My husband and I have a great partnership and relationship. We also have 14-year-old twin boys. Nightmare! Especially since their actions and attitudes feed off each other.
If one wakes up in a mood, the other follows suit. They’re overall very good boys with lots of friends, active in sports, and doing well in school. But at home they just let loose.
Often, their attacks are aimed at me. One might say that he didn’t like his lunch, the other will agree and they’ll both go on the attack.
When my husband hears this, he’ll tell them to back off – which they eventually do, but not before I get (emotionally) hurt. If he’s not around, and I tell him after the fact, he’s kind and soothing with me, and promises to talk to them.
But nothing changes. I can’t continue like this. Help!
How quickly we forget our own early teens and sudden self-awareness: Body changes, schoolmates’ teasing, pimples! No wonder kids let off steam at homes where they’re safer.
Yes, the teenage years can sometimes be as trying on family members as they are on the kids.
Change the dynamic. Instead of waiting for your husband to defend you, start a post-dinner routine where both parents supervise the kids making their own lunches from a list of mostly healthy choices and a treat.
Remember, teen years bring more interest in independence from parents and more need to “fit in” with kids their age. Example, instead of arguing about their clothes, agree to one of the new “must-have” items.
This is the time when parents should try not to overreact. The kids’ outbursts are an expression of their own frustration. You don’t have to accept outright rudeness, but try to calm the scene. Or walk away, allowing a cooling off.
Listen, instead of reacting or taking it personally when they’re obviously upset. If things escalate, delay any hard confrontation till you all sit down as a family to delve into what’s really going on.
My wife of 10 years, and I have three kids in elementary school. I work out of the house; she works from home. When we’re all together, it’s chaotic but fun.
My problem is my wife. She’s fun, smart, and capable, and I love her. However, she’s gained a lot of weight during Covid, doesn’t seem to care, and walks around in loose clothes that she doesn’t change for days. She’s also stopped wearing any undergarments.
I’m completely turned off. When I do overcome that and try to have intimacy with her, she’s either uninterested, or her body odour is a turn-off.
I miss my wife and don’t know what’s going on with her. I’ve suggested going out, but she doesn’t want to shower and change.
I don’t think she has anything physically wrong but I’m no doctor.
A person who’s stopped caring about their own cleanliness, is likely signalling deep emotional pain.
Your wife needs a physical/emotional health check but if she won’t go, call your family doctor to discuss changes in her behaviour and lack of self-care.
Weight gain during Covid has been fairly common due to lockdowns and anxiety. But your wife’s wearing of unwashed clothing, no undergarments and not bathing herself is unhealthy for her, and a negative example for your children.
Express your worry, not your intimacy needs. If there’s no medical issue, talk to a therapist yourself to discuss how to get your wife the mental health care she needs.
FEEDBACK Regarding the ex-wife upset about her ex-husband’s co-parenting moves (Oct. 29):
Reader – “A traveling salesman who’s choosing to have affairs while his wife’s home parenting is destroying a family.
“Marriage is a promise... to seek counseling, have hard discussions, ask for a divorce if the couple’s irreparably "drifted apart." Not jump in bed with strangers on road trips.
“The "image control" stories by the cheater (who believes it’s partly their partner's fault that they did something that hurt their family) must change.
“Infidelity is abuse, putting people at risk for STIs (sexually-transmitted infections). It’s traumatic.
“It’s so much easier for observers to turn a blind eye to the suffering spouse and assume s/he is a shrew, let themselves go, etc. Until we realize the cheater made a choice.
“No surprise that this guy’s violating fairness around his kids’ holiday custody. He's selfish. One person can easily destroy a marriage.”
Tip of the day:
Teenage twins can be doubly challenging during physical/emotional changes. Parental understanding/guidance is key.