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Unwanted Change = Angry Teen

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I’m not sure which is worse…screaming or silence.  Both are equally punishing, but at least the former tends to be short-lived; the latter can go on forever…  The anger of a teenager is a force unto itself…

I’m not sure which is harder…when our children are young and totally dependent upon us, or when they are on the verge of adulthood and declaring their independence…

Once they do, then what?  Are parents allowed to do the same?

Riley (not his real name) is a good friend of Grace’s; he graduated in June with Brian’s class.  In early August, he moved into an apartment with several roommates, preparing for the start of college.  Shortly after Riley was settled, without warning, his father announced his intent to leave their family home.  Last week, Riley’s classes began; this week, his dad is moving out of state.

Needless to say, this young man is boiling over with hurt, anger and guilt.  The questions spew out of him with no possibility of satisfaction; what could his friends possibly know?  Riley refuses to speak to the one person who has the answers, openly declaring he is finished with his father forever…

My heart aches for all of them…change is not easy to take.  And yet every additional day I live, I’m convinced that change is the only certainty in our lives.

Grace went to hang out with Riley the other night, offering her support and carefully suggesting he not be so hasty in cutting his dad out of his life.  She told him how all of us were on good terms with Brian when his accident happened, so our burden wasn’t made even heavier.  She also reminded him you never know if the words you exchange could be your last, and how she wishes her own with her brother had been more meaningful…

I am very proud of her effort to encourage her friend…  It also started a deeper conversation within our family…  Kids want and expect their parents to stay the same, to maintain the home base, their safe place to return to.  When we change unexpectedly, they lose their bearings; their security blanket has been yanked away from them.  Learning to accept John and me in our permanently altered condition has been one of the more difficult challenges our girls have faced; the fact we cannot help it has made it slightly easier.  If either felt we were responsible for the chaos and pain present in our lives today, I’m sure their reaction would be quite similar to Riley’s. 

We can only speculate why this man is walking away from nearly three decades of marriage; it is none of our business nor is it our place to judge.  But it brought up another point…does he owe it to his son to stay there if he is unhappy?  When does he have the right to live for himself again, if ever?  As much as our children want the freedom to live their own lives, the courtesy doesn’t seem to extend back in our direction.  Even at college age, everything is still all about them, at least when it comes to their parents being together…

While Riley certainly has the right to feel what he is feeling, I hope he eventually decides to re-open the lines of communication with his dad.  Before it’s too late.  Tomorrow is promised to no one…

Wishing you many blessings and hope…tg

Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays.  -- Jen, site administrator    

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