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How Do I Convince My Granddaughter That Life is Worth Living?

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Real Estate Agent with KW at the Parks 651506396

How Do I Convince My Granddaughter That Life is Worth Living?

My daughter is going through hell right now. Her daughter has been the victim of cyber bullying. The attacks have been so severe, that my granddaughter has been hospitalized several times because of threatening to harm herself.

I am an old man, and I still get a queasy feeling in my stomach just thinking back to my junior high, and high school days. If there was such a thing as a time machine and I could go back in time, I would stop the dial at 20 years old...there is no way I would want to relive those high school, or junior high days...even it were to give me more time on Earth. And I didn’t even have to deal with the Internet!

Being the parent of 4 adult children, helping them navigate their teenage years, brought back plenty of those unpleasant memories all over again. I don’t know what is worse...going through the teens yourself, or watching people you love suffer through them. You want so much to hold them back, to protect them from the outside world; but you know that part of growing as a person is learning to navigate the world beyond your doorstep.

I was driving to work, thinking of my poor granddaughter and a song came over the radio which caught my attention. It was the song “Try”, by Colbie Caillat. The lyrics go like this…

Put your make up on
Get your nails done
Curl your hair
Run the extra mile
Keep it slim
So they like you. Do they like you?

Get your sexy on
Don't be shy, girl
Take it off
This is what you want, to belong
So they like you. Do you like you?

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

I know that I shouldn’t speak in sweeping generalities, but my observations tell me that teen girls have it rougher than male teens. Our society demands so much from girls, and the above lyrics touch on those demands.

As a society, we spend so much attention on what is on the outside…but we rarely touch about what is on the inside. As parents, we constantly value the superficial stuff…but how much time do we spend telling our children about being kind to others? We want our children to be the most popular…but we don’t teach them that their popularity shouldn’t come at the expense of putting someone else down.

Get your shopping on,
At the mall,
Max your credit cards
You don't have to choose,
Buy it all
So they like you. Do they like you?

Wait a second,
Why should you care, what they think of you
When you're all alone, by yourself
Do you like you? Do you like you?

You don't have to try so hard
You don't have to bend until you break
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don't have to change a single thing

We try our best to explain to our granddaughter that this is just a phase of growing up, that all of us have gone through what she going through…maybe not as difficult a journey as she has traveled…but we have all traveled that road none-the-less. We tell her that what she is going through will be replaced with joyous events. She will one day graduate from high school and hopefully, college. She will eventually marry and have children of her own. The sadness she currently feels will one day be replaced with happiness.

We tell her not to allow the bullies to win. We tell her that harming herself is just that…harming herself. It doesn’t stop the bullies. They will simply turn their attention towards another harmless victim.  We try to explain to our granddaughter that those picking on her have worse demons inside them than she has hiding in her. I will end with this quote…

“People who love themselves, don’t hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer.”
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

 



 

Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

My thoughts are with you and your family. It does get better.

Feb 04, 2015 12:35 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Thomas,
You are not a young man, yet those years of high school are still very much a part of you. This burden you have carried so many years. As you can see, it DOES NOT GO AWAY. Such experiences changes our lives. Some crawl down a rabbit hole, some stuff the emotion, others break.

Let there be not misunderstand, males and females alike endure these seasons with equal trauma. The difference is women have social permission to talk about it, men do not. The burden upon the shoulder of men that is deafeningly silent is, "My family would rather I die riding my lifehorse than see me fall from it." Do not understate the incredible burden men labor under in isolation.

Your Granddaughter, for whom you suffer anguish, can discover something to live for. What that will be has been modeled by her family or you over the preceding years of her life. At times like this, the importance of modeling and teaching VALUES during those early years provides fabric from which to work. Those who failed to do so attempt to loop their safety rope around a cloud.

Right now your Grand Daughter needs safe space.
Un plug her. (You may need to replace the 'puter to get a new MAC ID)
Set the stage for a small victory. The outcome of struggle is HOPE!
Set the stage for another small victory. The outcome of struggle is HOPE!

