Friday, April 24, 2015

A teenager's confessions



She is such a "young woman" now. Strotting around in her skinny jeans looking fabulous with her long legs. Always looking nice and fresh with well styled hair. Not much make up on but mascara enhances her green eyes and sometimes, like on first day of school after school break, she adds on a bit of pinkish lip gloss... She has followed my advice to just boost the beauty she already has without looking like a clown or something even worse... I really appreciate that.

She serves herself, she cares for herself. She cleans her room... If I ask her to do so. She is always humming on a tune and singing, playing piano and taking out the latest pop melodies by ear. The rest of the time she walks around with a constant ear plug in place and her iPhone in her back pocket. Totally normal, right? And suddenly she can blur out:
"- Mama! You have to listen to this song. It is soooooo gooood!"
Music is really important for her.

When she is in her room, like she often is (behind a closed door with a big "Do NOT Enter!" sign) she plays the music loud. She plays it so loud that the floor, or roof for me being underneath in the kitchen, is trembling... I remember this from my own teenage years. I played "Purple Rain" by Prince on the highest volume possible over and over again for hours on end. Singing along in front of my mirror wall a la 80's, and getting goose bumps all over me of euforia. My Mom never asked me turn the volume down. And so in return I am not asking my offspring to turn it down either.

She is so independent, cool. Has lots of friends and are popular in school. She is smart and mature and she seems to have her own routines. Cuddles are far gone and seldom does she come for help if it isn't to shop for a new top or getting permission for a sleep over. She is growing up.

So when this teenage daughter who seems to be all cool and settled suddenly breaks down in tears after dinner when we are cleaning up together, I feel surprised. And then the confession comes out with a flood of tears tumbling down her cheeks...

It is so hard Mama, she says. She is so stressed. School is hard and incredibly intense and her teacher always tells her to do good. He always asks her about the future, what she wants to do and she has no clue. She just wants to be a kid. Not make decisions for her future. Not yet. And me and Papa always tells her to do good too, and to keep her grades up, and if she fails on one test all her efforts are ruined... That is how it is. And she is scared to fail because she wants to make us proud. She feels pressured and she doesn't know how to have time for studying and everything. And the big test at the end of the year, how will she ever be able to remember EVERYTHING they have learned this year?

On top of it all, she says, she always has to look good, and be cool and funny. Dress in cool outfits and fit in. It's like she can't be herself. She says she can't play and be goofy because then her friends thinks she is weird. And even if she tries very hard to be herself, she does feel insecure and scared to be wrong. Look wrong. Do wrong. And then it is the school camp. Of course... And she's nervous about sleeping in a tent. Being outdoors without a real bathroom. And what if she gets her period that week, that would be a TOTAL disaster... They are supposed to go swimming every day...Jump on trampolines and do rock climbing... Oh how I can feel with her on this topic!

I find myself speechless and suddenly totally off "Mama" guard... and she stands there with black strikes on her cheeks and watery eyes looking up at me. So small. So young. Just a child. So fragile. So totally stressed out as a teenage girl can be. Who would have thought all this was hidden inside of that pretty little thing? And the only thing I can think of doing is to hug her and hold her and tell her: "Thank you for letting me know. I had no idea you felt this way, but now as I know - lets make a plan." Because what else can I do? I've never done this before. She is my first one. The trial and errors child. At least she came to me to confess. That is a good sign. And while holding her close in comfort, I think of all the teenage girls out there that don't feel that they can talk to their parents. The girls that don't have the confidence to say all these things to their mothers for whatever reason that might be, and I'm thinking: I must have done something right after all. We'll get through this, my girl and I.

Kärlek
Annette

PS When asking Nelly Bo's permission to publish this blog post she told me she is so happy to have a Mama who she can talk to. About anything and everything. She told me many of her friends don't even dare to speak to their mothers about needing bras or pads or even products to wash their face or help with dealing with pimples... But surprisingly they can ask their mother's to go and wax their legs or dye their hair at age 13...??? The world is a funny place and I am pleased to hear I have  a great bond with my daughter on this topic.




