Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Awkward Teenage Years

When I was about 14 or so, my life became a train wreck. 

For lots of reasons, but mostly because who I wanted to be was not who my parents wanted me to be.  Everyone goes through this rebellion, I know.  It was awful and exasperating and I hated every minute of it.  There was a lot of animosity on my part and relations between my parents and me were strained for a long time.

When the husband and I had the girl, we [half] jokingly discussed sending her away to boarding school for the awkward teenage years, so we wouldn't have to deal with her. 

The girl turns 14 in a few days.

We are now in the process of applying to boarding schools.

We're doing this for a lot of reasons. Not because we don't want to deal with her, but because we want her to have the opportunities we never had. Mostly. And partly because, you know, absence makes the heart grow fonder.  Distance has become important in our relationship.

I have come to understand, these past couple of weeks, that I get along A LOT better with the girl if I don't directly talk to her about stuff.  I kind of circle around and play hard to get and let her come to me.  Like a wary kitten or something.

This saddens me.  A lot.  Because the girl and were CLOSE.  So very, very close.  Talk about everything all the time close.  And I know that the point of her growing up and becoming her own person is that she has to distance herself from me.  I know this intellectually, but emotionally it's hard to deal with.  I love my kid and I want what's best for her and I want us to keep talking and talking and talking.

But I guess I have to settle for loving her and wanting what's best for her and waiting. 

Waiting for her to come home to me.


  1. my father once told me that he considered sending me to a boarding school. i see why, but in retrospect, i'm glad he didn't. 'course, i went to a really amazing high school that not only had a challenging curriculum but drew its students from all over town, so it wasn't clique-y or homogeneous. there are benefits and burdens to both, i guess.

    fourteen seems like so long ago, but i guess it wasn't, really...

  2. oh my. is that expensive? how far away will she be?

    I can see why you'd be nervous. it will help her mature in the long run though!

  3. Magnolia, I think it's going to be good. She's gone to a magnet program since 1st grade and would continue on in that program if she stayed here. But . . . these boarding schools are amazing. Just incredible.

    Andygirl - DEAD EXPENSIVE. But! I had no idea until I started checking that a number of them will give full rides depending on income. AMAZING. The closest she'd be is about 45 minutes. The furthest? 14 hours.

  4. I happened to follow you here from Secret Society of List Addicts, and it's kind of funny. I was super close to my parents, especially my mom, my whole life, and I've just started the separation/rebellion process in the last couple years (I'm 24). It's really difficult and expensive too, with all the therapy. :) So I imagined it's really hard that your daughter is pulling away, but maybe it will be a lot easier to do it now than later. It sounds like you get that and are making a good decision. Best of luck.

  5. Katie Mae - Thanks for stopping by. I think the worst part of parenting is learning that you have to let go. Good luck to you, too.

  6. my mom and i were enemies throughout my high school drama days. we became best friends after i left for college, and have been ever since.

  7. This one tugs at me. My oldest will turn 17 in a few weeks. It's been a bumpy, painful ride these past five years. Things are getting better in small walls; I'm seeing signs of hope for the future.

  8. I've got a a 14 year old girl too, and I love the kitten analogy. Spot on.

    Which makes it tricky for me, as I'm a dog person all the way.

    But we're muddling though it. Isn't easy...

  9. As long as you don't try to drown the girl in a bathtub or any of the other trashy tabloid ways to easily ruin your relationship with your kids, I bet she'll come around.

  10. The closeness will return. My mom and I had such a hard time when I was 14 to about 18. I did boarding school of a sort-I went to college at 16. Having the increased autonomy and responsibilities of college really improved our relationship. Good luck!


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