Protect the ember of hope by creating the safe space for your Grand Daughter to talk about the raging emotions, the real fear............and your real motive.

Your real motive, even though you may be unaware, is to prevent others from experiencing the shame and isolation you experienced and carried these many years.

Sharing this incredible vulnerability will begin to part the clouds that darken the soul of your Grnad Daughter.

Your Grand Daughter lives in a society that want to fix or prevent vulnerability. But only through venerability can life be lived with a whole heart.

Share with your Grand Daughter that each and everyone of us is expereince both courage and fear at exactly the same moment........ALL DAY LONG!

This is the uncertainthy that sojourns with vunerability. The whole heared person accepts this for what it is and shows up in life in their complete fullness.

"Dear Grand Daughter," you offer, "let me walk this long lonely road along side you. On the otherside a simplicity awaits us both which we truly need."

 

Feb 04, 2015 01:14 AM
Jenna Dixon
Momentum Real Estate Group LLC - Marietta, GA
55 & Over | New Constructions | Horse Farms

The teen years are difficult, even without the cloud of bullying.  If you haven't already, get her into counseling.  Self harming, or the threat of self harming, goes beyond the bullying and can create pathways in her brain that can plague her for a lifetime.  Prayers for you and your family as work to lead her through this difficult time.

Feb 04, 2015 01:53 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Jeanne,

Thank you for your support, and your positive message.

Tom

Feb 04, 2015 03:18 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Annette,

Thank you so much for your thought-provoking comments. Your comments about my own feelings in this matter brought back a post I wrote several years ago. I have shared the link for you...

http://activerain.com/blogsview/2795794/you-are-right-where-you-are-supposed-to-be-

As a parent, or grandparent, you wish you could take away the pain from the people you love...but that is not possible. The only thing we can do is offer a safe landing spot for them.

Thank you so much for the time and effort you took to offer your comments.

Tom

Feb 04, 2015 03:29 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Jenna,

thank you for your concern. My granddaughter is being exceptionally well taken care of by health care professionsals. It is now up to my granddughter to determine if she is going to let others steal her joy.

That is an easy thing for me to say. I am not a teenager where difficulties are viewed as big as mountains, and no way to overcome them.

Tom

Feb 04, 2015 03:33 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

"....and God knows there is no such thing as random."

Children with no real experience with adversity grow up in hopelessness. Hope IS a function of struggle. 

As you look upon this child, the ember of hope to be renewed....always be in remembrance...love is not a victory march but a broken hallelujah. 

You will find much help in reading the book by Brene Brown about 'listening.' Both you and your grand daughter can grow together.

Look to Him who smiles upon you.

 

Feb 04, 2015 04:07 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Tell you Granddaughter to LEAVE THE TECHNOLOGY that is causing the agnst for her.  

Stop being on it.  Stop using it.

If she's not on it . . . then they can't cyber-bully.

I am not a fan of drugs and I hope she wasn't given perscriptions in order to deal with this.  They can make the feelings of anxiety and depression worse, and I wonder if it's the drugs exacertabing this.

Building a sense of self-worth is an INWARD journey . . . not OUTWARD.  If we rely on what is OUT THERE to validate us we will always . . . ALWAYS . . . be short changed.  True self-worth developes from WITH IN.  

Not giving a crap about what other people think, do or say about us is the only way to survive.  

Have your Granddaughter call me directly if she'd like.  I was the type of child that had this angst.  I HATED going to school and my Mother would spend hours talking to me about my own personality.

"You must be like a duck on the water," she would tell me over and over again.  A duck can not survive if it allowed all the elements in nature to burden it and weight it down.  A duck would sink and drown if not for the protection of the feathers.  Develop tough feathers, Carla.  Let what others say and do roll off your back . . . you will be able to survive that way."

