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2 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom said:

I think our upbringing really affects our own standards.  I was determined never to have that level of control ruin my family relationships, and since my husband grew up in a moderately cluttered house, we just went by his standards.  

Yeah, I do think we're all responding to our upbringing. So, personally, I hated the power struggles, but I also hated being launched into the world without having good habits or knowing how to do basic stuff like cook. And that's what I'm responding to. 

I have to say, right now, homeschooling is MUCH more of a power struggle than cleaning. That's something we've been trying really hard to work on. Maybe that'll change as the kids grow older, but I find things that require effort and thought and feedback much more challenging than basic stuff like picking up the house together. 

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How would I handle it? Most of your kids have executive functioning issues. (Half of mine do too, so I am very much living this also.) Figure out what works for your kid. I have one kid who

I know that this is not what you want to hear, but it's the only thing that I can suggest. You have to provide the executive function that she lacks. I know it stinks. But there it is. So, I

Meant to add: My ds sounds similar to your dd, but we don't have a cat. He drops his clothes in the middle of the floor. I started putting a laundry basket right in that spot and most of the time

22 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom said:

I grew up with a mom with pretty strong generalized anxiety. (my dad has pretty bad anxiety too, but it manifests more with his own rituals and rules whereas my mom's was pretty strictly about the house). 

I’m old, so we didn’t understand back when I was a kid that anxiety was what our parents were dealing with. They just seemed like impatient perfectionists. My sister can do a pretty good impression of my dad yelling at us when he was driving because a can or bottle was rolling around on the floor. With my 2021 eyes, I can recognize that his anxiety was ramped up with driving in traffic, but no one I knew was calling it that then. 

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6 hours ago, Scarlett said:

It has been said repeatedly but I will say it again.  Because some parents really really want their home neat and clean.  

I really want a ton of stuff in life I’m maybe never gonna get, much less get it when or how I want it. Doesn’t mean anyone doesn’t respect me.

ETA: and I do make my kids clean their rooms and do chores. Because I do think they need to learn how to live peaceably with other people, the value of bringing physical order in their lives can be a small therapy and certainly a helpful coping mechanism for those who struggle with EF.  But I never ever make it about character unless they refuse my minimal standards. Having a problem is not a character issue. Refusing to address a problem is. And they never have to handle their problems on their own. Jesus didn’t carry His cross alone. Humans aren’t meant to either. 

The majority of messy teen rooms do not end up filthy hell holes for those adults. My room was a “pig sty” as a teen.  My home is not at all. Similar for my messy teens as they’ve moved out. Dh on the other hand lived in a home where his mom demanded it be spotless and perfectly ordered right down to all the vacuum marks had to face the same direction. Just this morning I told dh if he wanted his laundry done, he knows where to put it. And he is driving a son insane bc during the day he takes over son’s room (it’s the most remote from noise in the house) for work and now it smells like pickles and ranch dressing. 

Edited by Murphy101
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41 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

One day, she would feel overwhelmed, and out of the blue rage at me

One day, my mom got lost on the freeway going to the DVM and by the time she got there, it was too late to do what she needed to get done there then she had to come home in horrible traffic. She was a wreck when she walked in the door, which I think is pretty understandable. 
 

My 2.5 year old was happily playing in her toy kitchen when my mom came in, and my mom started yelling at her about picking up her fake food and pots and pans. My kid hadn’t been asked to pick up, she wasn’t doing anything wrong at all except existing in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was the moment when I decided that my mom would not have access to my kids. It is just so damaging to allow kids to be treated that way. 

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31 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I really want a ton of stuff in life I’m maybe never gonna get, much less get it when or how I want it. Doesn’t mean anyone doesn’t respect me.

ETA: and I do make my kids clean their rooms and do chores. Because I do think they need to learn how to live peaceably with other people, the value of bringing physical order in their lives can be a small therapy and certainly a helpful coping mechanism for those who struggle with EF.  But I never ever make it about character unless they refuse my minimal standards. Having a problem is not a character issue. Refusing to address a problem is. And they never have to handle their problems on their own. Jesus didn’t carry His cross alone. Humans aren’t meant to either. 

The majority of messy teen rooms do not end up filthy hell holes for those adults. My room was a “pig sty” as a teen.  My home is not at all. Similar for my messy teens as they’ve moved out. Dh on the other hand lived in a home where his mom demanded it be spotless and perfectly ordered right down to all the vacuum marks had to face the same direction. Just this morning I told dh if he wanted his laundry done, he knows where to put it. And he is driving a son insane bc during the day he takes over son’s room (it’s the most remote from noise in the house) for work and now it smells like pickles and ranch dressing. 

This is interesting. I think what made it so awful for me growing up was the correlation between 'mess' ( I was not even that messy - I certainly met minimum standards) and having a mother link that with character (slob, disrespectful etc) AND no sense of anyone coming alongside.

I'll never agree it's ok to describe a teen as a slob who thinks she's above picking up, regardless of parental anxiety, desires or frustrations. 

If it's EF, it's not character.

If it's not EF, it's something else, and even if you secretly believe it's because your child is a disrespectful slob, what's to be gained for the relationship from framing it that way?

 

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7 hours ago, Murphy101 said:

I really want a ton of stuff in life I’m maybe never gonna get, much less get it when or how I want it. Doesn’t mean anyone doesn’t respect me.

ETA: and I do make my kids clean their rooms and do chores. Because I do think they need to learn how to live peaceably with other people, the value of bringing physical order in their lives can be a small therapy and certainly a helpful coping mechanism for those who struggle with EF.  But I never ever make it about character unless they refuse my minimal standards. Having a problem is not a character issue. Refusing to address a problem is. And they never have to handle their problems on their own. Jesus didn’t carry His cross alone. Humans aren’t meant to either. 