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44 comments :

  1. Hi Annette, I love your beautiful blog and a chance to experience 'life' in a different part of the world. I have a beautiful 17 yr old boy who felt the same at 13 - he had a very good friend ( or so he thought ) who wanted him to dress, think, BE a certain way or he wouldn't be cool enough to be friends with him! Happily he found the courage to be who HE wanted to be, like his own clothes, music and the thoughts he has on life and has found a select few friend who like him just the way he is. Your beautiful daughter is lucky to have a mom like you - wishing her all the best in this pressured existence they have now, thank heavens for the safe haven of home, love to you both, Susanx

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  2. Dear Annette
    Such an heartshaking post! I'm following your blog for some time by now, but this post urged me to comment. I always like to get some glimpses of your life and enjoy your crochetpatterns, but this post is so touching.
    You seem to have a really great. Relationship with your daughter and I just cant try to have the same thing with my little girl ( she' s 16 month by now😉)

    Grüessli from Zürich
    Annina

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  3. Annette, I love your blog, especially this one about the worries of your daughter. My Drama Queen is now 10 and I am printing your paragraphs on her worries and your response to put up by my mirror as a daily reminder of how to be wise, kind and gentle in my responses to my daughters worries. they might be small and insignificant to me but to her they are HUGE. Thank you for this wisdom, enjoy your spring while our autumn is now well and truly settled.

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  4. It's so hard to be a teenager now, so much pressure.
    She told you and that's good, i be she feels better about things already from just talking to you.

    PS...My dad always told me to turn my music down, I never ever told my children to 'turn it down' although they have told me on a number of times that mine is too loud, lol

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  5. Tears in my eyes, the love for your daughter (and vice versa) is so wonderfull. She is beautiful and I'm sure you both will get through. I really hope my daughter (now 7) will come to me when she reaches that age. (or whatever moment in life she needs comfort)

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  6. Very interesting blog. A lot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that attract others, but I'm most definitely interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.

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  7. What a beautiful daughter you have! I can imagine you was shocked by her tears but I think you both did very well. So true that she's lucky with a mom to who she can go to. And now you can talk about it together and she can learn from her feelings. It's okay to be sad sometimes, cry, talk about it, change some things and move forward. You both just grew in your daughers growing up I think ;)
    Lots of love to both of you from Holland, Wendy
    Wendy's Mhaaksels

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  8. Oh dear Annette I fear it twas ever thus. The teenage years are soooooo hard moving between being a grown up and a child - sometimes several times every day! But you are right, you have your daughter's confidence and are headed in the right direction.

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  9. Annette, your posts always make me cry! what a beautiful words ... and with my beloved daughter ... almost 4 years now ... but adolescence is theme worries me ... I hope she has confidence me when you get this difficult time. I congratulate her for being such a good mother! and her daughter is lovely!
    Thanks for sharing these feelings ...
    Have a nice day ...

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  10. My mummy heart aches for her.
    I am so glad she can talk with you and get advice.
    All I can say is good luck and I hope it will be better.

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  11. Annette you made me cry. Thank you for sharing your situation, and especially to your daugther for letting you. Being a Mum is so difficult. I think I appreciate my own Mum more having seen my two daughters through their teenage years. Having that special bond makes all the difference. Treasure it.

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  12. Wonderful. You have a beautiful girl.
    (Hope she enjoys the school camp ;-) )
    And just another reminder - to extend grace to our kids. We don't always realise their stress.

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  13. Så länge de kommer till en så är det största vinsten, när de stänger ute det är då det blir svårt. Min Ella 9 snart 10 är rädd att tala om saker som hänt, nåt gått sönder eller liknande, så lillasyster kommer alltid skvallrandes, det tycker jag känns läskigt, jag vill ju att hon alltid ska känna att hon kan komma till mig....
    Kram och trevlig helg!