My Mother died when I was 15-years old.  Not only did she know her daughter, she knew what lessons to leave me.  And she left me with plenty!  I survived.  Your granddaughter will too . . . but she's the sensative type.  She'll never be a politician, that's for sure!   Built up some tough feathers . . . and let it roll of your back!  She must!!

Feb 04, 2015 04:08 AM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

And no one can convince anyone of anything.

My Mother would say "I can talk to you until I'm blue in the face" but unless I DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT . . . changes would / will never happen.

You can't convince your granddaughter about life.  You can let her know that she is not alone going through the ups and downs of it.

Not sure where she lives, but there must activities for young girls that take their mind off the Internet.  Is the church doing any outreach for girls in the same situation?  Your granddaughter isn't the only adolecents having difficulites crossing the threshold into young adult-hood.

Feb 04, 2015 04:10 AM
William Feela
WHISPERING PINES REALTY - North Branch, MN
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

My prayers are with you.   There is no secrete pill.  My brother went through this and he found one of her real friends and started doing some very special things with them...she got past it after  while, but it took some work and family love.

Feb 04, 2015 01:11 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Bill,

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Tom

Feb 04, 2015 10:13 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Carla, thank you so much for all the time and effort you have put into your replies. They are most appreciated.

You are so right that the individual is responisble in how they react in these situations. As Joel Osteen would say, no one can steal your joy-you simply give it away.

My granddaughter is unplugged, switched schools, seeking treatment...all that good stuff. Now she needs to forget all the hateful things that have been said and done to her.

As I said, it is just not easy to watch. I feel horrible for her and my daughter.

Thanks again!

Tom

Feb 04, 2015 10:19 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Thomas Craig - Joel Osteen was never a teenage girl  and I think that people/peers can steal the joy of a young girl because they are still very impressionable and haven't matured yet.  They don't know how to create that peace that passeth understanding, and they don't know how to hold on to it as a result.  Many adults don't either.  Pity.  I think it's an acquired skill . . . LOL. Upon maturity and acquiring that skill set, joy sure enough shouldn't be given away!  She's still too young, vulnerable and impressionable, IMHO, to create, know and retain that self-joy.   As mature adults, those words hold true!  So true!!

I'm so glad that you, your daughter and your granddaughter have taken steps to heal.  It's not easy.  I was threatened by a group of girls because some boy, whom I didn't even realize at the time, liked me.  One of the older girls stalked me.  She cornered me on a few occassions.  But, I built up my feathers as my Mother taught me.  Once those feathers are built up, and we are mature, we can open them up, which is what you and your daughter are doing to your granddaughter, and hope that you can provide the young'ens protection!!  

Feb 05, 2015 02:44 AM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Carla,

I think you are right...I don't believe Joel Osteen was once a teenage girl either.

While one of the main reasons for writing this piece (and candidly, I thought long and hard about posting this since is is so raw with me...I just felt totally exposed) was to see if someone could provide a kernel of wisdon that I could share with my granddaughter to help her.

But there was also a part of me that wanted to reach out to others to caution everyone out there reading this that we need to be extemely careful in what we say and do to those we encounter. We may be the straw that broke the camel's back to someone living on the edge.

Maybe those parent reading this could take a moment to sit down with their children and have a teachable moment conversation with them about being careful about how they treat others.

We just never know the burdens others may be carrying. Each day presents us all the opportunity to be a blessing ,or a curse to someone.

Anyways, thanks everyone for your concern.

Tom

Feb 05, 2015 11:45 PM
Tony Morganti
RE/MAX Crossroads in Cuyahoga Falls and Stow, Ohio - Cuyahoga Falls, OH
CRS, ABR, SRES - Cuyahoga Falls, Stow

Hi Tom -

You are very right about how harder it is for teenage girls than for teenage boys.  As a parent of both I can truly appreciate the points you make.

Feb 06, 2015 01:01 PM
Thomas Craig
KW at the Parks - Orlando, FL

Tony,,

Our daughter gave us a run for our money too! Thanks for sharing.

Tom

Feb 07, 2015 08:31 AM