 

The bolded is where I see a lack of respect and it is what I was talking about. If my kid knows a tidy and clean room is important to me and he for whatever reason doesn’t keep even a somewhat tidy or clean room....then I consider that a lack of respect.  
 

 

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8 hours ago, Amy Gen said:

One day, my mom got lost on the freeway going to the DVM and by the time she got there, it was too late to do what she needed to get done there then she had to come home in horrible traffic. She was a wreck when she walked in the door, which I think is pretty understandable. 
 

My 2.5 year old was happily playing in her toy kitchen when my mom came in, and my mom started yelling at her about picking up her fake food and pots and pans. My kid hadn’t been asked to pick up, she wasn’t doing anything wrong at all except existing in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was the moment when I decided that my mom would not have access to my kids. It is just so damaging to allow kids to be treated that way. 

I've never let my mom to have access to my kids, really, unless I'm there. But we're low contact and she tries VERY hard when my kids are around, because she's aware she isn't going to be allowed to talk to anyone if she isn't on her best behavior. She doesn't feel the comfort with my kids that would make her misbehave 😉 . 

On the other hand, I watch her scream her head off at my little sister for all of her childhood, and it was very unpleasant. As you say, a lot of the times, my sister's "crime" was being a child and existing in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was why I always felt so protective of my little sister and why I'd have been absolutely willing to have her live with us at any moment in time, not that anyone was going to let me. 

 

7 hours ago, Melissa Louise said:

If it's not EF, it's something else, and even if you secretly believe it's because your child is a disrespectful slob, what's to be gained for the relationship from framing it that way?

Nothing. There's nothing to be gained to the relationship by framing it that way, but people get frustrated. At least I do -- annoying situations that that I can't change don't always have me reaching for the most appropriate or nice adjectives. 

I'm sure someone could psychoanalyze me and link to this to the VERY limited amount of control I had as a kid and a teen, but ultimately, I don't see any point. I understand that these are not good words to use when talking to my kids. I try hard to make our conversations about their behaviors and not their characters, because I found that approach damaging as a teen. But I don't think I'd want people to make me feel even worse for using the wrong words when I rant on a chat board. I don't think it does a thing to make the relationship better and doesn't help anyone. 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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10 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

If my kid knows a tidy and clean room is important to me and he for whatever reason doesn’t keep even a somewhat tidy or clean room....then I consider that a lack of respect. 

I find it weird to make this about respect. That is taking something personally that may not have anything to do with you at all.

 

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People parent in different ways, sure. When you're evaluating different kinds of advice for parenting teens, I would also keep an eye on the outcome: who has a great relationship with their adult children? I'd borrow suggestions from folks who are at least on speaking terms with their offspring.

Edited by regentrude
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11 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

The bolded is where I see a lack of respect and it is what I was talking about. If my kid knows a tidy and clean room is important to me and he for whatever reason doesn’t keep even a somewhat tidy or clean room....then I consider that a lack of respect.  

I think you're both right that it's not a respectful behavior and have also gotten into a power struggle loop where there's probably so much resistance that there's no point thinking about it this way.

At this point, he's probably not cleaning his room mostly because he feels resistant 😛 . I remember having this feeling about my mom's requests to clean my room -- they felt like they were about her and not about me, and I felt JUDGED for not cleaning a room, and I didn't feel any incentive to cooperate. I cleaned up much better when I moved out. 

I'd probably give this topic a break for a few weeks to deescalate, then I'd try to have a friendly conversation with him about how you could fix this problem and whether he'd be interested in maintaining things in a way that would feel more tolerable to you. And honestly, if he doesn't comply... I'd drop it. He isn't going to be living with you forever, right? So it's a problem that will resolve itself, whereas putting a strain on your relationship will not. 

As I've mentioned, I don't feel this way about teens. But I don't think you can teach him anything using this example. I doubt he'll learn anything about respect about living partners from continuing to have a power struggle with you. 

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Just now, regentrude said:

People parent in different ways, sure. When you're evaluating different kids of advice for parenting teens, I would also keep an eye on the outcome: who has a great relationship with their adult children? I'd borrow suggestions from folks who are at least on speaking terms with their offspring.

I think this has been said at least a few times 😛 . There is a vast range of advice in this thread, and that's true even if one restricts one's attention to people who seem to be on good terms with their teens. 

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16 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

The bolded is where I see a lack of respect and it is what I was talking about. If my kid knows a tidy and clean room is important to me and he for whatever reason doesn’t keep even a somewhat tidy or clean room....then I consider that a lack of respect.  
 

Do you also consider it a lack of respect if a parent knows that privacy is important to their child, and for whatever reason doesn't make an effort to respect the child's privacy?  

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2 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Do you also consider it a lack of respect if a parent knows that privacy is important to their child, and for whatever reason doesn't make an effort to respect the child's privacy?  

Well, I'm not her, but yes, I'd also consider that a lack of respect. 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I think you're both right that it's not a respectful behavior and have also gotten into a power struggle loop where there's probably so much resistance that there's no point thinking about it this way.

At this point, he's probably not cleaning his room mostly because he feels resistant 😛 . I remember having this feeling about my mom's requests to clean my room -- they felt like they were about her and not about me, and I felt JUDGED for not cleaning a room, and I didn't feel any incentive to cooperate. I cleaned up much better when I moved out. 

