I'm looking for advice about parenting teenagers. This is framed within the specific context of eating dinner as a family but probably this is just a symptom of my broader not-knowing-what-I'm-doing-ness.
I don't (think I) have that many expectations, but one of the expectations that I have is that Odessa and I eat dinner together as a family. I stated this the first night Odessa lived with me and have brought it up at intervals (usually when I'm disappointed that Odessa hasn't come home for dinner) since then.
It is hard to model this as "this is what a healthy family does" because besides Odessa, it's just me. And it is important to me that we eat together because 1. I need to make sure she's eating something healthy (and that she's eating at all), 2. it's when I talk to her about school and her friends and her plans, and 3. that's what a healthy family tries to do.
Two weeks ago Odessa complained about this expectation because it's not what she's used to and she thinks I'm "forcing" her to come home, and also when it get's nicer out, she's "not going to want to come inside." I told her I would think about it, but then I didn't say anything until she brought it up again. When she brought it up again last week, I offered her a compromise, that we could make a schedule of two nights a week that she could eat somewhere else. She didn't respond, and explicitly opted not to respond when I brought up the compromise the following day. I stated then that because she didn't respond, I would expect her to come home for dinner every night until she chooses to respond.
She was at her brother's for the weekend, came home yesterday and ate before I got home, and today went to her bedroom while I was cooking and told me she wasn't going to come out when I knocked on her door to let her know that dinner was ready.
I don't want to "punish" Odessa for not eating with me. I know that partly I need to adjust my expectations. But at the same time, I am frustrated because I come home to a television that is very loud, Odessa doesn't say hello to me, she (very teenagerly) responds to questions with at most one syllable... but she turns the TV off for dinner. I'm terrible at getting anything out of her about school (more than 2 questions and she snaps at me) and have almost no clue what's going on in her life; if I don't have 15 minutes at dinner I have nothing.
I need ideas.
People are Strange....
2 days ago