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had a similar experience with my daughter. She seemed so confident and together but the struggle to look good, do well, is overwhelming in adolescence. I'm trying her to let her know we love her, we are here for her, to love herself and know she is wonderful--how do I do that? My beautiful daughter at 15 finally said she was depressed (we were blown away--had no idea, thought she was just being a teenager) and started counseling and finally a psychiatrist with medication. I'm sure not all teen angst gets to this level and we never in a million years expected this. Right now things seem good and I'm very gratefulbut I'm always watching, praying, hoping we are doing things right!

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  15. It's tough being a parent and a teenager. You brought a tear to my eye. I agree, it is great that she can talk to you - and I am sure you will help her through this. Wishing you a happy , relaxed weekend. x

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  16. HAY ROSSE!!TE ENTIENDO TANTO!TENGO UN HIJO ADOLESCENTE DE 15 AÑOS,EL ES TAN AMORORSO,PERO LEJANO A LA VEZ,YA NO MAS ABRAZOS,VIVIA A UPA Y DICIENDOME ME QUE AMABA,ES UN HERMOSO SER POR DENTRO Y POR FUERA,SABE QUE SOY INCONDICIONAL,CUENTA POCO,PERO ES UN CHICO SANO,ESTUDIA Y ESTA EN CASA CON SUS LIBROS Y SU CELULAR,ES COMPLEJO,TAMBIEN ES NUEVO PARA MI,YA QUE MI OTRO HIJO DE 17 AÑOS TIENE UNA DISCAPACIDAD,Y SU VIDA ES MAS COMO EL CUIDADO DE UN NIÑO..NAZARENO DE 15 ES UN SOL DE PERSONA,LO QUE DEBEMOS HACER,ESTAR CERCA PERO NO AHOGARLOS,NADIE DIJO QUE ES FACIL,PERO ES LA MANERA SEGUN ENTIENDO,DIOS LOS BENDIGA,DESDE BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA,VERO

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  17. You just brought tears to this Mama's eyes! I feel like I could have written this! My baby is now 26 and has navigated through these same waters. I always gave her the space to be herself, and let her know I was always there (same is true today and will be always!). Her greatest fear was disappointing her parents. I don't know how or when I instilled that in her, but am so glad I did because that one thought served to protect her and dictate her actions in many situations. She is my best friend and I am hers. I don't think I realized when I had a daughter that I was creating a new best friend. I did not have that relationship with my mother so never thought of it as an option. I missed that feeling with my own mother and tried very hard to be the best mom possible to my girl...never demanding her respect, but earning it instead. None of us has the right to demand respect just because we have the title of "mother"...merely demanding it from a child just doesn't bode well for a long term relationship...it is in earning it that our deepest bonds are formed. Annette, you sound like a magnificent mother...and that magnificence will feed you with a love that surpasses all...for always. One mother to another...love and hugs and keep up the great work! Your sweet girl is a beauty, inside and out!

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  18. There is something to be said for not being cool and having no friends or image to keep up with then! I think I will be grateful for being seriously uncool. My daughter beautiful and talented and clever as she is, is not cool either. Yet she is balanced and happy. I'm just glad about that.

    I think we mothers live vicariously through our children. We want them to be popular and to have kudos because it reflects on us we think. Acceptance of them however they are, is all that is required and the best way a child can grow up to be, is to have the confidence to resist peer pressure and just be themselves. Of course if you are uncool, you don't get that peer pressure because you are out of the loop and no one cares anyway. That can have its own rewards.

    In school everyone wants to be like everyone else. Out of it we try and get past that and want to be different. Trouble is we have spent too much time curtailing our individuality if we just try and please everyone else and fit in to what we think we should be. Sometimes it's best not to be so popular when it undermines our authentic selves. We don't always need to go with everyone else's flow. Everyone should have the confidence to say no, and go our own way when we need/want to. Sometimes other people get in the way of being ourselves.

