Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jan 17, 2018

Lady Bird, teenage girls, challenges to parents

Filed under: Parenting 2018 — admin @ 8:40 pm

Today I read this article on Time magazine, “Lady Bird: the pains of being pure at heart,” by Stephanie Zacharek. At some point it reminds me of my daughter when she was in high school, and some of my friends’ daughters.

“At one point, Saoirse Ronan, as disgruntled high school senior Christine, begs her mother, Laurie Metcalf’s Marion, for a magazine at the supermarket: “It’s only $3! I’m having a bad week!” Marion brushes her off, and it could be the usual mom move of just saying no–until she reaches the cash register and you realize that this respectable-looking suburban woman can barely cover the family groceries.

…Metcalf’s face betrays nothing so obvious as frustration or anxiety. Instead, it’s as if every molecule of her body has been, out of necessity, trained to count money. Meanwhile, when you’re a teenage girl wanting a magazine–so you can look at makeup ads, or pictures of rock stars, or fashion spreads featuring clothes you can’t afford but want to ogle anyway–it it among the world’s most straightforward, achievable desires. This measly dream costs $3, and Christine’s mother won’t–can’t–let her have it.”

I’m not here to make any judgment on either the mother or the daughter. I see myself as the mother, the parent and can see the same challenge facing thousands of parents like me.

On the one hand, we want our teenage children to be happy, healthy and ready for their life ahead, and we don’t want to upset them by saying no to them.

On the other hand, I can definitely understand the need to say no to this trivial thing when a mother can “barely cover the family groceries.” Also I can see a capricious teenager would want something else tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. There’s always something new that she wants everyday. Obviously, $3 magazine will make her happy for long, won’t buy her appreciation, won’t buy peace and won’t make us happy. In fact, it will do more damage than help in the long run.

If I had a chance to start all over again, I would teach my children before they turn teen about finance and the need to save for the rainy days and for their college expenses. I would ask them to save for their own expenses.

I would share my financial worries with them, trying to win their sympathy and understanding. With this understanding, they would be less selfish and would be willing to make sacrifice for the whole family. I would teach them the value of learning, the need to eye on the bigger prize, and focusing on the important things at this point of life, etc.

I can’t say I will be better off with this preparations. But I will keep trying and talking and making sense with the teenage children, and always keep in mind they won’t be teen forever.

Good luck, parents of teenagers!

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