Daughter and I have had a fight. I can hear her now in her bedroom belting out Simple Minds “Don’t you forget about me” and I just want to go in there and throw her ipod out the window. At 11 I find her headstrong and on occasion completely out of line. I wonder what on earth she is going to be like at 15 – which was how old I was when I first saw the movie that made this song famous – The Breakfast Club. A movie about teenage rebellion and clichés. It had it all. How about the freeze frame last scene with Judd Nelson raising his fist to the sky? “Fuck you!” Oh yeah I loved that movie!
I remember wanting desperately to be just like Molly Ringwald, pretty and popular flirting with the jocks but all the while longing after Bender (Judd Nelson). Many would say I was probably more like Allison (Ally Sheedy) but deep down I really longed to be Molly’s character Claire.
An old friend put some high school photos up on Facebook a little while back which gave me a good laugh but honestly I would not repeat my school years if I could at all escape them. Lonely in a crowd – that is how I saw myself.
When deciding to move to Turkey one of the factors taken into consideration was to remove Daughter from the “First World Dramas” that children seem to go through these days. Social media, bad behaviour, general bullying – going to school is like navigating through a mine field. It is not just a school either. Children are pressured to be the best, the smartest, the fastest, the most beautiful and if they are not the smartest or the fastest or the most beautiful they, of course, take that failure to heart. Can anyone say Helicopter Parents? Children do not have time to actualize and understand a social situation before another situation (good or bad) presents itself. The pressures that children find themselves under must be huge and we learnt the hard way with Daughter. Two years ago I found a small gap in Daughter’s hair. It was the size of a 20 cent piece. Within days so much of her hair had fallen out that we had to consult specialists. Daughter had been diagnosed with Alopecia Areata no doubt brought on by stresses in her daily life. Two years on her hair has grown back although her curls have disappeared and her hair is now dead straight.
We recently watched an episode on 60 Minutes Australia which highlighted a young girl who committed suicide due to social pressure and bullying. Daughter was a little distressed after watching the story and confided in me that since being in Turkey she has not been bullied nor felt the need to be the bully and “it’s been a bit of a relief to be honest Mummy”. I forget just how much pressure Daughter has been under since moving here. She had no Turkish to speak of and has had to adjust to not just a new language but also to a new schooling system. She has had to forge new friendships and continue her education all the while speaking this crazy ass language.
A wonderful friend gave me some advice before we left which was that if Daughter found one good friend at that school she would be set. And thankfully she has found not just one friend but many.
I realise that I should give my kid a break. Maybe I will make her a hot chocolate (after all its bloody cold enough) and we can muddle through her homework together (I hate the homework) before her Turkish teacher arrives for her afternoon lesson.