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  19. You do indeed have a special bond if she feels she can come to you in that way. I am thankful that Abi and I have retained that something special in our relationship and that at 17 she still feels able to confide in me. Our relationship is slowly changing and she is a dear friend as well as a daughter - although the 'Mother' bit is still there when necessary ;-) I hope she manages to grow comfortable with being herself and find that balance between fitting in and yet being herself. Hugs to her from me. Sharon x

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  20. Hi Annette, I have two daughters the eldest 16 and the second about to turn 13 in June. Having an older sibling has helped my younger one but I hear you and can remember going through all those things with my 16 year old. Tears, pressure, school, friends, looks, more pressure, exams, changes all seem to culminate at the same time don't they? I'm always so pleased when one of them opens up about a problem too. Long, long may that last. I'm also one to make a plan. A practical solution can sometimes take the sting out of the angst a little. And revisiting the problem over time to check and double check they are OK. Helping them in making choices for them and not their friends. And one day "puff" they'll be off and away barely glancing backwards. We just need to equip them with as much knowledge and laughter in their lives as we can possibly give them. Confident, healthy young women is what we want them to turn into. A lot to do......... Bex x

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  21. this is a wonderful post. I wish i could save it until my daughter is a teen. (she just turned 5!)
    Good luck to you and your daughter. She is on the right track, which means you are doing a great job! These are links to books i got for my daughter and i when she is older that you and yours may enjoy
    http://www.amazon.com/Just-Between-Us-No-Stress-No-Rules/dp/0811868958/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429881153&sr=8-1&keywords=just+between+us

    http://www.amazon.com/Reviving-Ophelia-Saving-Selves-Adolescent/dp/1594481881/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429881205&sr=1-1&keywords=reviving+ophelia

    thanks for your post!

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  22. I am in my fifties I would have given anything to have had this kind of relationship with my Mom.....Well done

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  23. Being a teenager is so difficult! I know I was always so thankful for being able to talk to my mom over a cup of tea when I got back from school. She'll look back on those times she could talk to you with fondness, I'm sure!

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  24. Dear Annette, You and Nelly Bo are so lucky to have each other. And it is true that such a relationship is not so common. It seems weird that when this relation should be close and make the child feel protected and confident, many a times it is strained, difficult and distant. In my case I was very close to my father and could share almost anything with him (maybe not the girly stuff) and my Dad was always very supportive. And today I am happy that I am more like a friend to my son than a strict parent and he does feel free to come and tell me anything that is troubling him. So while I may have not made the best school lunches or award winning science projects I still think that I am a good and a very lucky mother. Hmmm... I must have done something right, too!! :) :)
    Loved this post. Have a beautiful day.

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  25. So beautiful your post! I'm brazilian, I live in the south of Brazil and I love reading your blog, I love reading your stories and I identify a lot with them. It just shows that, even we live so far away, even if we are grown in different cultures, we go through to very similar dilemmas. (Sorry for any Ebglush mistake). I wish all the best for you and for your family!

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  26. How supported, how bonded, how beautiful is this relationship you are building TOGETHER! She will never feel alone knowing you are ready to listen and care. Thank you both so much for sharing such an intimate moment . . .

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  27. I could have written this myself, word for word, about my daughter, who is 22 now, working and living in her own apartment. I remember feeling all the same things, myself at that age. I would tell my daughter, about the friend issue...."find people who are normal as you". And when teachers put the pressure on about what you want to do in college, at 16 years old mind you, I asked her...."what's your favorite hobby, what are you passionate about", she said, "costume design". So I told her, "well ok, that's what you will major in when you go to college". She had no idea you could even go to college for something like that! You should have seen the look of relief on her face.

    Just keep doing what you're doing....it's working!

    Best,
    Sheila
    http://sheilazachariae.blogspot.com/2015/04/sockhead-hats.html

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  28. A beautiful post Annette. You are not alone. My eldest is 15 and turns 16 in June....all her class mates are already 16 and turning 17....so she's constantly feeling the pressure to fit in....she did the breaking into tears thing too. It's not as easy as it used to be when we were younger.....and we thought we had it rough back then :) She is a sensible girl with a mother who cares deeply so I think you'll both navigate this and come out stronger :)

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  29. I hope I will have such a bond with my daughter's when they reach that age. I think you are a wonderful mom!

