A clique, as we all know, is a group of tightly woven friends who pride themselves on simply being together at the exclusion of everyone else. The only thing more uncomfortable than approaching a clique (usually a group of giggly or snobby girls and self-intoxicated guys) is being shot out of a cannon directly at a brick wall. Had I only been shot at brick walls as a teenager, I might be a little happier today. I've noticed that friendships in general are a lot easier to form and maintain for guys than they are for girls.
If you're worried about a teenaged son or daughter who doesn't seem to fit in...take heart - and read on:When I was already a mom with kids of my own, I re-met Anne, a girl who had been in my fifth grade class and every class after that, but who had been so quiet that I barely knew she existed. She came over for dinner one night with her kids. My husband asked her how she had liked the kids at the schools we had gone to together. Her answer was simple - - but to me it was stunning. "I didn't have anything in common with them," she said. Here we were, two girls in the same school who both felt out of it. But I had blamed myself. I thought must not look right, act right, BE right because I wasn't popular.
There was one boy named Elliot who was in my classes. He was a smart kid. I would call him almost every night to help me with my homework. We went through algebra, trigonometry, and calculus together. We laughed a lot on the phone, making fun of our teachers. We talked about the books Siddhartha and Steppenwolf. We talked about our parents. But I never ever considered him a potential boyfriend. Even though he was fun on the phone, Elliot was basically a nerd. He was short, he wore white socks, had braces, played the oboe-and got good grades. I also got good grades. But for some strange reason, I tried to keep that a secret from my friends.
There she is. All smiles and charm and wide gestures and tilted head. Sparkling eyes, loud-ish giggle. Great clothes, great style, great posture, probably great looking. Of course, you can barely see her because she is surrounded by what looks like a bunch of Secret Service agents, but you know she's there. Everyone does. She is the popular girl. And while you may make fun of her, you and your best friend, when you are sure no one can hear you - how shallow or petty or fake she is, I'll bet that for at least five minutes every day, you wish you were her. Or at least, her best friend. Someone who slept at her house sometimes, tried on her clothes.
Hey, you know everybody wants to be cool. We wanna look cool, have cool friends and do cool things, but did you ever wonder where the term "cool" came from? What does "cool" really mean? Anyway, when I asked my history teacher if I could do my term paper on "The History of Cool", she kind of stared at me, rolled her eyes and walked away. So rather than waste this very cool theory of mine, I figure I'd share it with you. The history of cool is like the history of the bagel--everyone wants to claim they invented it. So I figure my theory is as good as any. As I see it, somewhere around the Paleolithic Era (that's Stone Age for you illiterates), the idea behind the word "cool" came into being.
Our 16-year-old son is at boarding school and comes home on weekends. When he does, he and his 10-year-old brother fight like cats and dogs. The dinner table, which used to be a nice place with easy give-and-take, has turned into one long argument. I know this is because the little one wants the attention he's used to and the big one wants to talk to us because he's not home most of the time. How can we satisfy both their needs and end this constant fighting?
Dear WholeMom, I have two daughters, aged 17 and 16. Lately they appear not to like each other. The 17-year-old doesn't like her sister's friends and lets it be known and not very nicely. The 16-year-old takes it very personally and fires back in a nasty tone. This is getting worse and now they don't seem to like anything about each other. The younger says she needs to move away for a time to get away from her sister because she "can't take it anymore." I think they should work things out but have run out of ideas. Neither has a nice word to say to the other and life here has gotten miserable for everyone. Moving out is not an option as there is no place to go.
My friend Elaine is 36 years old but she has not yet learned to sit. She can stand, occasionally, but generally, she's in motion. She is chasing her two-year-old, wiping chocolate off her four-year-old daughter's lovely face, or teaching her seven-year-old to ride a bike or her nine-year-old to jump rope. She is outside with them all afternoon, or inside, baking or doing projects. When the kids go to sleep, Elaine cleans or paints something. Thursday nights, she cooks two full meals (feasts, really) for her frequent weekend guests.
Dr. Michael Tobin's prescriptions for a healthy parent-teen relationship prompted many reactions from our readers. Though some consider the article "a pretty good description of kids and parents today", other claim that "it just won't work" in their circumstance. Here is a sampling of the responses we received.
