Sunday, October 5, 2014

Maybe I'm getting too old & a freebie

I love my niece, I really do and I worry about her. In some ways I think she's more naive than the average 18 yr-old. She thinks she's a full fledged adult and tells me not to worry about her, but I do worry. She's attending an urban university which has the typical security problems of such places (I ought to know having attended it many years ago and then attending and working for Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond). The police are still searching for a missing UVA student and there have been several assaults in the vicinity of Norfolk's Old Dominion University (her school). Let's face it - we hear about the sicko people out there in every news cast. So we don't like for her to be out there after dark. She's admitted she's not comfortable standing at a bus stop once the sun goes down and I've been driving to pick her up the nights she has biology lab. Thought we had an understanding about her staying after to have dinner with friends or do research. We just asked her to call us and let us know she wasn't coming straight home and about when to expect her. If it's dinner with a boyfriend, we'd like to at least know his name. Why? she wanted to know. So we explained that if she didn't show when expected and we had to contact authorities we'd need to be able to say who would have seen her last. Does that sound unreasonable? This past week, she's been late every day. She did call most of the afternoons, saying she'd be home before dark. But she wasn't home by then. Once she came in later and said she'd gotten a ride home with a friend. We tried to not be too fussy about it, saying we had been wondering when to go out looking for her and were glad to hear she'd gotten a ride. Thursday it was even later and she walked in with a little attitude when we looked up at her saying, I got a ride, so . . . I was too angry to say anything then. Wasn't feeling good anyway so thought I'd give it to next day and explain we aren't mind readers and she should call to let us know she wasn't coming in until later and had a ride. Unfortunately, Friday I had to go in "her" room to look for some glue that was in my side of the double closet. I'll just say the room was a mess and I had to move a lot of stuff before I could get in the closet. I know, it's a small room but . . . . Again she was not home when expected (no call) and my husband had brought her a late lunch/early dinner. I'd been stewing all day and had left her a note saying I expected her to keep commitments or have decency to call if plans changed and told her to clean her room. And yes, I did put in a couple zingers I guess about her behavior and suggested if she didn't want to obey any rules or be cared about, she could try living in the dorms. You know, when our feelings are hurt and we're disappointed in someone, we may not be acting our best either. When R did get in and read the note, she wanted to know what she'd done wrong to deserve it. I explained again, she got defensive & angry, and when I suggested that maybe she was overdoing the social life instead of attending to her first priority which is learning and getting good grades, she insisted she was studying and claimed to have been looking for work on campus and talking to the job counselor and so on. I want to believe her but some of it doesn't quite add up. Kids! She called her Dad and went home for the weekend. Talking to her parents isn't an answer until we are ready to give up and send her home for good. They think it's okay to turn her lose to be an adult and she's ill prepared, believe me. Sigh! So I'm been obsessing over whether I was too harsh in trying to get my points across, whether I'm just too old and impatient to deal with teens anymore (& teens used to be my favorite age group!), and whether R will ever understand we love her and care about her.
Sorry for the rant. I did make another fall paper and added two elements to the zip.
Pick it up here:


Deb Burroughs said...

I wanted to tell you how difficult it can be to deal with teens. Don't beat yourself over the head - you are doing the best you can and only have good intentions at heart. Many times, kids don't think bad things will happen to them. Unfortunately, adults know they can - and probably will. Thanks for the freebie!

SherryD said...

I appreciate your comment & support Deb. It's a change for all of us. Today the whole family came along to return my niece and we all talked about the problems. We agreed on the following: 1) school comes before socializing; 2) if you say you are going to be in by a certain time & change your plans, call & let us know; 3) a curfew of 10pm on school nights; 4) work on organizing stuff in room to be able to keep it neater; 5) ask for help when you need it. Here's hoping there won't be a need to repeat this talk.

Stacey said...

awesome freebie! thank you so much! Teenagers and she still is a teen even if she doesn't realise it, are very hard to deal, one of the reason I'm glad hubby and I have a dog - LOL. Plus even if she doesn't like it - your house your rules and it's only so you don't worry. She is an adult in the aspect that she can choose to do well in school or not and have alot of activities or not, but she has to realise their are always rules even for us adults and it's common courtesy. My hubby and I smoke but when I stay or visit my family who don't smoke - I don't smoke in their house I follow their rules. when I have guests for a party - we won't smoke in my house either, and I will air it out febreeze everything as a common courtesy for them. good luck!