If you're the parent of kids and teenagers who love to make you angry, our expert parenting author, therapist, and mother will share 2 stories from her parenting workshop. Katherine Gordy Levine is the author of When Good Kids Do Bad Things. Here's an excerpt from her book:
It was frigid outside, but the atmosphere in my office was steaming hot. This was another Gotcha Night at Parent Tactics, parenting workshop I created.
How This Teenager Trapped His Parent
"I don't know if I can take it," shouted Tom, a burly man who had always reminded me before of the young John Wayne, slow to anger, riding hard on his emotions. Recently granted custody of his thirteen year-old son, he soon found himself locked head to head, horn to horn, in a Gotcha War. He was, as George Bush likes to say, about to go ballistic.
“Last night was typical. We were going to go to a movie. Mark came in from sledding with his clothes all wet and I told him to change. He mumbled that he didn’t have any clean clothes. We went to his room and there was plenty of clean stuff, but he didn’t like any of it. Two pairs of pants and three shirts were brand-new. Mark picked them out himself two weeks ago, but now he can’t stand them.
“I got angry. He refused to change; I refused to let him go to movies. What was supposed to be a good family time became just another dammed run-in. It drives me crazy. I pride myself on being in control of myself, but when I spend any time with my son, I’m ready to kill. He loves to make me angry.”
Parents Understood the Gotcha Wars
Everyone else nodded sympathetically. They were all fighting Gotcha Wars at home. Anne, the willowy blond mother of twelve-year-old twins, complained about the “nothing-to-eat” song she heard every day.
How This Parent Felt Trapped by Her Kids
“It happens as soon as I come in from shopping. I’ve caved in to all of their junk food fantasies. There’s food everywhere!
“But it never fails. One of my kids slouches into the kitchen, opens the refrigerator door,
and moans, “There’s nothing to eat." And like a fool, I list the contents of all the kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, the storage cellar, the cookie jar.
I’ll even mention the hidden stash of candy. Finally, when I’ve given up all hope of finding anything that might pull him back from the brink of starvation, his face lights up with a little smirk and I know he’s won again.”
“Yes,” chimed in Joan, the normally cheerful mother of three teenagers, “I know that smile of victory and I hate it. At our house…"
To find out Joan’s story and the author's solutions to your Gotcha Wars go to: When Good Kids Do Bad Things: A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers
Let's give THANKS to Katherine Gordy Levine for allowing us to share an excerpt from her excellent book.
I like how Anne recognized how her kids pulled her into the Gotcha Wars. It's so easy to get trapped when you're trying to be helpful. What would you do to avoid being pulled in?
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Jean Tracy, MSS
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