What We Don’t Do

inner childMy husband and I were at my Stepdaughters therapists office today, discussing her well being and what  actions need to be taken for her future and how we can find a way for her to become as she put it: An Independent Functioning Adult.

Love that by the way.

It was great to be able to express our frustrations and then have someone tell us what it all meant.  Even though we know what the issues are, we are so far away from them as parents and adults that we don’t always allow ourselves to see their side of it, and of course they really don’t have the tools at that age to be able to see our side of it.  Sometimes it is hard to know exactly what to do when all you want to do is wring their neck because they are not doing what you have asked them to do for the fifth time.

You work so hard to keep your family afloat, and the therapist’s job is to work hard and tell the child/teen that what they are feeling is normal and perhaps they could find a better way of getting their needs met.  And then in this case to help us find a way to do things that would benefit and be helpful for them.

I wish I had had that luxury: to be able to go into someone’s office complain about what I wasn’t getting  from my parents, to then have them go and talk to them and for her/him to say in a gentle way that perhaps they needed to pay more attention to me, and that perhaps the reason that I was leaving home at the age of sixteen and made the decision to go to Boarding School at eleven, (yes it was my decision!) was because I wanted them to notice me.

My husband and I grew up pretty quick suffice to say, we didn’t have guidance or therapists to help us through the journey of our life, we had to just go out there and do it. A lot of people would say that it was a good thing, because we were forced into independence at a very early age, we did not have the luxury of being guided or our parents were not told until the end of the semester/term that we had failed or not achieved what we were capable of achieving.  Now you have emails every day of what your child has or has not done.  It’s kind of great but also exhausting to know every single detail.

My husband and I have had a hard journey mostly because we both suffer from low self-esteem, perhaps because we had so little guidance, but we have been adults for so long now that it seems as if our childhood is a distant memory. It is hard to be an adult when your childhood was short-lived because you needed to grow up so much faster. Both of us have wonderful parents but they are from a different generation.  Therapy was for the mentally ill in those days or for children with severe issues.

Now it is something children/teens boast about, it is not unusual for a child to be in therapy especially if they are from a divorced family. It is kind of an out of body experience when you are discussing your child with someone, when the child in yourself is still not healed or heard, but you know in your heart that you would not want your own child to feel lost or unable to be in the world as an Independent Functioning Adult.

I am all for therapy and perhaps we will spend our whole lives trying to be those Independent Functioning Adults for our children as well as ourselves.

  1. Geneva ChowGeneva Chow10-06-2012

    Someone very wise once said that the problem with children who grow up early is that they don’t grow up at all. As one of those children, I second that emotion! Being independent so young makes child warriors who seem like competent adults, but feel on the verge of collapse all the time. At the same time, I don’t think it helps children to be allowed to remain children until they’re, say, 30. I’ve known a few of those too, and I’d saying being dependent into adulthood makes flaccid adults who seem lazy or entitled and feel powerless all the time. Given a choice, I’ll take the former category…but I suppose the therapist is a bid to find a better solution.

  2. TiggyTiggy10-07-2012

    Independent Functioning Adult can be such a facade. I think those who have left the nest early due to difficulties with parents learn to build that suit of armor as a defense, but, without nourishing, the roots of it never grow properly and lucky is the adult (at whatever age) who learns to turn inwards and take proper care of the child inside that did not grow in a healthy fashion. Otherwise cracks keep having to be filled in that facade and maintenance becomes an exhausting and ever more difficult task.
    How fortunate that your stepdaughter will agree to go to a therapist. I hope that she will use the time wisely and come to terms in some way so that she can build her supporting structure and not need the facade.

  3. tatyana yassukovichtatyana yassukovich04-18-2013

    thank you for this.

Leave a Reply