Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens

How do you feel about Father’s Day?

Posted by Marcia on June 20, 2010

This blog is devoted to people who are struggling with their children’s behavior, but today I’d like to open the discussion to additional situations.

My dad died when I was almost 13, and Father’s Day since that time has been…odd. When my son was young, this day became something to celebrate again. His dad and I separated when J. was small, and again it was odd for a few years. I married Bill and then J. had Father’s Day with his dad and then with Bill. There seemed to be a lot to celebrate, but it lasted only a few years.

In his teen years, J. was more sullen than most, difficult at best, unpredictable: would we see the charming and funny son or the one with the quick temper?

J. has not lived with us for 3 years, and the last year he was at home was very rough. We don’t speak, although I hope he’ll be ready to have some kind of a relationship soon.

I’d love to celebrate the efforts my husband made in being a step-dad. It’s probably one of the more difficult and thankless family roles you can be in, and he did try to be a good father-figure. At a certain point, I think he felt it was wasted energy, but he still tried. Being the step-parent means you have rules in your head but sometimes the kid/kids don’t think you have the right to enforce the rules. You’re not the “real” dad.

I know what a “real” dad is as far as biology is concerned, but being a real father is more than biology. It’s caring about that child, loving the child no matter the circumstances, guiding the child and knowing that the child may fall and you’ll have to determine if you help that child get up or watch the child help himself/herself. That’s what parents do.
Some dads have to give their kids “tough love” and watch them fail, take drugs, go to jail, be estranged, and hope for better days.

Today I honor all of the real dads out there.

Here are some questions for you, and I hope you write some responses. What’s your best memory of your dad? What did he teach you? If you’re in a difficult situation, how do you cope?

One Response to “How do you feel about Father’s Day?”

  1. stacedee said

    I would like to speak again. I just commented on my choice to be estranged from my father. I want to applaud your husband, Bill, for taking on the role of Step-dad the way you describe. I also had a Step-dad and while his behaviors were in no way comparable to my biological father’s, my Step-dad just didn’t know how to be a parent. And I will admit that I was a tough cookie… I had serious issues when he came into the picture. But I watched him in the beginning to determine if I could trust him. To see what kind of man he was and if he was going to hurt my Mother. I saw straight through him even tho my mother didn’t. It wasn’t long before I discovered that he was sneaky & basically full of crap. So he never gained my respect. And I let everyone know it. It has been said that I was to blame for their divorce because I was definitely defiant, ungovernable (per courts) and just created one problem after another. I will take credit for their relationship failing. Because they divorced after however many years and I discovered not long ago that he was murdered by his next wife. I had not thought or heard of him in years .. I mean 20 years. But an old friend discovered that he married again and use to beat his new wife so badly that she would end up hospitalized with serious injuries. After a couple of years of this, she snapped and stabbed him over 200 times. That’s rage! I read a newspaper article about it and found it fitting that the police did not even bring her in for questioning because they knew the abuse she had suffered and they knew she had snapped. A family member once said that I probably kept so much drama going on that he never had time to focus on my mother in an abusive way. Thats really a true statement but all I ever wanted was some man to actually show up as a husband & father.

    It’s easy to figure out that the men in my life as a child and teenager were just pathetic losers. So I applaud all men who do try to make a connection and hold it.

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