Monthly Archives: July 2016

Useful Advice on Co-parenting with a Narcissist

Useful Advice on Co-parenting with a Narcissist

Narcissism is a growing mental disorder these days. Many partners do not realize that they are getting involved with a narcissist, until reality ensues up, and they decide to separate. Any divorce can be mentally upsetting, plus, dealing a narcissist can be really difficult. Co-parenting after a divorce can be really daunting. Considering the emotional pain that you already have gone through, you already have issues to deal with. However, you do not have the liberty to sit brooding over your past, especially if you have a kid. Moreover, you would want to protect your kid from the same turmoil that you have gone through.

Any typical parent will give unconditional love, but with a narcissist, it is conditional love; only until the children behave as per his/her demands. It is going to be your struggle solely to give a normal childhood to your kid, since the narcissist parent will never overlook his own selfish desires.

Tips for Co-parenting with a Narcissist After Divorce

Keep your conversations limited
Narcissists love drama, and hence, they might engage in hateful talks, or try to demean you either on the phone or in person. The best way is not to respond, and be neutral. Do not let their thoughts and actions hurt your emotions. Though it might seem difficult not to react, remember that you have to protect your kids, and it is not worth wasting your time and tears over such people. Speak regarding matters that are related only to parenting and your kid. If there are any disputes, ask the other person to refer to the parenting schedule. There are high chances that they will not follow the schedule, and expect you to be accommodating as per their whims and fancies. However, do not let your mind lose control, at all costs. Think through your brain instead of your heart. It is easy to be impulsive, but you do not want your kid suffering. Do not respond to degrading texts. Use written/documented communication wherever possible.

Avoid clashes, especially in front of your kid
Any kid who has to witness his parents fight undergoes immense emotional chaos. You do not want to bring him up as a damaged personality with low self-esteem. Do not raise your voice or have a quarrel in front of your kid. His childhood deserves to be protected. Do not let the narcissist drag the child unnecessarily into your tiffs.

Hire a legal expert
While co-parenting with a narcissist after a divorce, try to get a good attorney. However, sadly, there might be chances that financial problems may limit you in affording a good attorney. Do not, however, lose faith. If you think he is not performing well, consider a second opinion. Protect your kid from becoming a scapegoat, for the narcissist parent may compel your kid to speak lies or badmouth you. He will try to take the kid’s attention as much as possible, but when it comes to their needs, a narcissist parent will always keep his own life and priorities before anyone else. Your kid cannot get selfless love from him. Hence, as a counterpart, it will again be on you to take the responsibility of showing the love. Kids need to be told that they’re loved unconditionally by you.

Seek therapy
Seek therapy for yourselves as well as your children, Do not, in any circumstance, let the kid get involved in adult matters. Do not demean your partner in any way. Your narcissist ex-wife/ex-husband might inflict injustice on the kid, and hence, it is your duty to undo whatever bad has been impacted. A narcissist parent is very possessive of his kids. He will want them to behave like him. You’ve got to undo a lot of things that has been done to the kid. A narcissist is extremely possessive, but will see his kids as a medium for the achievement of his dreams.

Be a good role model to your kids
Being a good model to your kid is of utmost importance, since what you say can damage them and their innocent hearts. Though you cannot control the behavior of the other parent, it is necessary that you do not condemn or say hateful things about them in front of the children. Stay strong, they’re learning life’s lessons in their own way. Be the perfect role model for them to look up to.

Document everything
Most importantly, get your legal documentation done. Do not leave scope for any kind of ambiguity in the agreement, and strictly adhere to it. Narcissists tend to be selfish and self-obsessed, and hence, might consider your or your kid’s emotions to be trifle or worthless. Document everything that the other person says or writes. You can use it as reference later in case of any disputes.

Other Tips
► Look at the positives of life and be in the pursuit of happiness.
► Under all circumstances, do not let him bog down the confidence of your kid, much as he has done to yours. Protect your kid from being the scapegoat. However, do not encourage negative talk about your partner, since he/she is equally the kid’s parent as you are.
► Accept that he is not going to change. Avoid conflicts, and do not let your emotions go away. Sometimes, they can create huge drama about the divorce.

Books on Co-parenting with a Narcissist
Divorcing a Narcissist: Advice from the Battlefield by Tina Swithin
This book describes the author’s own battle to protect her two young daughters during the divorce proceedings, and the struggles that followed.

The Narcissist As Parent by Drew Brett
In this book, the author describes the story of a family whose children are severely damaged emotionally due to a narcissist parent, and their struggle to find a ray of hope.

Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Karyl Mcbride
The author of the book, Dr. Karyl McBride, is a psychotherapist, and this book is specifically meant for those daughters who have faced emotional turmoil in the hands of their narcissist mother. She describes her own struggles of being a daughter of a narcissist mother.

As a non-narcissist parent, the burden is on you to relieve your child of all the emotional stress that he has to go through. So, you need to be strong and firm, however difficult it might seem. Be happy, because you want your child to grow up as a happy child. The mentality of the narcissist sociopath is his problem, and not yours. He/she is not going to change, and you need to take the strings of your life in your own hands.

Ways to Get Your Teenager to Open Up

Ways to Get Your Teenager to Open Up

Think from a Different Perspective!
You may feel bad when your teen stops confiding in you. But you need to take it with a pinch of salt, and think of it as a normal part of growing up into an independent adult.
You start talking to your teen, and unknowingly the conversation drifts and ends in a fight, or you bombard him with questions that he just answers in one word. Sounds familiar? It will, if you have a teen in your house who is the master of one-word answers, and has suddenly become moody.

As toddlers, and even as pre-teens, they would talk freely and share every little incident in their lives. You would feel nothing but blessed. Slowly, as they crawl into the teen years, the ‘open book’ that they once were becomes closed with a padlock.

You just cannot get them to open up and talk to you. When you want to start a conversation, they get annoyed. They don’t want to talk to you, and simply become allergic to you. After coming back from school, they simply rush into their room, only to come out for dinner, and again rush through dinner, only to go back to their computers or cell phones.

Don’t feel low! Buzzle is here to help you out with a few suggestions, when dealing with a clammed-up teen.
They are Growing Up, Accept it!

➥ No matter how difficult it may be for you to digest, but you have to come to terms with the fact that your lil’ one is growing up fast. While you may think that he is still your ‘baby’, your teen may think that he is already an adult. It is the most difficult phase of life, both, for the parents as well as the teen. None of the players in the game are ready to change their point of view, and this generates friction.

➥ As an adult, you will have to first accept them as friends/mature individuals who are trying to be independent. I don’t see any reason to be worried about it, because at some point of their life, they will have to move out and live life independently, and that’s what they are getting prepared for.

➥ One more thing that you need to acknowledge is that, even they have their good and bad days. So, if your teen seems aloof, there is no need for you to rush to help him out. Just let him figure out the solution to his problems on his own. Treat him like an adult. Trust me, it will work!

They Have Different Likes and Dislikes

➥ Your teen has definitely inherited your DNA, but he is certainly not a clone. If your choice of music is soft and soothing, and your kid’s choice is loud and disturbing, there is no need to freak out. Nor is there a need to insult or belittle him, because what seems to be disturbing music to you, can be relaxing for him. Accept the differences and respect them as you would do if he was a friend.

➥ If you, as an adult, are not able to change yourself to like or at least accept a different perspective towards things, then how do you expect your teen to change his way of looking at things. Being the experienced player of the game, you need to have that ability to bend and adjust, because your teen won’t! Keep this in your mind. Not only acknowledging the difference in choice, you will also have to start liking what they like… I’ve elaborated on this point in the next section.

➥ A little word of caution! Even if you give your teen the leeway to live his life the way he chooses to, the permissive behavior should only be for things that are correct and harmless for him. If his behavior is becoming unacceptable, then you may have to put your foot down.

Like What They Like!

➥ Teens usually like to remain in-sync with the things happening around them. Be it movies, music, fashion, video games or sports, they know it all. Parents usually do not have the time to catch up with the latest in social media, and this is the main reason why teens show aversion to talking with their parents. They think that their parents are dimwits, when it comes to understanding their lifestyle.

➥ For bridging this gap, you have to start catching up with the latest trends. Search on the net, ask your friends, or grab the latest fashion magazine. Do anything it takes to be with the wave, even if it eats away into your tight schedule. I’m asking you to do this rigorously, because it is only then that your teen would acknowledge your advances to strike a conversation. Just ask him, “Are any of your friends interested in watching Man of Steel over the weekend?”, and he would be floored.

Talk on All Topics

➥ No subject should be taboo. Talking openly on any topic that your child may come up with, will convey to him that he can ask any question he needs an answer for. It will also build a foundation of trust, and it would become easier for him to come up with a variety of genuine concerns.

➥ This is an important point to remember! Talking to your teen on whichever topic he brings up is the first step to treating him as an adult. In case you get stuck in a situation, where your kid has asked you a rather awkward question, face it, and answer it simply and honestly. Never shun the question.