I'd probably give this topic a break for a few weeks to deescalate, then I'd try to have a friendly conversation with him about how you could fix this problem and whether he'd be interested in maintaining things in a way that would feel more tolerable to you. And honestly, if he doesn't comply... I'd drop it. He isn't going to be living with you forever, right? So it's a problem that will resolve itself, whereas putting a strain on your relationship will not. 

As I've mentioned, I don't feel this way about teens. But I don't think you can teach him anything using this example. I doubt he'll learn anything about respect about living partners from continuing to have a power struggle with you. 

Oh I haven’t said a word to him about his room for weeks—actually months I think.  Between my mom and step dads horrific car accident and the weeks long hospitalization and subsequent death of my bio dad.......I have had very little emotional energy to think about his room. 
 

Last night, Dss cooked dinner and Dh and I cleaned. Then I helped Dss sign up for his first shot today. Lots of other good interactions going on with dss and myself. So all is quite well with us in spite of the fact that I wish his room was cleaner.  

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9 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Do you also consider it a lack of respect if a parent knows that privacy is important to their child, and for whatever reason doesn't make an effort to respect the child's privacy?  

Are you suggesting I don’t respect the privacy of my adult son? Because I do.  

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31 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

The bolded is where I see a lack of respect and it is what I was talking about. If my kid knows a tidy and clean room is important to me and he for whatever reason doesn’t keep even a somewhat tidy or clean room....then I consider that a lack of respect.  
 

 

I'm a person with poor executive function. It's been a challenge my entire life.

It is very, very hard for me to keep my environment tidy because the way my brain functions isn't tidy. It loses track of what I am doing and what I intended to do. For example, no matter how carefully I organize my kitchen, I have never yet been able to consistent put dishes in the same spot when unloading the dishwasher; things end up wherever seems convenient at the time. Which frustrates even me but I can't just change it by deciding to change. I take clothes off and drop them where they are not because I can't understand that they should go in the hamper but because in that moment my brain is thinking of something else and hampers might as well not exist.

Executive function deficiencies are like any other handicap. Would you consider a blind person disrespectful for not responding to your wave that they couldn't see? Another person's abilities have nothing to do with respect or disrespect.

There may be another side to this, in that you might struggle with anxiety, and feeling unable to control your environment and the behavior of others triggers that anxiety. If so, that is your burden to bear and attempt to address by learning methods to cope with anxiety.

Just as it is the burden of a person with executive function difficulties to cope with and try to find ways to manage and successfully navigate life while dealing with executive function deficiency.

Neither issue represents a failure of respect. Just human brains with their own quirks.

Giving one another grace and encouragement goes a long way.

 

Edited by maize
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Just now, Scarlett said:

Oh I haven’t said a word to him about his room for weeks—actually months I think.  Between my mom and step dads horrific car accident and the weeks long hospitalization and subsequent death of my bio dad.......I have had very little emotional energy to think about his room. 

Last night, Dss cooked dinner and Dh and I cleaned. Then I helped Dss sign up for his first shot today. Lots of other good interactions going on with dss and myself. So all is quite well with us in spite of the fact that I wish his room was cleaner.  

Yeah, I can see how that wouldn't have been the top of your priority list! 😞 

I'd probably suggest you stop framing it as an issue of respect in your own head, too, though. Young adults do like having their own space. And if there's been any power struggle about it, he probably feels resentful about it and unwilling to clean up just because someone is asking him to 😛 . Annoying, I know, and very unhelpful, but then people are not fundamentally rational beings. 

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3 minutes ago, maize said:

Executive function deficiencies are like any other handicap. Would you consider a blind person disrespectful for not responding to your wave that they couldn't see? Another person's abilities have nothing to do with respect or disrespect.

On the one hand, I absolutely agree with you. On the other hand, there are certainly people with tolerable executive function who won't clean up after themselves, and it's frustrating when that happens. 

DH is like that. His EF isn't perfect, but it's not so bad that he can't figure out a way to pick up after himself. But he was so trained by years of conflict with his mom about it that he took any request to pick up after himself as nagging, no matter how it was phrased. It took MANY discussions for him to accept that he, like me, needs set times for cleaning and some structure to help him keep the household decent. 

Anyway, there can be a wide range of issues that causes a young adult living at home not to pick up after themselves. It's not always EF. Sometimes, it's a symptom of a clash of wills or an assertion of control. 

Like I said a few pages ago, people usually have a REASON for what they do. Figuring out what it is usually goes some of the way to dealing with the problem.

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, I can see how that wouldn't have been the top of your priority list! 😞 

I'd probably suggest you stop framing it as an issue of respect in your own head, too, though. Young adults do like having their own space. And if there's been any power struggle about it, he probably feels resentful about it and unwilling to clean up just because someone is asking him to 😛 . Annoying, I know, and very unhelpful, but then people are not fundamentally rational beings. 

I don’t think I actually frame it as an issue of respect in my head at all.  That just happened to be something I said in this thread and it got quoted and then bam, the race is on to correct me. In my head I mostly think, I want a clean and Tidy house.  

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Just now, Scarlett said:

I don’t think I actually frame it as an issue of respect in my head at all.  That just happened to be something I said in this thread and it got quoted and then bam, the race is on to correct me. In my head I mostly think, I want a clean and Tidy house.  

Actually, I would guess you do, and that's because it gets framed like this in my head, too. I do think that being mindful of the needs of the people one lives with is an issue of respect. I find it disrespectful when people disregard my requests in general, and I don't think I'm wrong! 

