Ah, the trials and tribulations of having a pre-teen in junior high. Kids should come with a handbook when they suddenly change and turn a 180 on you. “How to Handle Your Ever-Changing Pre-Teen” or “Mood Swings – Handle ’em or Bury Your Head”, “Is it Living and Growing on her Floor or is it just Green Make-Up?” or my favorite “Taking the Lie Out of Your Adolescent’s Tongue”. Where are those books when ya need ’em? Oh yeah, right, there are none. Well, not entitled those titles anyway, heh.
Meanwhile, someone please pass the chamomile. Momma needs her some chamomile today.
My 12 year old is/was so angelic, the one everyone would rave about. How great she was. She was troubled, though, in that she sought out instant gratification from food, and fell into a weight-gain spiral that took a few years for her to grow out of, with a lot of gray hairs for mom. Now, she’s 5’1 and very lady-like (TOO lady-like for my liking… they grow too quick!!!) but she’s grown “out of her weight” and is doing better, or so I thought. While he weight isn’t an issue anymore, the instant gratification aspect is still alive and kicking, and scaring me. She’s started replacing food for her friends, privileges and wants, and is now beginning to resort quite regularly to manipulation and lying to get her way. Not to mention, becoming lazy when she’s an A/B Honor Roll student, simply because she feels that kids might not think she’s “cool” because she’s a smart kid, so homework she does stays in her backpack, locker or binder, and she get’s a zero. Or she simply forgets to right assignments down, forgets to study, fails. Typical pre-teen adolescent ‘stuff’ I’m sure, but that doesn’t help my poor aching heart at how misguided she is becoming, and how she is resisting our every attempt at making her see that her friends’ influences don’t have to be accepted, and that they will like her no matter who she is, what color she is, and if they don’t they aren’t worth being friends with. How important education is, at starting her out on the right path, to a good college, good job, etc. That it isn’t about superficial things, it’s about being yourself. It’s so mainstream to fail and be a flunkie that it’s hard to keep a very manipulatable child from assimilating that kind of influence. I’m unsure where I began to lose her on our path to “raise her the right way” but my goodness, does my heart break over all of it. I’m doubling back to get her, I hope I can reach her in time.
In one way, I’m angry. I’m angry because all this time I thought I was ‘doing a good job’ and I feel used, or abused. What did I do wrong? Where have I failed here? Was I too easy on her? Too hard on her? In today’s society, this is probably the norm, but not for us. We’re not exactly what’s considered normal parents anymore. We’re overprotective, we’re old-fashioned, moral, decent, home-grown in that we aren’t into the artificial processing, bake from scratch, etc. We are just so very different in a lot of ways. We’re also a very tight-knit family. We get compliments all the time at how loving our children are to each other. I wonder, is it smothering to her to be different? Does she long to be more mainstream? I don’t think we’re different socially, I think if anything we’re just more aware, and she’s more enlightened than most. But it does make me ponder about the pressures of being a greener family. We’re most certainly not strict with her about the additives and such as we are with our younger ones, who we lovingly refer to as ‘spazzing’ when we have overlooked a preservative in something we served, or an additive we didn’t know was present. She doesn’t respond like they do to those foods, but now I’m beginning to wonder, is this behavior her reacting to it? When kids trade food with her, or she’s being given something else when she’s not at home, or eating over a friends house? Or is it smothering? Goodness, me, I could be here all day asking myself these questions.
I’m currently reading “Family First” by Dr. Phil, in hopes he can enlighten me in the best way to go about helping my daughter help herself. Am I overreacting to all of this? Maybe, but there’s no ‘trial run’ with children, there’s no ‘do overs’. Everything you do can and will affect them negatively (or consequently, positively) which makes it all the more important to lead by example, to lead moral, giving lives. I hope this book helps give me more perspective on the situation. I’m sure it will, I like a lot of what he has to say already. I even read a passage to her last night about his view of his 12-year old friends at this age, how he felt their influence was an ‘escape’ sometimes.
In any event, if anyone has anything useful to say, some kind words to help me through a tough ‘spot’ we’re in, I’d appreciate it immensely.