➥ By talking freely to your child, you will be able to create a feeling in him, that he can count on you whenever he needs you. You will make him realize that you are as good as his peers, and therefore, he will not look elsewhere for answers when he is emotionally needy. It is really crucial in building closeness and getting your teen to open up and talk to you.

Listen, Understand, and Then Speak

➥ Communicating with your teen is an art that needs to be learned the hard way. When your teen starts venting out his feelings, let him do that completely. If you interrupt, chances are that either he won’t listen, or your interruption would put him off, and he may withdraw from the conversation. Therefore, let him speak out and finish.

➥ Secondly, you need to respond in a non-judgmental way. No blame-game or reiteration of those sentences, that start with, “See, I had told you …”, and end with, “… you never listen”. Even if his revelation has hit you in the face, don’t show it. Don’t lose your composure, because if you do, it would just frighten him, and the conversation will stop.

➥ Start analyzing the situation from a third person’s perspective. See if you can come up with a workable solution. Don’t just jump in with random solutions and advice. The usual parenting rant may do more harm than good, and may make your teen feel incompetent. Let him brainstorm solutions. You can help, but let him think for himself and take good decisions.

Try, But Not Too Hard!

➥ Sometimes, you may just have to accept the times when your teen’s bedroom door is shut, and he simply won’t talk. It’s just a passing phase, and would eventually pass. But till that time, you have to be patient and wait. You may feel the need to knock on the door and ask if anything is bothering him, but wait! Don’t give in to the temptation.

➥ Constant nagging when your kid is upset or brooding over a problem, may add to his anger, and he may just blow up. It may also make your teen resist talking even more. That’s the last thing you would want to happen… right?

➥ If you just leave him on his own, he will sooner or later realize, and may come out to talk to you. Just make sure you are available when he feels the need to talk to you. When he approaches you and starts talking, keep in mind the points you read in the previous section.

➥ Apart from that, you should respond by asking him more open-ended questions. By open-ended questions, I mean the ones that don’t end with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and require a more detailed answer. Show interest, but don’t sound inquisitive. Avoid questions that start with ‘why’. Inquisitive questions may send him into a defensive mode.

➥ If your child has come up with a problem, and you remember facing a similar kind of problem when you were a teen, share that instance with him. It not only reminds him that his parents were also once teenagers (with similar problems!), but also gives him an insight into how you overcame the problem.

You may be thinking that I’ve mentioned way too many dos and don’ts, and all this, to just make your teenager open up and talk to you. Yes, it’s you who will have to be determinant, if you want to be like a friend to your teenage son or daughter. There’s no doubt that you will also have to be a parent when the situation demands. But still, dispensing ‘affable parental advice’ is much better than those strict lectures. You will have to learn to strike a balance between the two. Get my drift… being a friendly parent is what is required.

Ways to Deal with Pushy Parents

Ways to Deal with Pushy Parents

I remember watching a movie A Cinderella Story in which a kid was taught to play football since a young age, as his dad dreamed of seeing him play for football championships when he grew up. However, the young boy aspired to go in for further studies in a renowned university, for which his dad did not support him. In the end, caught in a crossfire situation, the boy decided to join the university to pursue his dreams. When I watched the movie, I understood that there was nothing wrong with what the father wished to see his son become, but eventually it boiled down to what were his kid’s dreams and what he wished to pursue. Taking a leaf from his story, parents need to understand that they can’t push their kids to achieve something, which they may have failed to do in their life.

At heart, parents always wish the best for their children, and they strive hard for that. However, while wishing for the child’s good, they tend to get a bit aggressive in their expectations, and that’s where the problems crop up. They start interfering; rather taking the initiative in everything the kids do — right from their studies, choosing friends, to the clothes they buy, and so on. Nowadays, we see parents deciding the schools for their little ones when the kid is not even out of the mother’s womb. It’s good to plan the future for your baby, but leave at least some decisions to them. Let us see how pushy parents can affect the decisions of your life at different stages, and how you can deal with them without hurting their feelings and letting them down.
Childhood

Once kids start going to school, some parents want to have a time-to-time update of their kid’s activities. They want to come to the classroom every day, keep an eye on whom they talk to, know the friends they keep, start telling them how to do their job, and keep talking or giving a feedback to them about everything under the sun. Apart from this, they send their kids for extra hobby classes, as they want their children to excel in every field.

