Mom's been after me for awhile to share my thoughts on our blog. Here I am, finally. She told me that she's been asked several times by readers about how I felt during our separation and what she could have done differently to help heal our relationship. She believes that what I went through, too, can help other parents and kids. I hope so.
First, I'd tell parents to give your kids space. Lots of it.
The more Mom pressured me back then, the angrier I'd feel. Her pushing even seemed to accelerate my anger. It sure didn't help me. What I needed most was time and space to understand and process everything that had happened. I remember how infuriated I'd feel after I heard she'd contacted the lady I worked for.
See, I'd had a vision of The Perfect Familly, and that was us. Then one night, it was all taken away. The loss was a substantial blow to me. I felt so angry. I was in the house where Lindsey, my sister, and I had grown up. It was the physical boundary that had held our family. When Mom left, she left our "tribe," so to speak. Afterward, she'd e-mail me or call like crazy. I eventually blocked her e-mails, and that actually made me feel good. Real good. She was the one who wanted to leave so why was she still trying to contact me? When I blocked her e-mails, it was like shutting the door behind her. That felt great.
At the time, I really wanted the space, and Mom eventually gave it to me. Later, she e-mailed me again, using a different address, but she wasn't as aggressive as she'd been before. She came across less desperate and frantic. Which helped me feel a lot less pressured. So later on, when she invited me and one of my friends over for supper, I accepted. With my friend there, I felt less awkward.
In a nutshell, that's the main thing I'd tell parents: back off and give your kid plenty of space. E-mail and text them occasionally. Give them time to process the anger and pain that they're dealing with. They'll come back to you. When they're ready.