- Family and Parenting»
What went wrong
Hi there, now that I shared with you the story of my life in a nutshell, on being a teen mom and being successful at it. The question now is, how did I get there and how did I stop history from repeating itself and keep my daughters from becoming a statistic.
Today, when I look back on my life, I sometimes feel like it’s a miracle I survived it all. When you go from being a teen in high school, hanging out with your friends to changing diapers, all in about a year, plus, all the stuff that comes with it that you have to deal with, is extremely hard. But life changes quickly. I realize now. that there were issues at home for me that caused me to become involved with the father of my kids, making him my whole life.
My parents migrated to this country when we were very young, and my brothers and sisters and I came to live with them later after they were settled. By then I was about ten years old and the mother daughter bond that was supposed to be there, wasn’t. By the time I hit the teen years there were a lot of fights. I guess I was testing my boundaries. There were times when I felt that I wasn’t loved or wanted and I would rather have been anywhere but home. I often felt like an outsider looking in, because up until coming to live with our parents my brothers and sisters and I we grew up in separate homes. They shared a bond with each other that I didn’t and they still do today. I didn’t know it then, but I was looking for something or someone of my own and that’s what my kids father provided for me, at the time. Feeling like you matter to someone else is important whether you‘re a child or an adult.
Another reason, was that my parents weren’t really focused on what was going on in our daily lives. Life, was sometimes with ten children. They had to work, and that took precedence. We all went to church every week, we had regular family devotions and I think they believed that that was enough. They didn’t know what was going on in my life and they tended to over-reacted to what they knew. But you know what , I can’t fault them for that.
Again, they did the best they could at the time. Like most parents, it never crossed their minds that any of their children would become sexually active at such a young age. That’s why I said before, no matter what was going on with me, I had to make sure that I remained focused on what’s going on in my kids lives and be careful not over-react to every little thing that happens.
Another reason was the absence of sex education. Talking about sex was taboo. They must of thought that if they didn’t talk about it then nothing would happen. We all know now that not talking to your kids about sex is a huge mistake. Because if think your kids are not having sex, or thinking about having sex, or being pressured into having sex, think again. Because it’s happening right now.
So there I was, fifteen years old, thinking that my life is crap and there he was ready to give to me what I thought I needed. I learned from that. I was going to make sure that my kids felt loved and wanted, so that they would become a victim to any predator out there who’s looking to take advantage the situation.
Whenever I think back on that time, I am amazed by fact that this young man became the father of my kids because this was someone that I really didn’t like at all. Also, given the fact that he was so much older than I was didn‘t help. When I look back on it now, it was almost predatory.
I didn’t understand then how my parents felt, but I do now. It started one day when he shows up outside my house uninvited, my mom sees him standing outside the fence and asked my sister who he was and why was he there. My sister, knew that I didn’t like him, but wanting to make problems for me, told my mom that he was there for me. That was all it took. All hell broke loose. That’s what I mean when I say over-reacting.
If I close my eyes I can still hear her, I mean, she went off on me. And I still remember thinking, “what the hell?“ I was thinking, why are you getting so mad at me, I don’t like him, I don’t even speak to him. He just won‘t take no for an answer and keeps showing up. But she wouldn’t stop. She just kept at it, day after day. Again, over-reacting. It became so bad with my mom constantly throwing him in my face that I decided, if I’m going to be punished or yelled at, it might as well be for something I did rather than something I didn’t do.
Teens are rebellious by nature. The moment you say out loud they can’t have something, that’s the very thing they’re going to want. That’s what happened with me. I found myself sneaking out to see him and before long, I was pregnant. Another lesson learned. I made sure that didn’t happen with my girls.
I drew a lot from my experiences as a teen when it come time for me to parent my teenagers. Also, as I said in my last article, I learned from my mom. While she had good things to teach me , I also learned from the mistakes she made with me and was careful not to repeat them.
No matter what was going on, I never lost sight of my responsibilities to my children. Sure they were boys in my girls lives. There were some that I liked and there were boys that I couldn’t stand. However. I didn’t come right and say so and I certainly didn‘t make a big deal about it. Because my experiences taught me that boys would come and go and my job was to help them navigate those waters. I made sure I had good relationships with my girls so that we could talk about anything.
My mom and I never had a good mother-daughter relationship. I couldn’t talk to her about anything. It seemed to me like the only time my mom spoke to me was to point out the things I was doing or did wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I still think she was a good mom, she worked hard and she gave us all she had to give. She did the best she could with the skills she had learned from her parents.
Unfortunately, my mom didn’t believe that they could be friends with their children or have meaningful conversations with them. I learned not to do that with my kids, because I saw what the repercussions could be.
Whenever a new boy came over, I watched, then I would point out to my daughters anything I saw that told me they might be a problem. They weren’t always too happy about it, but they listened. Also, it helped that I didn’t make a big deal about it.
If something happened that I was not comfortable with, I didn’t yell and carry on like my mom did. I simply pointed it out to my daughter, that they should demand respect for themselves, from any man they come in contact with.
That’s basically how I handled all the boys in my girls lives. We didn’t argue over it. I didn’t yell, get all bent out of shape. We talked. I pointed out what I liked and what I didn’t like. Some hung around for a long time and some disappeared.
I will never be sorry I became involved with him, because he gave me my beautiful girls. But I do believe that over-reaction sometimes pushes our children towards the very thing we are trying to protect them from.