Solution – They are your parents, they will always want you to be the best, and will strive hard to give you the best. So respect that. You are just so small that you are not even aware how big the universe is; so it’s okay to leave the major decision-making to your parents. If you feel that they are coming to your school almost every day, lingering around the corridors, and asking several questions to your teachers, then you can always make them understand that you are doing well in school, and there is nothing to worry about. If they expect you to train in football, and go for your art or piano lessons as well, then you can gently tell them that you don’t want to do all the things at the same time, as it is becoming too much to handle along with the school homework. If talks are not helping, you can always confide in your teacher, and ask him/her to explain your problem to your parents, which can serve the purpose.
Education and Career

When it comes to the education of their kid, super mom and super dad are fully charged. They have all the plans made for you when you were walking your first step, and I am sure that they have come up with the best. So, try to chase the dreams that your parents have seen for you. Parents do have multiple options in their head and can confuse you with what majors to take, which universities to attend, and so on. However, in some cases, it may happen that the kids have some different dreams. Parents sometimes don’t even consider the choice of their kids and may force them to do what they wanted to do in life.

Solution – First, hear out all the plans that your parents have made for you. If you have some different plans for your life, then sit down and talk to your family about it. Be patient and respect their decisions, but put your plan forth, and make them understand what you want to do and why. Many times, you must have planned to pursue something, but you are not aware about the difficulties that you may have to face while pursuing those dreams. You can talk to your parents about that, and ask them for suggestions, which will make them feel good and involved. So, the best way to handle these situations is to sit together and talk. That way, even parents will know what is in your mind, and they may support you if you are going on the right path.

Relationships and Marriage

This becomes quite a difficult situation if you have pushy parents, who you feel are interfering in your decision about which girl/boy to choose, or even worse, not accepting your choice. Or is it about deciding the menu or place of your wedding? Parents who want everything perfect can get to that level and make you do whatever they have in mind. But of course you have different plans. These situations can be quite sensitive and could even lead to arguments.

Solution – I do agree that deciding your life partner is completely your choice, but if your parents are being pushy here, then just hear them out quietly, and calmly think about it. If you feel that they are right about why you shouldn’t be getting involved with some particular person, then go with your parents’ decision. Nevertheless, if you still feel that the person you have chosen to be your partner is “the one” for you, then stick to your decision. Here I don’t mean that you run away and get married because your parents are opposing your decision. You can still get married with your parents by your side. It is your duty to convince your mom and dad, and give them some time because they too must have thought the best for you. Even while deciding your marriage location, your dress, and all other things, be polite when discussing with them. Do not create situations that could lead to problems between you and your parents. Since childhood, it’s your parents who have taken the correct decisions for you when you did not know whom to consult and what is right for you. Now that you have grown up, it’s not fair to do away with their opinions and make them feel alienated. It’s you who is expected to stay calm and handle the situation well.

Grandkids

This is the time when you have kids, and you feel that your parents are being too pushy by constantly telling you how to look after the baby. In this situation, they just feel helpless; they love you and your baby too much and want to be helpful always. They won’t even realize that they are being assertive while taking care of you and your kids. If they see that you are finding it hard to put your baby to sleep, they will come and give you some advice and help you with putting the baby to sleep. When your baby gets sick, you tend to panic and look out for doctor. But you get irritated when your parents insist on some home remedy to make your baby feel better.

Solution – Your parents have raised you and definitely know more than what you know. They are old enough and just want to help you. May be because of the generation gap, they may not be aware of certain things, but they have a lot of experience up their sleeve. All you have to do is to be very patient and listen to what they are saying. If they are giving you advice, then it is surely for your own good, so what’s the harm in trying it out? Allow them to be of help, because they have been doing it all their life; they will feel good and realize that you still care and respect them. Do not lose your temper and say words that you will regret later. You are also a parent now, and just as you are concerned about your little one, they too are worried for you. Despite your age, they still consider you to be their child. Even though they have grown old, they will always be there to aid you in your smallest difficulties.
Keep in mind that your parents adore you and love you come what may, and will never plan anything wrong for you. So, be ready for an open communication, whenever you feel there is a difference of opinion. Pushy parents aren’t all that bad. It’s just the way in which you perceive them. Convey to them that you’re on their side and equip yourself with lots of patience.

