challenge for me: to enforce the boundaries without aversion in the mind (as it's not a pleasant task), but rather with compassion in the mind. Thanks, I will try and remember that.

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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Zom » Sun Nov 13, 2011 4:58 pm

May be you should ask her such a direct question like: "What do you want?" ?
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby manas » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:49 pm

Zom wrote:May be you should ask her such a direct question like: "What do you want?" ?
Hi Zom,
that's a good idea. It isn't always easy to get information about what is going on in her mind, but when she does actually talk, I will make sure I'm paying close attention.

I was having one of those really bad days, when I wrote that above post. I guess other parents will easily relate, that there are bad days, but also good ones. I actually need more equanimity. Older, more experienced parents of teens etc are telling me that this turbulence might continue for quite a while, and so I might as well get used to it. I should also mention that despite my dismay at how the popular culture that glorifies fashion, sex, and triviality seems to be infiltrating my daughter's mind already (though not all her actions, thank goodness), that she is actually a really good kid, kind-hearted and caring about others, deep down. I think that the real 'storm' is inside her, she has hormones in her body etc, and yes I'm trying to be more patient and understanding of how uncomfortable this can be. Sometimes when she yells I just walk away, I'm getting sick of always telling her off about the yelling. Just walk away...And at the end of the day, she often comes up and says "sorry" for her behaviour, so maybe she really is struggling within herself, struggling with her own anger at present.

I actually have a good 'plan' for next weekend (I only have my kids every weekend). We are going on an adventure and getting out of the house, first thing Saturday morning.
Hehe! If they are both having fun there will be no time for minds stewing over things, or boiling over...

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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Dan74 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:20 am

I haven't gone through the "storms of puberty" with my kids yet, but this story is very familiar.

I guess it is good to remind yourself that this will pass. Many sweet girls seem to turn into little demons upon puberty while their minds adjust to the new chemical balance and other effects of the changes. I've heard some of my friends say how they felt sorry for being such b$%@&3 to their parents during during these years.

Best of luck with it, manasikara!
_/|\_
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Aloka » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:04 am

Hi manasikara,

As a schooolteacher, I can say that this is familiar behaviour when puberty kicks in even in the school environment sometimes. All I can suggest is try to be gentle and kind with her as well as maintaining some boundaries.

Sit down together in a quiet place in a non-confrontational way, then ask her in the gentle manner of a friend if there's anything troubling her. She may be having difficulties with lessons, with her best friend or lack of one, or with being bullied... there are all kinds of possibilities, including PMT if applicable.

Teenagers often need someone who will listen with sympathy and patience and who they can confide in - and they don't understand their fluctuating hormones and moods.

Give her your patience, understanding and loving kindness as a parent she can rely on if her mind is troubled .


with metta,


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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Zom » Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:50 am

Actually the problem is always in ignorance in such cases.

Perhaps the situation is that she can't understand the world and her position in the world. She tries to - but she is perplexed.
She is perplexed and may not knowing what is going on in. When she doesn't know what is going on and when she doesn't know the "right escape" from that "what is going on" - then there are all sorts of wrong escape which can be seen as crying, hysterics, depressions, harmful actions, ect.

Maybe, if she is clever enough to understand, you could try to explain her about "The All", about possible reactions to "The All" and about the right escape from "The All".

Since "The All" is the very base of any life experience, knowing this, she will manage to find a foothold in the dense jungles of everyday numerous experiences. She will know that the reality is not a perplexity - but that it is very simple: there is only eye-form, and certain reaction to them; only ear-sounds... ; nose-smells... ;tongue-tastes ...; body-tactile sensations... ; mind-mind objects and mental sensations and certain reaction to them. No more than that.

Maybe, if she only realize this much, the perplexity will fade away and together with it - all unwholesome actions too. Image
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby manas » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:12 am

Dan, Zom, and Aloka, I thank you also for your input. Aloka, she's not getting bullied at school, whatever challenges she has had there she seems to overcome with relative ease. It's a mix of things. Hormones...over-confidence (she feels more 'grown up' than she is, but is unaware of this reality)...her dislike of my daggyness...my dislike of the current teenage culture...yadayadayada...

It's all too complicated so I'm going to simplify it. My first idea is that we need to go out more and do more activites, bowling, indoor rock climbing, anything that will get us out of the house and into something interesting. That's my plan for the coming weekend. And not to expect too much from her. She is the way she is...I'm the way I am...we might not always like each other, but there is a deep and enduring love there, deep down...I'm going to keep that in mind next time she is yelling at me at the top of her lungs...or maybe, I will just 'know: loud and unpleasant sound'... :|

Plus I'm making a paved walking meditation track outside. When I need to get out of the house and just pace about a little, I will know where to go... :)

mettafully,
manas.
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:29 am

manasikara wrote:Dan, Zom, and Aloka, I thank you also for your input. Aloka, she's not getting bullied at school, whatever challenges she has had there she seems to overcome with relative ease. It's a mix of things. Hormones...over-confidence (she feels more 'grown up' than she is, but is unaware of this reality)...her dislike of my daggyness...my dislike of the current teenage culture...yadayadayada...