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Honestly after becoming a parent myself, I finally understood some of my parents decisions. I am sometimes reminded of that when my little girl who runs rings around me when I was at her age wants to do something. I was suppressed and thus even now my instinctive response is fear and I cannot do in my head, always. My little girl plunges fearlessly and joyfully into new things. The battle for me constantly is how to keep her safe when she wants to do things so far above her age while trying to nurture that spirit. 

So I parent with fear, with boundaries while hopefully passing on things that are important to me, teaching by modeling, preparing them for the life ahead as best as I can. DH does that too. I am constantly surprised at how much my idea of home and security reflects the childhood home I was raised in. No one consciously decided to pass me anything, they parented by instinct, by what the culture taught them, made mistakes. But I knew I was loved because my parents changed their behavior when they saw it hurt me. They asked me to forgive them which is something I always do. Say sorry to my children. 

There is no one way to raise a child, one way to parent. In the end, most of us do it the best way we think we can I think , hope to avoid our parents mistakes and hope that our kids will survive ours and we don't scar them too much by our bumbling efforts

The first time I held my son I was so surprised that I was allowed to be responsible for this tiny being, when I was so unprepared. I always prepare, backup of a backup kind of person. It was terrifying, then came DD and she threw the parenting book I thought I knew outside the window and I had to start from scratch. Parent the child in front of you, how terrifying is that. But still it is to me the most important thing I will ever do even though it is the thing I was least prepared to do. So I pray like my parents and my grandparents did, that DH and my mistakes do not define them or hurt them. 

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3 hours ago, Scarlett said:

The bolded is where I see a lack of respect and it is what I was talking about. If my kid knows a tidy and clean room is important to me and he for whatever reason doesn’t keep even a somewhat tidy or clean room....then I consider that a lack of respect.  

I think that would be an error in your vision to view it that way. But that’s your choice. 

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2 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Are you suggesting I don’t respect the privacy of my adult son? Because I do.  

No, I was responding to a comment in a thread about teenagers, where there was discussion about parents going into teenagers' room to enforce cleaning standards.   I was not speaking of adults.   In fact, I thought your adult son lived separately from you.  

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This has been such a helpful and timely thread for me. The minor children I still have at home are great at cleaning and helping out with anything I need, but I have 2 adult children here as well. I have no complaints about how they clean or help out either, but both older kids have had horrible roommate situations. 
 

Everyone is hopeful and excited when they move in with their closest friend then not only does the living situation blow up, but also the friendship is over too, not just dissolving away but with blow ups and sometimes retaliation. 
 

Wow! That is a shock, but as parents, we kind of assumed it was the friend until it happens again with the next roommate. Yesterday, I was able to talk to both of them about what could be learned from the past about living with people and how can they apply it to the future to make those living situations more successful. 
 

So far, the best advice I’ve gotten was on another thread where someone talked about treating chemical problems as if they are behavior problems. Wow! Is that super helpful, because both of those kids have pretty severe anxiety and at times in the past, it was untreated. Well, that is it’s own thread on how difficult it is to live with someone with anxiety. So I talked to both of them about if the relationships start going south, check in with their doctors to see if their meds might need adjusting. 
 

The next thing we talked about was changing their own expectations. My son’s chore when he was a kid was doing the dinner dishes. Well now, he finds it unbearably disrespectful when a roommate doesn’t wash his own dishes. I’ve tried to explain that getting a bunch of 20 year old boys to wash every dish as soon as they use it is just not a reasonable expectation. 
 

The next thing we talked about is when there is a conflict, to ask themselves how they could change their behavior rather than ask the other person to. For example, my son and husband had an issue when my son got off work at 11:00 pm and listened to music when his room is right above ours. He quit doing it when his dad asked him to, but I suggested headphones where he could still have his music and Dad could still sleep. My husband can also sleep with ear plugs like I do so every footstep and door closing doesn’t disturb him. We don’t get to have the pleasure of close relationships if we are not willing to ever be the one to change. 
 

One day, I got frustrated that my Dh leaves the shower curtain inside the tub to mildew after his shower. He also forgets to open the window when he gets out, which means the steam starts creating mildew on the walls and ceiling as well. I remembered a thread here about a teen who would not fix the shower curtain after showering, and I convinced myself to change my own behavior rather than resent Dh or try to force him to change. So I made a new routine. When I wake up and go in the bathroom, I fix the shower curtain and open the window while I’m brushing my teeth. 
 

It doesn’t help when I start telling myself, I shouldn’t HAVE to do these things. It shouldn’t be MY job. He does plenty of things for me. The scale is not even slightly tipped in my favor, so it makes more sense for me to change my own behavior rather than try forcing him to change his. 
 

But back to the anxiety, I really think that is the root of my adult kids’ issues living with roommates. They get ramped up where everything irritates them. And then they don’t even want to look at someone who could be so disrespectful and there goes the relationship. 
 

I was really hopeful, last night when my daughter said, “I know I can be toxic at times, and I don’t want to be that way.” 
 

I’m about to apologize to her about the times in her life when I have been toxic. It was tied to postpartum depression and miscarriages. It is like my mom’s bad day getting to the DMV. I might have been justified in feeling bad, but I wasn’t justified in letting it spill out over a child.   
 

So I just want to say thank you for everyone on every side of this discussion for getting me talking with my kids about these complicated relationships. 
 

 

Edited by Amy Gen
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15 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

No, I was responding to a comment in a thread about teenagers, where there was discussion about parents going into teenagers' room to enforce cleaning standards.   I was not speaking of adults.   In fact, I thought your adult son lived separately from you.  

I think her son lives with her.

I don’t think that the only way to have cleaning standards is to invade privacy.

