Saturday, April 17, 2010


How do you talk to a teenager.....? How do you give them information that they will actually take to heart?

The bullying situation blew over after a visit to the assistant principal and subsequent mediation between the two girls. A boy was at the heart of the matter and he has continued his duplicitous behavior, however, my neice isn't listening anymore. Finally.....

But, I see her running in the same circle, over and over again. She's really smart and mature for her age, but she cannot see the circle she keeps making. She feeds off of drama and I know that it is the nature of teen girls, but I KNOW some teen girls manage to avoid do they do it? How can I help my niece see that it is in her best interest to avoid the drama? Her dad hates the drama and to that end virtually ignores his daughter (she's got some serious anger around that, too).

I've talked until I'm blue in the face about the bullying and what constitutes getting into someone else's business and whether or not she has the right to butt in....she always says it is in the name of defending herself or a friend....which to a certain degree is admirable, however, a cop-out is a cop-out and that's what her 'defense' theory sounds like to me.

I don't want all of my contact with her to be about me 'talking to her about her behavior' and telling her to mind her own business, because, well, eventually she will quit listening....if she hasn't already.

I see her headed for another broken heart....the boy she truly has feelings for has little patience for drama and I think that her propensity for getting in the middle or rather, making drama is going to be the end of his feelings for her....and perhaps for any boy liking her for any long period of time.....(not that I believe that is the be all and end all for her happiness, but at this age boys are soooo important to a young girl).

My heart is heavy tonight....I want so desperately for her to be happy and to be a successful human.....



Delena said...

I believe part of the answer is what you have already said, her dad ignores her. She may use bullying and drama because she feels she has to be strong and independent while inside she wants her dad to notice her, whether it is in a postive way or negatively. Teenagers really do want attention and even rules. Mine sure did. They thanked us when they got older. Both of us did not ignore a thing they did. Iam sure you know this is just my opinion only and of course I don't know the whole story. Good luck and tread softly to keep your communication open with her.

Robert said...

This issue scares me. Have you read Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons?

Dayne Gingrich said...

This is a topic I talk to my teenage students with ALL THE TIME AT NAUSEAM!

Teenage girls and drama are as much a part of their lives as makeup and shoes. Sure, some manage to dodge some of it... but it always seems a way to find them once in awhile. Sounds like your niece is more than "once in awhile."

What I've learned, is that we can't continue to lecture to them about why they shouldn't... or how it'll hurt them with this and that. Yeah, it's important we tell them, and they know... but the action to NOT is (and always will be) up to them.

Continually lecturing them is like banging our heads against a wall... we'll never win, and our heads will remain bloody.

Instead, I've learned to explain to them in detail what the consequence of (X) will be, and "get ready to live that consequence!" I talk about living up to their actions, rather than me trying to stop and change them... for them.


It's all about teaching them about the real world. Do, act, behave like (X)... (X) consequence will happen, period!

Switch the model you've taken with her... help her understand that what she does will create certain reactions... and then let go of all the emotional attachment you've been feeling. They're her decisions, and she needs to learn that the consequences are also hers to live with.

There comes a time where they have to simply learn to learn!


Brian Miller said...

hey there. dayne said some good things there...i will add, she's you niece, you have a window a mom doesn't have. she doesn't need another mom. do something fun with her, buid that relationship back, be there when she stumbles, hear her side, share yours and let her decide. said...

The hardest part about parenting (or "aunting") is talking to your child, laying out how you feel about things, sharing your experience, offering guidance, and then stepping back and letting them make their own mistakes. What's critical is being there, non-judgementally, to support them when they stumble. That's the best gift you can give them.

Pat said...

Wow - you're in a hard situation. I do think your niece needs attention from her Dad. Can you talk to him about that?

Also, both Brian and Dayne gave you great advice.

Talk about consequences. Be there for her.

Cyndy said...

My first reaction is that it is time for a change in her environment, even if she doesn't want it. And it sounds like you, Aunt Shannon, are going to have to help to make it happen.

Whether you take day trips, weekend adventures or just afternoon/evening hours together, it is time. It doesn't all have to be Disneyland, either. Go volunteer at a soup kitchen. She might not have her dad available to her emotionally, but there are many who have much less. She will learn to count her blessings. Visit a museum where visual stimulus can create conversation. Go grocery shopping together where she can pick ingredients for a meal or treat that she will make with you. Get physical, get silly. Find a laser gun place and shoot the heck out of each other. Play a little one on one basketball. Watch a sappy chick flick and cry together (Beaches or Stella, both w/Bette Midler, good cries and laughs, Marley & Me tears are for dog and much more, StepMom, just to name a few that are tried and true in this house), spa day, etc...

The main thing is that she has gotten herself into a situation where she is not in control and is causing and reacting to her environment. She has to learn that high school is not forever (thank God!) and that someday it will be just a distant memory. She has to learn who SHE is, and not who others think she is. This is only going to happen with a distraction and change...

strwbrykiss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
strwbrykiss said...

Everyone above me has listed great options, however, speaking as an older teenager (fresh out of high school drama) myself, I feel as though I may have a different approach.

Everyone experiences bullying in their lifetime and despite it being horrible and incredibly hurtful, it is also something that does in fact make us stronger. I know I know this isn't really helpful for what you need right now, but what I believe she needs right now, are her friends, or a friend. Give her a day at your house with her friends over doing fun things and just having a good time because reassuring her that she has friends that are there for her and that make her happy, will make things easier to handle.

I personally also do not get along with my father well and as much as this is hurting her, having him ignore her due to circumstances that are out of her control at the moment, makes her to feel for blame about all the drama so tell her it's ok and that it will be sorted out.

She is obviously close to you if she at least told you about what was happening. So instead of constantly talking to her about bullying and constantly pressuring her (which just makes us angry and feel really alone) do something together, but not necessarily interacting. Going out to see a movie, or even sitting at home with her and watching with ice cream. She needs to know that she is able to now just be with you without having to talk about it.

When you do feel the need to talk about it, don't talk about it in the middle of a happy moment, we will be angry you ruined it. Approach us about it when we're in our room listening to music or something and just try and make what you're talking about relate-able.

And as for this boy, as much as you don't want to hurt her feelings, sometimes blunt is best. Just say "well look honey, if you were dating him would you really want his tongue shoved down your throat for all the world to see? is that appealing?" and if she says no then good, kinda go on, but if she says yes, then say "ok, but why would you want it there after it's been in that gross mouth of that girl?" that she most likely wont say yes to. She will still have feelings for him just because she's a young girl and it what happens, but reassure her that yes, she likes him and yes, dating a guy right now would be nice, but dating a guy who would do anything to date her, is way way better and soon enough, there will that guy. And, soon enough, there will the point where all of this drama that is happening now, will be laughed off by her because she are strong enough to not let it get to her.

As for now until that time happens, all she needs to do is be confident in herself,let her she's beautiful with random simple compliments (because she is undoubtedly feeling bad that he isn't picking her, therefor doubting herself and her appearance) and just let her know that all these girls who are being mean and nasty now, with their attitudes, are going to be in the nasty jobs later but that she will be successful because if she proves strong enough to handle this, then most other things will only be a small challenge later.

Personally one of the best expressions i have heard, that has helped me deal with drama in the past is this "You are beautiful today inside and out. So for today just be beautiful and leave the ugliness to those who choose to act in its path."