I'm 15, and I'm scared of my Dad. He used to hit me hard when I was in elementary school whenever he got angry, or sometimes he threw me against walls. He stopped doing that in 7th grade because he realized I was old enough to report the "violence". Even though he's not hitting me anymore, I'm still scared of him. Now, whenever he gets mad at me, he just makes hitting gestures, like lifting his fist or belt, and screaming and then cornering me. I know he won't really hit me, but it's already frightening enough to know that he always has a temptation to do it, and he's only holding himself back. God forbid if one day he can't hold himself back I don't know what's gonna happen to me. He told me that in those exact words, "If I ever fail to hold back my temptation, I swear you will end up in the hospital!" I've tried talking to him heart-to-heart, but he always ends-up saying that he can't help it, its just the way he naturally is. He knows how I feel already, but it's like a habit for him, or something. How can I adjust? - Scared of My Dad
Nicole is 13. Her older sister Jenny is 15. They're getting ready for school. Nicole: What did you do to your hair? It looks weird. Jennie: Why don't you just shut up? Nicole: Did you cut it? You cut it yourself? Mom is going to kill you. Mom, Mom! Jennie: Just shut up. Leave her out of it.
QHow do you communicate with teenagers who keep seeing each other in a bad light? Two of my children, aged 17 and 19, attack each other verbally every day. There is lots of blame and negativity and it rips me apart. I try to teach them to give the benefit of doubt, but they consistently assume each other's intentions are bad. How can I effectively help my teenage siblings to get along with each other? Guest Expert, Jackie Goldman, M.S., answers: My feeling is that you cannot play the role of judge and jury.
Ed and Caroline are in the process of getting divorced. Tanya, their 13-year- old daughter, is discussing her feelings about Ed's new girlfriend, Laurie. Ed met Laurie when the car she was driving skidded and crashed into Ed and Caroline's front hedge. Laurie is a divorced mother of a three-year-old and a five-year-old.
It's true. More than half of all marriages end in divorce. Probably half the kids in your class have only a mom at home. But knowing that didn't make it any easier when your dad walked out. It's not fair. Your Mom and Dad couldn't get their act together and you have to suffer. Maybe you even think that you could have done something to stop it, or, when you're really feeling down, you might even think that it had something to do with you. It didn't. First, I'll set you straight about that one and then give you some advice on how to get through this tough time.
Brandon, 6 1/2, comes home one evening to discover his Daddy is leaving home. He can't understand why his parents can't solve their problems without his Daddy moving out, and he's wondering if he is to blame. I don't understand. Why did Daddy move out last night? I came home from school and he was taking out a suitcase. It looked like he was crying! Anyhow, he kind of messed my hair and said he'd see me on the weekend.
More than half of the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. So there's a good chance that either you or a friend of yours has parents who are splitting up - or who already have. Divorce hurts. I don't need to tell you that. You might feel a lot of pain and be very sad. You also might feel like you're going through this all alone.Well, you're not alone.
Lindsay: I can't tell you.
Lindsay: I'm in shock. I'm out of my mind. I'm going to kill somebody.
Gillian: What are you talking about?
Lindsay: I saw her.
I want to live with my dad and his new family in the new house he bought them. I feel left out of his life, but also responsible for my mother, because my dad is always doing things to hurt her. I will have no place to live if I don't stand by her. The problem is, I don't like her or love her; I just pity her. I want him to stop hurting her, so I can go and live with him and have fun and a good time, not always hearing all the problems she has with where to live and all the bills she has to pay. What can I do? - Responsible for Mom
Brandon, 6 1/2, comes home one evening to discover his Daddy is leaving home. He can't understand why his parents can't solve their problems without his Daddy moving out, and he's wondering if he is to blame. I don't understand. Why did Daddy move out last night? I came home from school and he was taking out a suitcase. It looked like he was crying! Anyhow, he kind of messed my hair and said he'd see me on the weekend. Lyn kept pulling on Daddy's pants and wouldn't let him leave, but Mommy finally stopped her from running down the steps after him. They were both crying - Mommy and her, and I felt like crying too. Why does he have to move out? They said they weren't getting along anymore and needed a "separation".
More than half of the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. So there's a good chance that either you or a friend of yours has parents who are splitting up - or who already have. Your Stories (Children of Divorce) Divorce hurts. I don't need to tell you that. You might feel a lot of pain and be very sad. You also might feel like you're going through this all alone.Well, you're not alone. Just look at what Brandon's going through. You're probably older than him, but some of the things he says are true for older kids too. The stuff I'm going to say needs to be discussed with your parents.
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"The Battle of Parents and Teens"