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47 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

No, I was responding to a comment in a thread about teenagers, where there was discussion about parents going into teenagers' room to enforce cleaning standards.   I was not speaking of adults.   In fact, I thought your adult son lived separately from you.  

Oh sorry . Well I have 3 sons and the youngest is still at home. He is almost 20. 

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6 hours ago, regentrude said:

I find it weird to make this about respect. That is taking something personally that may not have anything to do with you at all.

 

This. 

Whether a teen is messy in her own space has nothing to do with respect. 

I mean, looking at my room as a teen I'm sure some might see respect- not a thing out of place, ever...so neat, so tidy, so respectful of my mom's expressed preferences..

Actually, it was not respect at all but fear of consequence. And some mess in my own space would have indictated a far healthier relationship.

 

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6 hours ago, Amy Gen said:

It doesn’t help when I start telling myself, I shouldn’t HAVE to do these things. It shouldn’t be MY job. He does plenty of things for me. The scale is not even slightly tipped in my favor, so it makes more sense for me to change my own behavior rather than try forcing him to change his. 

Respectfully... I think that's a fine attitude a lot of the time, but for people who are not good at standing up for themselves, it easily slides into victim-blaming. That obviously happens when there are issues of abuse, but it can also happen when things are much less stark. 

I think I've been quite forthright about my background on this thread: my mother is narcissistic and our home was not a safe space for me to express preferences, including innocuous preferences like "I don't feel well and I want to lie down." Everything became about my mother. Everything. We were always walking on eggshells. 

As a result, as an adult, I had basically no practice being firm about my requirements. Instead, I did what you suggest above: I tried to change my own behavior. And I tried to change it some more. I couldn't figure out a way to articulate my boundaries unless I was REALLY angry, and then I didn't get heard, anyway, both because I was angry and that doesn't make people receptive, and because listening in this way isn't my DH's forte and he expected me to stand up for myself more than I did. 

This wound up being quite counterproductive. I didn't set boundaries that were basically necessary for me to have a fulfilling life (for example, I have a fair amount of anxiety around instability, and DH traveling at random intervals was really hard on me; we also had many struggles about keeping the house decent.) It took us a long time to disentangle all these issues, but what was needed was NOT for me to constantly bend and bend and bend some more... it was to figure out what I ACTUALLY needed and to stop feeling guilty about those things. And being brought up the way I was, it was really hard. It's HARD for me to express preferences without being angry. I'm working on it... but the right message for me was definitely not "he probably does enough, so you need to learn to live with what you have." 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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On a similar note, I posted about my issues with DD8's attitude a while ago, and I got a lot of advice about "just letting her be a kid" and suggesting that I need to adapt to how she is. We've actually made a lot of progress since then, and what turned out to be the case was that 

a) Yes, me getting mad at her was completely counterproductive and terrible for our relationship

but 

b) She had in fact picked up some awful habits that were interfering with her learning, and we DID need to deal with those. (As it turns out, she was tuning out what I was saying. She had also decided that she has complete choice about what assignments she gets to do. All of these attitudes are currently being worked on and things are getting better.) 

So, the fact that I was getting angry at her WAS a real problem, but it was also a symptom of an issue not centered on me. Remember... I struggle with expressing preferences unless I'm angry, because I had never felt safe doing so. By the time I'm angry, it's not unlikely that I've actually already tolerated more than I can reasonably handle. So then hearing about how I need to bend some more feels... upsetting. And I'm sure I'm not the only one like that. 

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24 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

On a similar note, I posted about my issues with DD8's attitude a while ago, and I got a lot of advice about "just letting her be a kid" and suggesting that I need to adapt to how she is. We've actually made a lot of progress since then, and what turned out to be the case was that 

a) Yes, me getting mad at her was completely counterproductive and terrible for our relationship

but 

b) She had in fact picked up some awful habits that were interfering with her learning, and we DID need to deal with those. (As it turns out, she was tuning out what I was saying. She had also decided that she has complete choice about what assignments she gets to do. All of these attitudes are currently being worked on and things are getting better.) 

So, the fact that I was getting angry at her WAS a real problem, but it was also symptom of an issue not centered on me. Remember... I struggle with expressing preferences unless I'm angry, because I had never felt safe doing so. By the time I'm angry, it's not unlikely that I've actually already tolerated more than I can reasonably handle. So then hearing about how I need to bend some more feels... upsetting. And I'm sure I'm not the only one like that. 

Yes! When you feel a strong emotion about something your children are doing, it’s a signal that something is wrong, but it’s usually not the surface thing that has made you upset. There’s some underlying issue going on. 

Your job as the parent isn’t to explode or yell or stew. Your job is to stand back and think to yourself, “Wow! I’m feeling an extreme emotion. What exactly is triggering this?” And you have to look hard at the situation and solve it.

That’s exactly what you did. 

My parenting improved so much once I realized that when I had a strong reaction my job was to do some detective work to figure out the root issue.  

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4 minutes ago, Garga said:

My parenting improved so much once I realized that when I had a strong reaction my job was to do some detective work to figure out the root issue.  

Exactly. Thank you. That's exactly right. 

... except, sometimes you wind up talking to people who dismiss you (like my DH -- remember how I said listening isn't his forte, lol?) or some genuinely well-meaning people on this board, and then you wind up staying angry longer, because you keep thinking it's something about you and that you ought to just be able to control yourself better. And then, unfortunately, things don't get resolved, because there's a genuine issue (you try teaching a kid who hears half your words and not because of a disorder -- because I'm her mom and she's used to tuning me out), but you don't feel enabled to solve it. 

