Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Raising A Teenage Daughter...

One afternoon last week, I got a text from my daughter.
Could I come pick her and her best friend up at school?
I said I could and I drove to the school within minutes.
As soon as the girls came toward the car, I could tell by their postures and facial expressions that something was wrong.
I asked right away and after a little coaxing, I got the whole story from them before we left the school parking lot.
A tale of an exceptionally bad day involving embarrassment and public humiliation at the hands of some boys.
They were experiencing feelings of hurt and betrayal.
As we talked about it on the way home, my daughter was insistent that we go to the grocery store because she wanted to cook dinner.
After the day they just had, I decided that a distraction such as cooking dinner would be a good thing for them.
Off to the grocery store we went.
I sent them in with money....confident in my daughter's ability to menu plan and shop.
The girls came out with a few bags, looking happy and with plans to prepare a Mexican feast.
When we arrived home, I left the kitchen to them and disappeared to fold loads of laundry in my bedroom...
wondering whether I should continue the conversation about hurt & betrayal.
Sadly, hurt & betrayal are a part of life.
It's how you deal with it and how you go forward from it that matters.
I decided that getting busy in the kitchen with music and preparing a meal with your best friend was a great coping strategy.
I am so grateful that my daughter has a best friend by her side to share the trials of life...the test of hard days.
They really seemed to lean on each other throughout this bad day, and were somewhat quickly able to recover their sense of humour and laugh again.
My mother has always said that you only need one great friend to be happy.
Of course, many great friends are ideal...but one great friend can make the difference.
By the time my gigantic pile of laundry was folded, I was called to supper.
I came down to see delicious chicken enchiladas...
Spanish rice....
and these professional barrista-made-looking iced caramel coffees.
Raising a teenage daughter is full of thought-provoking discussions.
Topics we have discussed at length recently include:
Underage drinking & parties.
Parents allowing underage teens to drink.
Body piercings.
Acne and Accutane.
Balancing school work and a social life.
Being a good friend.
Truthfulness with ourselves and others.
Writing a resume and finding a part-time job.
Plans for the summer.
Making good choices.
Studying for a Learner's Driving License.
Turning the cell phone off and getting a good night's sleep.

And unlike when your children are 3 and 4 years old and you can kind of fudge answers to questions like, "Why is the sky blue?", there is no 'fudging' answers here.
Answers must be real and honest....thoughtful and intelligent...and make sense to a teenage brain that is working through a maze of choices and situations.
I have lain awake at night...hashing out things in my head.
And what I have come to is this....it's not my answers that matter so much....it's the fact that my daughter feels comfortable enough to have these discussions with me in the first place.
That we can share opinions with each other and she can listen to me and I can listen to her.
That's what matters.
And at the end of the day...where we want to be is home....listening to music with people that we love and cooking dinner.

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