My family is against me so I have to turn to this boy. [I need to] realize what I have done to myself and wake up.
They've told me that I'll never be anything and have compared me to people they don't like or people who have done wrong in the past. I hate that.
I don't have great friends and I could see them getting me into trouble. But they accept me for who I am and my parents don't.
Developing Your Girl Brain
Parents tell me that one of the hardest things they have to accept is that as their daughters get older, they have less control over which people they hang out with. They hate admitting that they won't be there when their daughters face the difficult decisions that could impact their health and safety. When your daughter was little, she came crying to you when there was a problem and you swept in like a white knight to solve it. Now, you're lucky if you even have a clue what the problem is, and if you sweep in to save the day instead of teaching your daughter how to handle it, she'll either be angry with you for intruding or believe she can't learn to take care of herself. How can you help her? Start by thinking the way she does.
In this book I will teach you to develop a girl brain. It's like looking at the world through a new pair of glasses. Developing this ability isn't dependent on using the latest slang (and it's impossible to keep up anyway). The key to building your relationship with your daughter is understanding why she's turning away from you and toward her friends, and maintaining a relationship with her anyway. And even though she may be acting as if you aren't an important influence in her life, you areshe just may not want to admit it. If you can learn how to be her safe harbor when she's in trouble, your voice will be in her head along with your values and ethics.
The first step is to understand what your daughter's worldthe Girl Worldlooks like, who has power, who intimidates her, whom she intimidates, where she feels safe, and where she doesn't. Where and when does she feel comfortable and with whom? Who does she go to for advice? What common things can ruin her day or make her feel on top of the world? An even harder task is to assess her. What is she being teased about? Why are other children mean to her? Or even harder to admit, why would she be cruel to others? What would make her lie or sneak behind your back? Get inside her head, and you'll understand where she's coming from.
It helps to remember what it was like to be your daughter's age. Remember your experiences, the role models (both good and bad), and the lessons learned from your family, your school, and your culture. Suspend the worry, the common sense, and the wisdom you have accumulated over the last years. Think back to what you were like and what was important to you back then.
Remembering the Lunch Tray Moments
Let's go back to middle school (are you suppressing an involuntary shudder?). Parents, teachers, and other adults are telling you what to do. They're especially telling you what you can't do. You have a close group of friends, but for some reason one of your best friends comes up to you between classes and tells you that one of your other friends is spreading rumors about you. Your face feels hot; you can feel everyone looking at you. Thoughts race through your head. What did you do? Why is she mad at you? Are your friends going to back you or side with her? All of a sudden, a question drives an icy stake of fear through your heart as you stand there clutching your orange plastic lunch tray in the cafeteria line: Where are you going to sit at lunch?
Can you remember what it was like? Not too pleasant. As adults, we can laugh at how immense and insurmountable problems like those "Lunch Tray Moments" can feel when you're young. But in Girl World they're vital issues, and to dismiss them as trivial is to disrespect your daughter's reality.
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.
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