Yesterday the Princess made a point of informing me I’d embarrassed her at dance class the night before when I’d laughed loudly at something another person in the lobby had said, at a time the music wasn’t going, and the whole class heard. And so it’s happened. I’m the mom. She’s a teenager. I now need to essentially disappear when we’re in public together. I’m just the body driving the car, to be seen and not heard. I started trying to remember all the rules I wanted my mom to follow when I was a teenager, and as a public service announcement to other parents of teens and soon-to-be-teens, I thought I would share them.
- Don’t talk to your teenager in front of her friends. You aren’t really there. She isn’t related to you.
- Don’t sing the lyrics to the latest pop song when her friends are in the car. You’re old, and you’re not supposed to even listen to that music, much less know, much less sing it.
- Just drive. You don’t need to be part of the conversation going on in the backseat.
- Pretend you can’t even hear the conversation going on in the backseat.
- For heaven’s sake, don’t give your opinion
- You’re not funny, so don’t even try.
- Don’t tell her friends what level you’re on of the game they’re playing. Again, you’re old, and you’re not really there anyways.
- Don’t ask her friends questions.
- Don’t do anything which in any way calls attention to yourself.
- Accept your place.
She’s almost fourteen. I have at least five more years of remembering these rules. Does it hurt? Oh yeah, it hurts a bit. I try to remember what it was like….you’re trying to figure out who you are, become your own person, separate from your parents. I know I’m not cool anymore. I’m just an old mom. I also know when her friends aren’t around, she will snuggle with me, giggle with me, be as silly as she ever was. I was embarrassed and hurt that she was embarrassed. My initial response wasn’t awesome, and I will defend my right to laugh when someone says something funny, regardless of whether she’s there with her friends. And there will probably be times I break the rules just to remind her I can, and I am a person, not just a chauffeur.
What was it like when you were a teenager? What rules would you add to the list?