I am the mother of an almost fourteen year old girl. To date, I have been incredibly proud of the young woman she is growing into. She's an individual. She's artistic. She loves to write poetry. She isn't afraid of what anyone says about her or the choices she makes. Overall, she's a pretty good kid.
Why am I complaining? I'm not, but I will tell you this: she has the worst taste in friends. I blame myself. We sheltered her when she was small. We didn't do play dates. She was the firstborn and only grandchild on both sides of the family until she was ten. She didn't go to daycare until she was four. She had very little interaction with other kids until she headed into school.
Right about that same time she started to play with some of the neighborhood kids. All of them were girls. All were within two years of each other's ages. Now my daughter is a Capricorn, and anyone who either is a Capricorn, or knows a lot of Capricorns can tell you that they are headstrong, powerful, influential and even a bit bossy. No offense. Bossiness can be a great asset. Maybe one day she'll be a world leader. THe thing is, when she would play with other kids that side of her always got overpowered. She felt insecure and unsure of herself around them, so a lot of the time she got bullied.
In first grade she asked to invite her first friend over. This girl was the epitome of nasty. She refused to talk to my daughter for an hour while she was at our home because my daughter didn't want to swing on the swingset anymore. They quickly became BFFs All through elementary school my daughter and this little nightmare were friends. Then we bought a house and moved away the summer before sixth grade. That limited how much time they could spend together and my daughter started to hang out with another girl that was friends with both her and the evil girl.
For her twelfth birthday party my daughter decided to have a big slumber party since she had a much bigger room than in our apartment. She invited 9 girls to the party and 6 of them spent he night afterwards. At three o'clock in the morning I woke up because my daughter was in her bedroom crying over something the evil girl said.
That ended their friendship. This gave her more time to focus on the other girl. For the most part she seemed nice. She was a little shy, but she and my daughter had a lot of musical favorites in common and they both liked to stand out in a crowd. The thing is, this girl was really needy. She liked to try and control my daughter so her focus was always on them. Typical teenage friendship, but this girl has taken a turn for the worse in recent days. She's actually 8 months younger than my daughter and just turned thirteen. She's got a boyfriend that she's been talking about having sex with. She's been smoking pot. Today she was expelled from school for having cigarettes in her backpack.
My daughter wouldn't tell me why the girl was suspended because, and I quote, "You won't let me hang out with her anymore."
Well duh. Seriously, the last thing I want is for her to get involved with a group of people who are making bad choices. She says that she knows about peer pressure and we should trust her, but statistics show what happens to kids who run with bad crowds. Maybe she won't drink and smoke pot herself, but what happens when she gets into a car with one of those morons and they kill her?
Call me paranoid, but this is exactly like one of those curses my mom laid on me when I was sixteen. "You're going to grow up and have a daughter just like you!"
I wasn't an angel, and my daughter is an angel compared to my behavior all those years ago. That is why her dad and I both worked very hard to teach her about life firsthand. On one hand, I don't want to deny her the freedom of learning and making her own mistakes, but on the other, I don't want her to make the same mistakes her friends are making. I don't want her to make the ones we made either.
Kids. I swear.