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54 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Exactly. Thank you. That's exactly right. 

... except, sometimes you wind up talking to people who dismiss you (like my DH -- remember how I said listening isn't his forte, lol?) or some genuinely well-meaning people on this board, and then you wind up staying angry longer, because you keep thinking it's something about you and that you ought to just be able to control yourself better. And then, unfortunately, things don't get resolved, because there's a genuine issue (you try teaching a kid who hears half your words and not because of a disorder -- because I'm her mom and she's used to tuning me out), but you don't feel enabled to solve it. 

I hear ya!

BTW, my kids fought me pretty hard on school work until they each in turn hit 5th grade (about 10 years old.) Until then, they seemed to think that school was something that I had made up and was doing to them on my own whim. I’d try to explain that it was the law of the land that they be educated, but they seemed convinced it was just mom being mean.

By the time they hit 5th grade, they realized that I wasn’t being unreasonable and forcing them to do a bizarre learning-thing that I made up all on my own.

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1 minute ago, Garga said:

By the time they hit 5th grade, they realized that I wasn’t being unreasonable and forcing them to do a bizarre learning-thing that I made up all on my own.

Hah! I'm hoping for increased sanity from DD8 as she gets bigger. However, in the meantime, I still need compliance... and we're getting there 😉 . Finally. 

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

but for people who are not good at standing up for themselves,

I’m really having a hard time seeing how this is victim blaming. Yes, it would be bad if I constantly did everything and felt like I couldn’t tell him to pull his own weight, but that is why I specifically said, “The scale isn’t even slightly tipped in my favor.” Of course it would be different if that wasn’t the case. That is why I specified that it is the case in our marriage. 
 

I have no problem standing up for myself and standing up for others. I am quite assertive in real life, so for me, it is a very good practice to stop being so bossy for a moment and realize that if I want healthy relationships, sometimes I need to change my behavior rather than expect others to always change theirs. 
 

My mother has some sort of a personality disorder, so I decided I would never become the controlling person who sucked the fun out of everyone’s life because she always had to have her way. 

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Just now, Amy Gen said:

I’m really having a hard time seeing how this is victim blaming. Yes, it would be bad if I constantly did everything and felt like I couldn’t tell him to pull his own weight, but that is why I specifically said, “The scale isn’t even slightly tipped in my favor.” Of course it would be different if that wasn’t the case. That is why I specified that it is the case in our marriage. 
 

I have no problem standing up for myself and standing up for others. I am quite assertive in real life, so for me, it is a very good practice to stop being so bossy for a moment and realize that if I want healthy relationships, sometimes I need to change my behavior rather than expect others to always change theirs. 
 

My mother has some sort of a personality disorder, so I decided I would never become the controlling person who sucked the fun out of everyone’s life because she always had to have her way. 

It isn't for you. It is if you assume everyone else doesn't have the scales tipped. But people do tend to assume that. 

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3 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

it's not unlikely that I've actually already tolerated more than I can reasonably handle. So then hearing about how I need to bend some more feels... upsetting. And I'm sure I'm not the only one like that. 

I think we just disagree. I don’t ever think it is my kids job to “bend” because I have issues expressing myself or setting boundaries. 
 

I don’t want to fight with you. People have a right to parent in ways that I ways in which I would never choose to. And I have a right to say that very different strategies have worked for me. 

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1 minute ago, Amy Gen said:

I think we just disagree. I don’t ever think it is my kids job to “bend” because I have issues expressing myself or setting boundaries. 

Huh? You never ask your kids to follow your rules? I don't really understand what you're saying. 

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No, actually I don’t. We collaborate. When they were toddlers, I might have had some rules for safety, but we don’t have power struggles. We don’t have fights. There is no yelling by anyone ever. 
 

Maybe there are kids who this wouldn’t work with and that is fine, but in my kids are 5 for 5 for doing well socially, and academically within a framework in which no bending is required. 
 

When something isn’t working, we brainstorm. We agree to try something. We reassess. We agree again. I don’t punish, and my kids don’t ever have cause to lie to me or hide things from me. I choose to let them have privacy and they have proven to be trustworthy. 
 

I really don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t have anything to prove, because we aren’t having issues. I’m not trying to say that parenting differently is wrong. Authoritative parenting might fit other parents and kids better, but it is a lie that if not forced, all kids won’t do well academically. It is a lie that if you allow teenagers to have their doors closed, all kids do destructive things with their privacy. 
 

All I’m trying to say that parents have options. I don’t think that should be “upsetting” to anyone. 

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16 minutes ago, Amy Gen said:

No, actually I don’t. We collaborate. When they were toddlers, I might have had some rules for safety, but we don’t have power struggles. We don’t have fights. There is no yelling by anyone ever. 
 

Maybe there are kids who this wouldn’t work with and that is fine, but in my kids are 5 for 5 for doing well socially, and academically within a framework in which no bending is required. 

That's nice. I have 2 kids both of whom read at 3, and I would guess that if I had a third kid, they'd also be fairly likely to read at 3, but I'm not going to generalize to everyone's kids, because I respect other people's reports of their experiences.

 

Quote

When something isn’t working, we brainstorm. We agree to try something. We reassess. We agree again. I don’t punish, and my kids don’t ever have cause to lie to me or hide things from me. I choose to let them have privacy and they have proven to be trustworthy. 

Again, that's very nice for you. I've tried brainstorming with my kid, and we agree on things, and then she doesn't do them. She's little. She's opinionated. She's her stubborn father's and stubborn mother's daughter. I still need to teach her. 