It's all too complicated so I'm going to simplify it. My first idea is that we need to go out more and do more activites, bowling, indoor rock climbing, anything that will get us out of the house and into something interesting. That's my plan for the coming weekend. And not to expect too much from her. She is the way she is...I'm the way I am...we might not always like each other, but there is a deep and enduring love there, deep down...I'm going to keep that in mind next time she is yelling at me at the top of her lungs...or maybe, I will just 'know: loud and unpleasant sound'... :|

Plus I'm making a paved walking meditation track outside. When I need to get out of the house and just pace about a little, I will know where to go... :)

mettafully,
manas.


Way to go, Manasikara!
My recommendation would be something more physical. There's a big archery club in Moorabbin and if memory serves me well they run a 'come and try' session for newbies every Saturday morning. And its something you could both do together. Its fun, you get to learn a skill and you can see your results almost immediately. Also on those public come and try sessions you'll have more advanced archers practicing on the same field so its also good to see where you can take the sport if you stick at it. Apart from that - 10-pin bowling, indoor rock-climbing, cycling, orienteering, geocaching. Its all good. At 12/13 your daughter might also be interested in learning how to ride a horse - though I warn you it could turn into a mighty expensive passtime..
All the best,

Ben
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Dan74 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:08 am

Is that the one opposite Waves Leasure Centre, Ben?

We've seen them practicing a few times we came with the kids.

Good advice to do something physical like this together. Great for bonding and for kids in general.
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:25 am

Hi Dan,
Yes, that is the one:
http://www.whitepages.com.au/busSearch. ... rabbin+VIC

If you are interested in going - best to call first and see what they're offering in the way of beginners sessions and courses. The information I have is a few years old.
Also - you don't need your own equipment as you can hire what you need at the club.
kind regards

Ben
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby santa100 » Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:06 pm

Manasikara wrote:
Sometimes when she yells I just walk away, I'm getting sick of always telling her off about the yelling. Just walk away...


Beside the good plan about outdoor activities, make sure the next time she does this to you, be very firm and clear to her that this behavior is absolutely un-acceptable and will not be tolerated. Everytime you walk away from this, you virtually help her re-inforce a very negative habit. And when somethings' became a habit, it'd be very difficult to fix it later on. Use whatever appropriate disciplinary actions to make sure she's learned her lesson. A tough dad and a compassionate dad dont' have to be mutually exclusive. She might not appreciate it now, but later on in life, the disciplines you taught her will be invaluable to her adulthood life, whether graduating from college, finding a job, getting married, dealing with other people, etc..There're countless instances about young adults who're living messed-up adult life just because their parents spoiled them when they were kids. Who do you think companies would hire between 2 college graduates: a spoiled brat or a nice decent one?
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby manas » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:07 pm

santa100 wrote:
Manasikara wrote:
Sometimes when she yells I just walk away, I'm getting sick of always telling her off about the yelling. Just walk away...


Beside the good plan about outdoor activities, make sure the next time she does this to you, be very firm and clear to her that this behavior is absolutely un-acceptable and will not be tolerated. Everytime you walk away from this, you virtually help her re-inforce a very negative habit. And when somethings' became a habit, it'd be very difficult to fix it later on. Use whatever appropriate disciplinary actions to make sure she's learned her lesson. A tough dad and a compassionate dad dont' have to be mutually exclusive. She might not appreciate it now, but later on in life, the disciplines you taught her will be invaluable to her adulthood life, whether graduating from college, finding a job, getting married, dealing with other people, etc..There're countless instances about young adults who're living messed-up adult life just because their parents spoiled them when they were kids. Who do you think companies would hire between 2 college graduates: a spoiled brat or a nice decent one?
Hi santa,
of course I have boundaries. She knows what they are...if she calls me a bad name, she loses the internet for a whole day, for example (and for her age group, that's, like, 'ouch!'), and I actually follow through on that, too...what I meant about sometimes just walking away, is when we just keep arguing and it's getting a bit ego-based, in the sense that it's a power struggle between me (inwardly) wishing she was the girl she once was, and her wishing I would not be so old-fashioned and irritating. That's where I should just let her have the last word and drop it...but certainly not if any of my strict rules have been broken, I certainly do not let her get away with those. I was a bit vague about just 'walking off', I did not mean 'let her get away with verbal abuse', no way...

I appreciate everyone's input but I really feel this has progressed quite far enough...I've got some great advices from all of you, thank you...but I'm also realizing that just venting all that I did that day, by writing my initial post in frustration, was very therapeutic, but that emotion passed long ago...it's a different world now, I'm moving on...

Thank you all

:anjali: .
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Re: Advice needed for weathering the storms of puberty

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:44 am

Dear members,

manasikara wrote:I appreciate everyone's input but I really feel this has progressed quite far enough...


Out of respect for manasikara's wishes I will now close this thread.
Wishing you, manasikara, and your daughter the very best.
kind regards,

Ben
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