Thursday, December 2, 2010

Successful Family Therapy

I & Baby, my 14-year-old daughter, went to our family therapy appointment today.  My goal was to learn to communicate better, as many of our conversations end in tears & yelling.

After asking questions & hearing us talk, our therapist had an opinion.  She told Baby that she was not completely faultless in our issues we were having.  She pointed out to Baby that she had a tendency to interrupt people & did not accept responsibility for her actions.  I had mentioned those things to Baby several times, but as most teenagers do, she tunes me out, when she thinks I am attacking her.  It felt good to have someone else recognize those characteristics & tell Baby.

As for me, she said I needed to make sure Baby & I were on the same page, when I gave her an answer to a request she makes.  She said that many teenagers do not understand the concept of "Let me think about it", "maybe", or  "It's a possibility", because they will translate all of that into "Yes".  She said if I could not give Baby an answer immediately, I should just say, "No."  Also, when I did give an answer, I should ask Baby to repeat what I said to her, to make sure she heard my answer accurately.

Also, something both sad & interesting manifested itself in the session.  Baby said she believed that the reason I was taking my evenings off in order to be with her, after receiving her poor grades in the last semester, was to look good at our court appearance on December 20th.  That is exactly the same thing BabyDaddie told her.  So, apparently although she says she does not listen to him, he still has a negative influence over her.

I knew about the court date a full month, prior to Baby's poor grades.  Therefore, the therapist said that me changing my work hours had nothing to do with the court date.   In addition, the therapist said people change for all kinds of reasons & whether it was because of her grades or the court appearance makes no difference in the end.  The test would be whether or not I maintained my hours with Baby in the evenings, after the court appearance.

I have every intention of doing that.  In fact, I want Baby to be disappointed when I am not with her in the evenings.  To accomplish that, we are settling into a ritual that seems to be pleasant of both of us.  From 6pm to 8pm, we have quiet time.  For those two hours, we turn off all tech stuff, including cell phones & computers.  Usually, she does her homework & I make dinner.  Then, from 8pm to 10pm she retreats to her room or we watch a movie.  However, I hope to make the 8pm to 10pm timeframe even more productive by joining a gym & having her be my gym buddy, as she has mentioned wanting to do in the past.

Our therapist said she thought we needed more sessions & so we will be returning December 22nd.  Thank goodness for insurance.

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