 

Quote

I really don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t have anything to prove, because we aren’t having issues. I’m not trying to say that parenting differently is wrong. Authoritative parenting might fit other parents and kids better, but it is a lie that if not forced, all kids won’t do well academically. It is a lie that if you allow teenagers to have their doors closed, all kids do destructive things with their privacy. 

First of all, no one said anything like "if you allow teenagers to have their doors closed, all kids do destructive things with their privacy." Frankly, I'm not sure I've seen a single person advocate for not allowing kids to keep their doors closed. Not a single person. 

As for whether kids will do well academically without forcing... well, I'm sure mine would, but I don't only want them to do well academically -- I want them to be able to work with ME, because I prize that interaction and I think I have things to give her. 

And I'm sure there are some kids who need to be dragged through academics kicking and screaming, and come out the other end grateful. Again, different strokes for different folks. 

 

Quote

All I’m trying to say that parents have options. I don’t think that should be “upsetting” to anyone. 

You aren't making me feel like I have options. You are making me feel like the only option so far that has worked for me is bad for my kids.

I think I'm going out to bow out here. There are a lot of strong opinions on this thread, and as is often the case, I'm simply trying to point out that it's a good idea to listen to a range of experiences. People come in all sorts of varieties. 

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7 hours ago, Garga said:

I hear ya!

BTW, my kids fought me pretty hard on school work until they each in turn hit 5th grade (about 10 years old.) Until then, they seemed to think that school was something that I had made up and was doing to them on my own whim. I’d try to explain that it was the law of the land that they be educated, but they seemed convinced it was just mom being mean.

By the time they hit 5th grade, they realized that I wasn’t being unreasonable and forcing them to do a bizarre learning-thing that I made up all on my own.

Lol... one advantage to having a state that insists on home visits is the law isn’t some “mythical thing”. 

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8 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

Respectfully... I think that's a fine attitude a lot of the time, but for people who are not good at standing up for themselves, it easily slides into victim-blaming. That obviously happens when there are issues of abuse, but it can also happen when things are much less stark. 

I think I've been quite forthright about my background on this thread: my mother is narcissistic and our home was not a safe space for me to express preferences, including innocuous preferences like "I don't feel well and I want to lie down." Everything became about my mother. Everything. We were always walking on eggshells. 

As a result, as an adult, I had basically no practice being firm about my requirements. Instead, I did what you suggest above: I tried to change my own behavior. And I tried to change it some more. I couldn't figure out a way to articulate my boundaries unless I was REALLY angry, and then I didn't get heard, anyway, both because I was angry and that doesn't make people receptive, and because listening in this way isn't my DH's forte and he expected me to stand up for myself more than I did. 

This wound up being quite counterproductive. I didn't set boundaries that were basically necessary for me to have a fulfilling life (for example, I have a fair amount of anxiety around instability, and DH traveling at random intervals was really hard on me; we also had many struggles about keeping the house decent.) It took us a long time to disentangle all these issues, but what was needed was NOT for me to constantly bend and bend and bend some more... it was to figure out what I ACTUALLY needed and to stop feeling guilty about those things. And being brought up the way I was, it was really hard. It's HARD for me to express preferences without being angry. I'm working on it... but the right message for me was definitely not "he probably does enough, so you need to learn to live with what you have." 

I have nothing wise to add to this, other than my experience growing up was very similar and it had a similar result. I spent far too many adult years stuffing down my feelings and not expressing what I thought or wanted. And then I would just explode with anger when I'd hit my breaking point because could not bend anymore and I was so frustrated.  I remember being amazed as a child, because other kids could casually express their opinions and wants, and their parents didn't react angrily. They could say things like "I'm cold. Can you roll up the car window?", and no one got mad or tried to gaslight you that you weren't actually cold.  It was easier to be cold than deal with any of that. 

I only started speaking up once I had my own child, and saw the same patterns playing out between my parents and my child. I am very, very good at speaking up on his behalf, and my parents now complain that I've "changed" and I'm too controlling and rigid in regards to my son, (because I insist that the kid be fed when he's hungry and that the dang window gets rolled up if he's cold!).  I'm still working on speaking up on my own behalf.  It's very hard to speak up without feeling angry or fearful. 

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3 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I have nothing wise to add to this, other than my experience growing up was very similar and it had a similar result. I spent far too many adult years stuffing down my feelings and not expressing what I thought or wanted. And then I would just explode with anger when I'd hit my breaking point because could not bend anymore and I was so frustrated.  I remember being amazed as a child, because other kids could casually express their opinions and wants, and their parents didn't react angrily. They could say things like "I'm cold. Can you roll up the car window?", and no one got mad or tried to gaslight you that you weren't actually cold.  It was easier to be cold than deal with any of that. 

Yeah, exactly. I remember visiting relatives and finding it oddly relaxing. No one minded if I was tired! Or hungry! Or busy! Or if my facial expression was in any way discontented! It took me a long time to get used to voicing preferences. I was really used to anxiously adjusting to someone else’s...

 

3 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I only started speaking up once I had my own child, and saw the same patterns playing out between my parents and my child. I am very, very good at speaking up on his behalf, and my parents now complain that I've "changed" and I'm too controlling and rigid in regards to my son, (because I insist that the kid be fed when he's hungry and that the dang window gets rolled up if he's cold!).  I'm still working on speaking up on my own behalf.  It's very hard to speak up without feeling angry or fearful. 

My behavior also changed after I had DD8. She’s VERY independent and not at all cuddly, so my mom didn’t know what to do with her. So then I had to defend her, because I didn’t want some absurd thing where an interaction between an adult and a 3 year old was all about the adult...

