Do what my dad did to me when I was a teenager in a similar situation. He told me that if I wanted to come home, I had to follow his rules which meant I had to go to counseling and at least make an effort to be part of the family. If I wasn’t willing to do those things, then I wasn’t welcome. I consented to what he said but I did not completely live up to my end of the bargain. I did go to counseling and make an effort so he let some of the other things slide.
Cupfullofkindness, to answer your question, we do very little as a family. We just recently started having regular family dinners 3 nights a week or so. That has been great, but the angry kids don’t participate. Sometimes the rest of us will play games, or watch a movie, things like that, but again, the angry ones do not join in.
It is a good start.
We have been in counseling as a couple for some time. It’s helped both of us. My wife was not inclined to insist that the kids come until just recently, but they are absolutely resistant to the idea. I too, am a bit worried that forcing them to counseling might have little or no effect - or even worse! What do you think?
Counseling can be good or bad depending on the child, the counselor, and the overall family situation. When we were kids, we went to family counseling and it was just plain horrible. My oldest siblings seemed to get a kick out of telling me how much they hated me and everybody else. I had one sister that always got sick or stormed out. My parents tried but the counselors were at a loss and many of us kids were resistant because we saw our parents as the cause of all of our problems. They were very young and immature so they put us kids in situations that kids should not be put into.
Why they are so very angry is not just a puzzle to me but to our counselors and to my wife. It seems that being kind and waitng patiently for it all to blow over has had the negative affect of having their feelings and disresctful habits become more and more entrenched.
I don’t think it will blow over if you wait patiently. There are so many reasons kids can be angry. What kind of school do they go to? There was a lot of stuff that went on in school that contributed to the anger of me and my siblings when growing up.
There was also the fact that my parents were so busy trying to survive and keep their relationship alive that we often got overlooked and ignored and put in situations where bad things happened. For example, my mom sent me to the store with a family friend and the guy took it as an opportunity to feel me up. Another friend picked my sister up from school one day and then proceeded to rape her. Did any of us ever tell our parents? Nope, we didn’t tell them because we didn’t feel it would do any good. I am not saying that you and your wife have done these kinds of things, I am just using these examples to illustrate that a lot can happen in the life of a kid that a parent is unaware of. If a kid does not feel like they can open up to you, you may never know the source of their anger.
Another contributing factor to our anger is how my mother talked about my father. She made all of the older kids scared of our dad. They always went to her and made her the middle man. Instead of talking to dad directly, they went to mom and still do to this day. They have some kind of weird hatred and anger towards my dad that would go away if they would just sit down and talk to him. They have made up their minds about him and are unwilling to see anything good in him no matter what my dad does. It is sad really because they are missing out on so much. My dad is a really great guy that gets sold short more often than not. Based on what you have said, you sound a lot like my dad.
BTW, I am in my 30’s now so I have a little bit better perspective then when I was a kid. My older siblings have never been able to gain that perspective for some reason.