Saturday, July 17, 2010

Am I Crazy, or Are They?

I consider myself to be a pretty laid-back person--a go-with-the-flow, non-argumentative, don't-worry-be-happy person. However, until recently, I had never encountered the type of people I am dealing with now on a daily basis . . . pre-teens!

My oldest two children (especially my 12-year-old) challenges me daily. Nothing is ever his fault and he constantly tortures his younger siblings. I, of course know nothing about anything, according to him, and get this. . . he yells that I over-react!

Me--calm Mom--over-reacting. I feel as if I am losing control. I feel as if I am going crazy. Where is SuperNanny when I need her?

Two years ago while my children were all still cute and thought that I was the best mom in the world, their school invited Dr. Michael Bradley to come speak to parents. Dr. Bradley is an expert in adolescent behavior. After the event he signed copies of his book, Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind. The book has been collecting dust on my bookshelf for the past two years. This past week I plucked it off of the shelf and began reading it.

The following story in the beginning of the book has given me a little clarity and hope, and is helping me restore what little sanity I have left:

Michael's mom sat in my office sobbing, repeatedly attempting to reason with her raging and verbally vicious adolescent son. After watching his endless bullying and her tormented begging for too long, I sent him out of the room, turned to her and said, "Why are you talking to him like he makes sense?" "What do you mean?" she sobbed. I gave her the same shrugging "Duh" gesture her son had just used a dozen times and I almost yelled, "He's nuts! You can't talk to crazy people like they make sense."

Her eyes and mouth flew open, astonished at my insensitivity. Slowly her wrenching sobs transformed into chuckling, softly at first, then building to a crescendo of raucous laughter that rang off the walls. "Oh God," she howled, "How I needed to laugh like that! It feels wonderful. You're right. Michael is nuts. And I'm nuts to sit here and talk with him like that."

Every time I read that, it reminds me that maybe I'm not as crazy as I think I am. Maybe they are!
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