A few months ago I woke up one morning with an injured shoulder. I couldn’t lift my hand above eye level! What had happened to get me into such pain?
Needing a physical so I could go to scout camp with my son, I asked the doctor to help me. He asked how it happened and I couldn’t tell him…but I did share two important pieces of information that led him to a very reasonable hypothesis.
#1 I acknowledged that I am not very tuned into my body. I don’t know what’s happening, and I certainly don’t listen to it’s cries for help very well (like not drinking water all day until I have a headache and feel parched).
#2 I shared that I had been quite sedentary for the last couple of years, exercising in well-intentioned spurts.
Here’s his theory:
Over time I have weakened my muscles and tendons imperceptibly, little by little. I continued to do activities, and physical work that I normally do. I was unconscious of my weakened state and continued to put strain on my joints until…WHAM I lifted the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Here’s my theory:
The weight of parenting can lead to the same experience. You are a little more sedentary in your involvement with your teen, and let some things slide because you don’t want the sparks to fly. Then earlier than normal one morning, you wake up to find your teen not in their room. They snuck out during the night and haven’t returned yet. You are instantly in pain!
But what you didn’t perceive was the slow progression towards this kind of thing. You saw some defiance and some dishonesty, but chalked it up to normal teenager behavior and therefore didn’t strengthen your relationship OR your parenting skills. Now that she’s 15, your skills with toddlers are outdated, and your strength as a parent hasn’t
been exercised or fine-tuned at the rate of your child’s growth.
#1 – Strengthen the relationship through communicating about the issues
in a better way than you have before and in having fun again…if you need
coaching to do this…GET IT!
#2 – Re-establish expectations and accountability…read and look around
to see what others are doing, but don’t let society at large dictate what you
think needs to happen in your family.
#3 – Get engaged as a parent…it’ll take work, vigilance, and unity from both
parents to turn things around now that there is pain, but you can do it!
#4 – Get help if you need it and don\’t wait too long. Most all cases like this do not fix themselves but only get worse.
To Your Family’s Success and Happiness!
Tim R. Thayne, Ph.D.
Homeward Bound/Family Front