Getting to Know My Teen One Status Update at a Time.

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As my daughter approached her thirteenth birthday, I was horrified to learn that I didn’t know her at all. I looked at her and saw the little girl I gave birth to. I think I was lost in the memories of her youth.  My heart broken when she called her friend to share the latest gossip rather than sitting down with me to discuss the day’s events.  I found it increasingly difficult to be a part of her world.

I was spending a lot of time trying to get close to her, and the result was the exact opposite.  I was pushing her away.  The more I asked her about her friends the more she yelled at me.  When I commented on her status updates she called me a stalker. She was resenting me for intruding on her life.

My daughter and I were becoming enemies.  The tighter I held her the harder she struggled. Finally, I gave in and stopped prying.  With out my constant questioning I was getting no information so now she wasn’t mad, but I was completely in the dark about everything. There had to be a middle ground here.

Or maybe not….

I did make a lot of mistakes with this, my first child.
For instance, I bottle fed her. Maybe the lack of antibodies, skin to skin contact, and bonding messed up her delicate brain chemistry.  Or maybe the fact that I tried CIO with her ruined all trust between us, and this monster that stands before me in the shell of my sweet daughter is the end result. Maybe still it was the pesticides in her food. After all, I didn’t know about organic or msg when I first had her. Perhaps, I have failed her and should simply accept the fact that she hates me and I deserve it because I went terribly wrong during her formative years.

No. I refuse to accept that! Sure I made mistakes, but isn’t parenting an evolutionary process? Don’t I get to make a few mistakes and get to learn from them and be an active part in my child’s life? Yes. I think I do.

But how?

Here is what I have come up with. First, approaching her with questions make her feel attacked. Then, like an angry, scared animal in a corner she lashes out with a venomous tongue that stings. Instead, I read her status updates on the internet. But, I don’t reply to them. Nothing is more embarrassing to a teen than his or her mom shooting a “lol” on a status update. So, how do I use the updates to my advantage? Like a stealth ninja, I watch and wait for a time to bring up the info. My daughter has a horse at her dads house. So if I see an update referring to her horse I can ask if she has been riding lately. This is like a golden ticket to a conversation with her.  Almost any information can be turned in to a question that I can use to fish information out of her. 

Also, I let her come to me.  This works very well because she has learned that when she needs me I am there, but other than that I let her be.

Obviously, this only applies to those things that are not important. Things like sex and drugs must be talked about, but she doesn’t look at that as invasive to her personal life so she tends to be fine during those talks.

I hate that I have to have her status updates texted to my phone so that I feel like I know her, but I do feel like I am approaching our delicate communication situation in the best way that I know how.  Anyway, it seems to be working so far. 

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