Ways to Deal with Parental Favoritism

Ways to Deal with Parental Favoritism

An ideal world would comprise parents loving their children equally and the children consequently having a healthy relationship with their siblings. However, in the contemporary world that we are living in, it is not as we would expect it to be. Hence, there is this genuine issue of parental favoritism seen everywhere. However, before addressing this issue of preferential treatment and giving solutions to deal with it, it is crucial to understand the difference between favoritism and differential treatment. Although they seem extremely similar at the surface level, they have various points of differences, and you need the perspective to look at it properly. While preferential treatment or favoritism is giving more attention to one of the children and offering a positive treatment over others in all circumstances, differential treatment is the way of treating a child in a different manner due to his special physical or mental needs.

When we look at parental favoritism, there are several parameters, like the child’s age, birth order, their personality, and even gender that determine the behavior of the parents towards their children. Apart from kids, surprisingly, even adults are – to a certain extent – victims of favoritism played by their parents. The reasons in this regard could be existence of stepchildren, or it may have to do with education and career-related issues.

Now, since we know that there is a thin line of difference between parents’ differential treatment towards their children and favoritism, it will be easier to cope with the situation. Following are the ways you can attempt to deal with the problem of favoritism.

Analyze the Situation

Before jumping to conclusions, it is extremely important to study the whole situation and determine whether it is really favoritism or you are misunderstanding and looking at things from a different perspective. The behavior of your parents may seem unacceptable to you, but they may not intend to neglect you and give more attention to your sibling. Moreover, it might also be the case that they are dealing with the other child differently, like I mentioned before, and so, it might not be favoritism after all. They do not realize that by doing so, they are making you feel neglected or as though they are favoring the other child. Only when you have enough evidences and are sure about it being favoritism, think of a further move.

Introspection Should Be the First Step

One should always be able to introspect his own deeds (not trying to be preachy) before accusing somebody. For instance, it might be the case that you made some mistake, your parents are trying to make you realize that, and hence the difference in behavior. Try to recollect if anything of that sort has happened in the past, and if you find it out, go to your parents right away and confess. However, if nothing of that sort seems to be the issue, then plan your next move.

Have Your Points Before Approaching Your Parents

I know this sounds a bit off the track, but understand the fact that even if they are your parents and you are their child, any conversation – especially the one like this – needs to have a base. You should be able to point out instances wherein you felt you were neglected or your sibling was given more attention for unknown reasons. This will help you get your point across in the correct and effective manner. It will also make your parents remember the incident and realize if they were at fault.

Communicate

Misunderstanding and miscommunication may worsen the situation and conflicts may emerge. Even lack of communication among the members may result in unfair things happening in the family. Hence, speak to your parents whenever you experience injustice, instead of indulging in sibling rivalry. Tell them that whatever they are doing is hurting you, because they might not have realized it, and if you don’t express, they might not even know about it.

Also, the way of communication should be proper to avoid conflicts and grievances resulting from them that could continue throughout life. Keep your voice low, and be polite in your approach. Maintain proper body language and avoid pointing or using any other unnecessary gestures. They are your parents after all; deal with them respectfully. Also, avoid making direct accusations, as it may hurt them, and if the accusations turn out to be false at the end, they will be even more hurt and you will also carry the guilt in mind for a long time.

Do Not Lose Confidence

Feeling neglected is not the end of the world. It is an issue that can be sorted out in the family itself. I totally agree to the fact that favoritism on the part of parents makes children feel as if they are inferior and cannot achieve much in life. But, believe me, if you deal with it in the correct way, you will be out of it sooner and with a positive result. Be confident about your capabilities, and face the situation courageously.

Believe in Yourself
For the sake of justifying your worth, you may stretch yourself harder and become an overachiever. However, understand that this is not the correct way to deal with the problem, and you may cause harm to yourself. Real love is a free gift, and it doesn’t come with such things. So, be as you are and proudly possess your inherent qualities.

Build Good Relationships

Avoid retaliatory behavior in any case, and try to build a healthy relationship with the favored sibling. Understand that your sibling is also a victim of this act and is emotionally weak, who will be facing difficulties in forming healthy relationships in the future. So, talk to him/her frequently because he/she also needs someone to talk to and release the pressure that is there due to the extra care and attention.

Although it is really hard to believe and accept that parents do not love all their children alike, if such a situation arises, it affects all the members involved in this act, i.e., the child who is favored, the child who is neglected, and the parents themselves. The neglected child goes through a traumatic experience and feels low, while the favored child lacks the confidence, decision-making capacity, and becomes a dependent soul. Also, a kind of rivalry emerges between the siblings, and the favored child receives resentment from the other. The parent gets so involved in the child, that it is difficult to keep him/her out of sight in an extreme case.