And a little after that, we took a break from talking entirely for a year, and since then she’s been much nicer 😉 . On her best behavior, so to speak. I still wouldn’t leave her with my kids, of course.

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4 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

She, herself, had a very, very toxic childhood. Today, I can have empathy for that, but I now understand it wasn’t me and her toxic upbringing doesn’t excuse her or make it wrong for me to protect myself from it as best I can. I know I have posted a lot about this, but I’ve never talked about some of the worst of it on here. 

Yeah, my mom had a terrible childhood. Her mom is awful. I don’t talk to her, either... my mom still does, though. But anyway, my grandma was the kind of mom who told her kid how all the other little girls were much prettier and better behaved than her 😕 .

At least my mom obviously loves her kids. My grandma... not so much. So it could be worse 😉 .

As you say, I now have empathy for how she was brought up. But it doesn’t mean she can pass it down to my kids.

6 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

She would rage (and I do mean rage) if I didn’t do housework without being asked. She never gave me regular chores to do, and always did everything herself until one day she would decide she wasn’t happy about that and why wasn’t I helping her without her having to ask?

Oh, that sounds SO familiar. No chores or rules and then sudden explosions about not living up to a never-discussed standard.

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1 minute ago, Indigo Blue said:

Yep. With young sibling she would sweetly say...he will do whatever I need if I just ask him. He doesn’t mind. 

Luckily, neither I nor my sister were the “good kid.” I can imagine my grandma going that route if she’d had more than 1... although she thought both her grandchildren were deeply damaged and needed to be diagnosed with something. It was kind of darkly amusing, since my little sister and I were very different little kids.

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Just now, Indigo Blue said:

I often worry about my brother and how he will fare when she passes. Because of how he was raised, he is very self absorbed, but he’s not a bad person. His life has been so different, and I hope it won’t end up being to his detriment.

Honestly, sometimes it feels like it's worse to be the "favored child" in this situation. It seems like it must teach bad values 😞 . 

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5 hours ago, MissLemon said:

I have nothing wise to add to this, other than my experience growing up was very similar and it had a similar result. I spent far too many adult years stuffing down my feelings and not expressing what I thought or wanted. And then I would just explode with anger when I'd hit my breaking point because could not bend anymore and I was so frustrated.  I remember being amazed as a child, because other kids could casually express their opinions and wants, and their parents didn't react angrily. They could say things like "I'm cold. Can you roll up the car window?", and no one got mad or tried to gaslight you that you weren't actually cold.  It was easier to be cold than deal with any of that. 

I only started speaking up once I had my own child, and saw the same patterns playing out between my parents and my child. I am very, very good at speaking up on his behalf, and my parents now complain that I've "changed" and I'm too controlling and rigid in regards to my son, (because I insist that the kid be fed when he's hungry and that the dang window gets rolled up if he's cold!).  I'm still working on speaking up on my own behalf.  It's very hard to speak up without feeling angry or fearful. 

This was one of the things about my dss19 that I did help him with.  He would not express a preference on anything.

I remember one particular day he was at our house during the summer before he came to live with us full time.  So he was probably about 14.  He was out in the shop doing some woodworking about mid morning.  He was due to go see his mom for the weekend at6 that evening.  We had a designated pick up place about 45 min between his mom and us.  

About 11 a.m he comes in and tells me his step dad is going to be passing by our house shortly and wants to stop and pick him up.  The step dad was going to be driving all over creation the rest of the day going to job sites.I asked dss if he wanted to do that. He says, ‘well it would just be easier’.  
I bet we repeated that same sentence 15 different ways, with basically him seemingly incapable of speaking his preference and insisting it would just ‘help everyone’ to let his step dad pick him up.  I explained, that yes, it would save me driving later.  It would save his mom and step dad driving later.  And that I had no problem with him leaving early if that was what he wanted. He just could not get past how much more convenient it would be for everyone else. 
 

Finally I said, ‘ I want you think about the rest of the day.  If you could do what YOU wanted.  Would you prefer to be out there in the shop working on your project or riding around in your step dad's truck to job sites?’ 
 

I saw a light bulb go on and he said, ‘ well, I would like to stay and be out in the shop.’  I said, ‘ Thank you.’.   Dh texted dss’s mom and told her we would stick to normal drop off at 6:00 p.m. 

After that day when I realized what a deeply ingrained problem it was, I had many conversations with dss about learning to know what HIS preference was.  I explained, we don’t always get what we want and sometimes we graciously allow others to have things their way, but it is very important to be able to know ones own mind and learn to respectfully express it. 
 

 

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Just now, Scarlett said:

After that day when I realized what a deeply ingrained problem it was, I had many conversations with dss about learning to know what HIS preference was.  I explained, we don’t always get what we want and sometimes we graciously allow others to have things their way, but it is very important to be able to know ones own mind and learn to respectfully express it. 

That's a really good lesson. And it's such a HARD lesson if you're used to getting in trouble if you express preferences. 

But of course, we all do have preferences. We don't generally manage to avoid having needs just because it'd be convenient. And exploding in frustration is the opposite of a productive response to one's needs. 

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1 minute ago, Indigo Blue said:

In the last few years, I’ve read several books on personality disorders. In all of them, it talks about the one good thing about not being the good child is, you have a chance to escape. The other children are often the ones who can see things for what they are and end up being healthier, even when it’s invisible to everyone else. The good child often remains trapped, which is sad.

I've read a few myself 🙂 . I'm sorry your brother is stuck in that dynamic 😞 . 

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