Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9: Tweenage Rage

So, my daughter had a meltdown this morning.  Actually, meltdown is too sedate a word for her behavior.  She had a door-slamming, screaming-at-the-top-of-the-lungs, uncontrollably-weeping, nuclear apocalypse of a tantrum.  It was prompted by my wife waking her up at 10 a.m.  That's right.  All my wife did was wake her up.

I must back track a little bit.  You see, at the beginning of summer vacation, my daughter was staying up until midnight, 1 a.m., 2 a.m.  Then she would sleep until one or two o'clock in the afternoon.  Well, eventually, my daughter developed a case of insomnia one night.  She couldn't fall asleep at her normal bedtime (10 p.m.).  She was awake until five o'clock in the morning, finally drfting off as the sun came up.  Well, from that day, we decided to get her up at 10 a.m, regardless of what time she went to bed the night before.

This morning, she was really tired.  She didn't want to get up and started screaming at my wife, throwing objects at her three-year-old brother (whatever was handy--toy cars, books, pillows).  It was when my wife stepped in to try to calm her down that the bedroom door started slamming.  At one point, my daughter got on the phone with me, crying, saying, "Why do I have to get up so early?  Why?  I'm soooooo tired.  Why?"

My wife decided to punish our daughter for her behavior.  She grounded our daughter to the house for the day.  I have learned that you have to be careful about doling out punishments.  A punishment assigned during a fit of tweenage rage can really ruin a parent's whole day.  My wife is suffering the consequences of her hasty sentence.  I haven't heard from home for a couple of hours.  Either things have simmered down, or everyone is dead.

I worry that our daughter's extreme temper tantrums are more than just normal, hormone-fueled fits.  I worry that what I'm witnessing is the tip of something more serious.  Since my wife was diagnosed bipolar, I've been really sensitive to our daughter's mood swings.  So when she has episodes like the one she had this morning, I start worrying.  About mental illness.  About puberty.

I'm not sure I can handle having a daughter with mental illness.  I'm not sure I can handle having a daughter going through puberty.

Either way, Saint Marty is screwed.

This is a pretty familiar sight in my house


  1. Definitely be aware of the possibility, but as someone who was once a 'tweenage terror' - I can tell you I had a few major blowouts at that age as well. I'd store all my issues and stresses up, however, then bust 'em all out for a party every 6 months or so (much to the chagrin and hair-pulling of my parents).

    Depending on how your wife is when her bipolar episodes emerge, copying a parent in how they handle stresses is not necessarily uncommon either. (I think my father is a bottler too). So - a few possibilities, learned behavior, puberty, mental illness - or a mixture of several of these things. All is not lost. :)

    Just started reading your blog, but enjoy your thoughts and insight.

    1. Thanks for those words. Being new to the whole tweenage girl thing, I sometimes feel like I'm living with a person from another planet. Her moods do make my radar for manic episodes go a little crazy. Of course, my friends tell me it's "normal" puberty stuff, but I haven't lived in a "normal" world for many years.


      Saint Marty