I’ve discovered something about our teens: they cannot all seem to get along at the same time. Someone always has to be the outsider, the one everyone’s mad at, the outcast of the week. I don’t know why. I do know I’d like it to stop, though.
Maybe it’s because there’s an odd number of them: 2 boys and 3 girls. When you get them paired up, someone’s left out. We’ve always made sure there was an even number of guests at birthday parties and sleepovers just to avoid the “one child left out” syndrome, but I can’t just magically add another teen to the family. Some of you are thinking, “Send one away! That will fix things,” and while it would (at least temporarily) I’m pretty sure we’d miss the one sent into exile.
Maybe it’s because none of them have ever had to really share their lives with anyone else for an extended period of time. Derrick was an only child for the first 16 years of his life, as was Chris. Britt has half-siblings, but they didn’t grow up together, so she was pretty much an only child as well. Sissy and Manna grew up together, but spent a lot of time away from each other, either by their own choice or someone else’s. Now, they’re all living together, with the addition of the little girls and us, and they have to learn how to do that, preferably without killing one another.
Lately they’ve also been comparing themselves to the others, in an effort to prove, well, I don’t know what they’re trying to prove. I get a lot of “I did this, they only did that” and “It’s not fair.” Part of me just wants to say, “Life’s not fair,” and walk away, but I don’t. I listen to their concerns and see if there is any way I can make things a little fairer for them. Sometimes I can, and sometimes I can’t. It’s especially hard to listen to when the one complaining that someone else isn’t doing such-and-such is the one that wasn’t doing anything themselves a short time ago. You know, the pot calling the kettle black and all that.
Maybe everyone with a house full of kids goes through this at some point or another. Then again, it may be confined to those whose kids didn’t grow up together. I don’t know, but I will be happy when they all realize they are family and need to be loving and supportive to everyone, all the time. I hope that’s not just a pipe dream.