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.
I read something once where a Mum was feeling awful at having to reprimand her daughter for something (can’t remember what). Apparently in answer to the girl’s angry YOU DON’T LOVE ME!, Mum replied, ‘I do and always will love you. I just don’t like you at the moment, but it’ll pass’.
I think I might use that next time. But honestly – a Hot Chocolate makes everything better.
Anything chocolate makes everything better!
It’s funny how you saw yourself as lonely in a crowd when others did not see your loneliness. From little things that a few of us have discussed over the last couple of years I think we all just skated through school trying our best to get to the end without truly knowing what each of us were going through. It is, however, a testament to us all that we can still call ourselves friends after all these years. Not a year went by after school until when we caught up again that I did not think about at least one person from our group of friends and wondered what they were up to. I am so happy that you have given ‘daughter’ the opportunity to learn and grow in an environment so unlike what we had….and she is thriving. You can’t get away from the teenage angst, but hopefully it won’t be as bad. Much love to you and your family Jane! 😀 xxx
I am extraordinarily lucky to have you Jo and a few others that I still hold close to my heart. This blog is an opportunity for me to write thoughts that I dont think I have even voiced out loud.
And as for ‘teenage angst’ if Daughter is anything like me there will be much more to come!
Lol…well she seems to be headstrong like you, so I am sure that you will not get out of things scott free. But on another note, I do know that you have the ability to see things the way they are, even your writing shows this. So while things can be said in the heat of the moment you have your experience to guide her. There will be days that she will hate you, but most of the time she will love the fact that you are there no matter what 🙂
I loved reading this post because it makes me feel like I am not the only one going ‘what the f…..’ when it comes to 11 year olds!
I think we are doing great things for our kids and they keep proving to us that that they can do anything we throw at them. I’d love to have a big glass of wine with you to talk about it……I’ll just have to wait for that Turkey holiday. Your both doing an amazing job x
I think we are both doing great jobs considering we are both on the other side of the world!!! I cant believe that we never met at the Dem and it took Julia’s cardiolates class for us to cross paths (welll until you broke that pesky ankle anyway).
PS if there is wine being supplied you need to bring it as the wine here is far from great.
Happy belated Birthday girl.
I hear you Jane, but sometimes you have to do crazy things like cardio laties to meet great people (and break your bloody ankle!!?)
I will bring the wine, look forward to it x
When it comes to their future, it’s taboo to tell your child that they can’t do something—we tell them all to be doctors and lawyers. The upshot of this social climate is a small percentage of extraordinarily lucky, content, and self-congratulatory children-turned-adults (?) gazing down their noses at an unlucky, yet equally hard-working majority. The toll on those failed individuals, and their families, is enormous—yet we continue to breed our children to be nothing short of brain surgeons, star athletes, and astronauts, inviting failure and disappointment of equal proportions.
The Turkish attitude is either more realistic or simply not so hyper-competitive. This is not to say that all of the young Turkish adults I’ve met have been “well-adjusted,” but they generally aren’t making habits of drinking heavily, abusing prescription medications, or otherwise basking in self-pity. I think that striking the proper balance between ambition and realism for your daughter will certainly be an easier task where you’ve come to reside. And though your daughter may be in her room, “rebelling,” I commend your active role in what seems—to me, at least—building a healthier environment for her. Cheers.
I agree wholeheartedly. Watching Daughter here reminds me of my childhood. We played in the streets, rode bikes, visited our friends and ran a muck having fun. Do you remember fun? I cannot recall watching Daughter have this much fun in a very long time.
Yes it is not so competitive here but that is not to say that the parents do not have expectations. I agree that they are a lot more realistic.
I now get to see my Daughter grow up happy – I think that is the most important thing.