Excerpt of Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman
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I'll also describe and explain the key rites of passage your daughter is likely to experience: getting an invitation to an exclusive party in sixth grade . . . or getting left off the guest list; her first breakup with a friend; the first time she dresses up for a party in the latest style; and so on. These are all critical milestones for her, but they're rites of passage for you, too. Just as they can be exhilarating or traumatizing for her, they can be equally challenging for you as her parent, and not just in terms of the extent to which they try your patience; mishandling them can threaten your relationship with her. I'll help you navigate them together.
Moreover, this book will show you how constantly changing cultural ideals of femininity impact your daughter's self-esteem, friendships, and social status and can combine to make her more likely to have sex at an early age and be vulnerable to violence at the hands of some men and boys. It will also explain what you can do to help your daughter avoid these pitfalls.
Understanding your teen or preteen daughter's friendships and social life can be difficult and frustrating. Parents often tell me they feel totally shut out from this part of their daughter's life, incapable of exerting any influence.
This book will let you in. It'll show how to help your daughter deal with the nasty things girls do to one another and minimize the negative effects of what's often an invisible war behind girls' friendships.
Before I go any further, let me reassure you that I can help you even if you often feel that you're at war with your daughter.
It's perfectly natural at this stage that she:
- Stops looking to you for answers.
- Doesn't respect your opinion as much as she did before.
- Believes that there's no possible way that you could understand what she's going through.
- Lies and sneaks behind your back.
- Denies she lied and went behind your backeven in the face of undeniable evidence.
On the other hand, it's natural that you:
- Feel rejected when she rolls her eyes at everything you say.
- Have moments when you really don't like her.
- Wonder whose child this is anyway because this person in front of you can't possibly be your sweet wonderful daughter.
- Feel confused when conversations end in fights.
- Feel misunderstood when she feels you're intruding and prying when you ask what's going on in her life.
- Are really worried about the influence of her friends and feel powerless to stop her hanging out with them. (Because, of course, she'll keep the friends you don't like if you expressly forbid her from seeing them.)
The Mother/Daughter Maelstrom
Moms and daughters seem to have the hardest time with each other during girls' adolescence. Your daughter craves privacy, and you directly threaten her sense of privacy. You feel you have so much to offer herafter all, you've been through the changes she's experiencingand you think your advice will help. Think of your daughter as a beaver; she's constantly cutting down logs, branches, twigs, anything she can find, dragging them to her den, trying to create a safe haven from the outside world. In her eyes, you're always stomping on it: asking why the logs are there in the first place when you have this nice one that would look so pretty; rearranging the branches; hovering around the entranceway yelling your suggestions and saying that it would look much better if it was just a little more organized. You're not just totally disturbing her peace, you're storming her sacred retreat.
While this privacy war is natural, it creates a big problem. Girls are often so focused on resisting the influence of their parents that they rarely see when their peers are influencing them in the wrong way. Teens often see things in very concrete, either/or ways. You, as the parent, are intrusive and prying, which equals bad; her peers are involved and understanding, which equals good. She pushes you away, making even more space for the bad influences.
Excerpted from Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman Copyright© 2002 by Rosalind Wiseman. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.