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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


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I will not take sides

By CECILIA A. TUCKER
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 4, 2002


Second of two parts

* * *

My feelings toward my siblings are probably the worst. My siblings don't seem to care that the situation is bad for all of us. Do they think they have the right to mess with our parents' emotions this way? Are they so self-centered that they think only about what they want and what they determine is fair for them?

This is how I feel. I am beginning not even to like my siblings because of all the trouble they create for all of us. Why can't they just comply and make some minimal effort to keep the peace? Do they have to rebel in such a way that it takes money away from all of us because of legal expenses?

I want to tell my siblings, "Get over yourselves and get with the program. It is only a small period of time. Live with it! If you want to be on your own, make it happen on your own. Don't drag what's left of our already fragmented family into your struggle for independence!"

It really is not fun being caught in the middle. I love both of my parents and my siblings. I know my parents aren't perfect, but I also know they are both decent parents. I don't believe a lot of things I hear my siblings say about either of them. I watch people I love pull against each other all the time.

It didn't use to be this way, but somewhere along the line something went wrong. I have tried to figure out what that might have been. Are my parents really so different from families that aren't divorced?

Sometimes this situation makes me feel the most lost, and the most together. I feel lost when the focus seems to be all about my siblings getting their way no matter what the cost. I feel most together by being able to see there are no winners here and resolving within myself to never let this happen to me when I am a parent, no matter what.

I feel lost when I can't get through to my siblings or my parents that they need somehow to grow up and drop this nonsense. I feel together when I figure out how to keep moving forward in spite of their stuck places. I feel lost when I look at the future and wonder how this will all turn out. I feel together when I keep in the front of my mind that I am responsible only for my future and my relationships, no one else's.

I feel lost when I can't fix someone's pain, and I feel together when I keep a close watch on my pain and make every effort not to inflict unnecessary pain on the people around me whom I love.

I am not glad this has happened to our already divided family, but I am grateful I have learned it is not my job to be in the middle trying to fix things. I wish things were different, but I can make that happen only with relationships in which I am involved. I will not take sides. I will not alienate anyone in my family. I will enjoy the time I have wherever I am. I will ask that the gossip and negative feelings be expressed when I am not around.

I will work each day to stay out of the middle by being in the front, showing love and not exclusiveness. I will be first to say positive things about the people who are most important to me. I will be a good example and hope that will catch on with the others. If it does, hooray! If not, I believe I will be the only winner because I will have been true to what I know is right . . . to love others the way I want to be loved!

I will not be caught in the middle any more.

* * *

IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail Floridian@sptimes.com. If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at revcecilia@msn.com.

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