    Regards,
    Lianne

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  30. Annette, great post!
    I wish you a lot of patience and love!

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  31. Aren't you blessed to have each other, she finds safety with you even as she tests her wings and tries to flutter away a bit. Bless her heart, so hard to be that age, your body is changing, your friends are changing too but at different rates. One day you want to be little, the next you want to be an adult. She will get thorough this, just as you and all the rest of us did. Be there and have open conversations, and tell her she is perfect jsut the way she is.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  32. I was open and honest with my two girls and they turned into beautiful, strong young women, now 24 and 21 years old. They knew they could talk to me about anything, whatever was troubling them. It is the best thing a parent can do for their child - be there for them. You're doing it right. She is beautiful!

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  33. Lovely post. You have a beautiful daughter and she has a wonderful mama. Xx

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  34. What a moment. It scares me at how much pressure there can be on girls at this critical age range. I'm so happy for you that she came out with her fears. That's beautiful.

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  35. It is a good thing that she is able to converse with you freely, which I was not able to when I was in my teenage.If my mom was like you my life would have been gone in another path. you have been a good mother all these years. kids coming and talking to you what's there in there heart is a great blessing for us and as a teenager she will get through all the difficulties. Hormones make the teenagers to think and act in a in a teenager Always be on her side

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  36. It's great that you and your daughter have a bond and openness to discuss. I have the same with my daughter and she is 12 right now. I hope we will have that bond I n future too. We have discussed girly stuff and with her I purchase things online so she doesn't feel embarrassed in a shop.
    In schools here, we have uniforms and strictly no makeup and braided hairs so she and her friends got used to like that. They however, compensate on birthday parties but still not yet into social pressure from each other.
    She is in 8th grade and I guess I still have 2 years to wait to figure out what she wants to become, it changes every few years:) latest is that she wants to become a palaeontologist but she is worried that by the time she grows up, all the dinosaurs would be done digging up:)

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  37. Writing through tears, I want to say I loved your post. My girls are 5 and 7 so thank you for the tip off. Jo x

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  38. Well you definitely seem to be doing the right things. My mother was always there for me too when I was growing up and even now she is the first person that I call when i have a problem. She is my best friend. I can just hope and pray that I too can be as good a mother to my children.
    Rosie

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  39. So touching. Sounds like you are doing a great mama job! The road is not always clear, but if we do our best we can be proud.

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  40. It is amazing to read these wonderful written lines.
    I hope to share a bond like yours with my daughter one day.
    Have a nice sunday. Angela

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  41. Bless her. I don't have any children but remember the pressure at school and college of keeping up and being popular. I was bullied for being a bit different - taller and a tad child-like. Please tell Nelly-Bo that these others are just jealous of her really - that's why they are insecure and want her to be like them. (Well that's what I think anyway). She is natural and pretty and needs only her REAL friends and her family. They are what matter and having a kind heart too. Anyway - love your blog and hope you enjoy more Swedish getaways.

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  42. I absolutely loved this post...there's so much pressure put on our daughters, much more than in our day. I'm glad she has you to lean on :) xxx

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  43. My dear Annette,
    I can totally emphasise and remember those days of uncertainty well. As you say, the battle is half won when they feel they can talk to us and know we are always there for them no matter what. 'My girl' has just started an amazing job working as the press officer for a racing team and is traveling the world but when she is in a pickle or just needs some comforting words she always rings mum, and the we have a really good catch up chat when I take her to the airports. I am sure you will always be first port of call for you beautiful girl...much more important than any make-up or hair lesson!
    Keep up the good work, you are a great mum!
    Big hugs, Heike xx

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  44. Ha!! Purple Rain....I knew every word to every song and I can still hear my mother (God rest her) yelling from the other side of the house "TURN THAT SH&T DOWN!!" lol.....those were the days. Sounds like we may be close in age, teens in the 80's.

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Thank you so much for visiting my world. I love reading your comments and I do my utterly best to respond to questions and sweet messages. Thank you again for popping by.

Kärlek
Annette

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