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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 10:01 am | Fair 55º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: BF and BFF Limits at 10 Years Old, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Feeling Lost

Question from Vera

I’m 10 years old and I have a boyfriend. My mom knows and is fine with it. But last Thursday, we almost kissed. We have been boyfriend and girlfriend for two or three months. So, tomorrow is the last day of school and I want to give him my phone number so we can talk and have him come over. 

My third-grade friends always take pictures of me and him walking to the bus and send them to my parents. In one of the pictures, he was helping me carry something but it looked like we were holding hands. They send them to him and post them on Snapchat. How do I tell them to stop without ruining our friendship?? — Embarrassing BFFs

Weezy

May I start with this question ... ? What the heck are third-graders doing on Snapchat?!! Just because no one in their homes is saying NO to them does not mean that you shouldn’t.

When you stand up for what you need, you are not jeopardizing a friendship. You are strengthening it. Your friends will come to respect that you are not a pushover and that you respect them as much as you expect them to respect you.

Say, “Please don’t take pictures of me without my permission and please don’t post pictures of me and my boyfriend. We would appreciate a little discretion and privacy here. Thanks, very much.”

You are very young to have a boyfriend, so be careful and keep things age appropriate. This is your childhood. Make sure you use it well. Its roots will feed and nourish your entire life.

I’m sure that all of your friends find your dating relationship to be completely fascinating. It’s probably a lot like watching a romantic movie, only they know the stars! Nobody wants to hurt you. They are simply getting carried away. So be friendly and clear and ask for what you need.

A true friendship requires various ingredients, including honesty and respect:

(The NED Show video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Ellen

My 22-year-old daughter has moved back home. I spoke to her about contributing and making changes because when she left the first time it was not on good terms.

Well, within one week, she quit her job with no notice. She just stopped going. She is hanging around an old high school friend who was and still is bad news. She is disrespecting my home again, leaving cigarette butts in the driveway, refrigerator door wide open, the list goes on.

Two days ago, she leaves with this girl to go to a park with beer. I call her to show my concerns. I point out her poor choices in life, not showing up for work and acting like a teenager. I tell her that it’s time to grow up. She did not like what I had to say.

Then she shows up at the house later and wants this girl to stay the night because her mom did not want anyone at her house. I once again showed my concerns about her behavior and immaturity and poor decision making. She got mad and yelled profanity at me in the driveway and left.

During all this it was mentioned it would be best to not come back. It’s tearing me apart. My heart aches for a relationship with my daughter. What do I do??

Weezy

Yes, your daughter is making some poor decisions, and, excuse my candor, but so are you. Your instinctive yearning to have a relationship with this young woman is calling all of your shots. In helping your daughter succeed at life you are going to have to be willing to make yourself uncomfortable.

Your daughter may be suffering from depression substance abuse, a generalized fear of becoming an adult or something else. You won't really know until she is ready to be honest with you. That is not likely to happen unless or until you change the dynamic.

If you set terms for your living arrangement and she is in violation of these terms then she needs to go. Terms must come with conditions. They are meaningless without each other.

In your letter you are phrasing things very carefully, as if to indicate that you are endeavoring to be kind and appropriate with your daughter.

I don’t doubt that you have been more than patient despite her pushing every button, but you can not have a meaningful conversation with a child, on the phone, WHILE she is breaking rules.

When she later showed up asking if a friend could stay over, your answer should have been, “No.” Just, “No.”

Do not reprimand your daughter in front of a friend. Within the heat of a moment, and despite every other thought, it is triggering. Simply say no and mean no.

The next day is when you could have privately and face to face said to your daughter, “This is not working out. I love you. I will pay for your therapy. I want you to be happy. But you can not live here.”

Emotions should never escalate to a point where you are hollering, “And don’t come back ... !!!” in a driveway. It sounds like you are working very hard to find the language that will reach her. In so doing you are holding on to your self control until it bursts free and shatters all over the pavement.

You will never be able to communicate clearly while enraged. Wait until a situation has calmed itself before attempting to have a meaningful exchange with your daughter. Then, be clear. Be kind. Be consistent.

She will always be your daughter and you WILL have a good relationship with her, but FIRST she has a lot of work to do. She is 22. She should do that work while living elsewhere. And the two of you would be well served to visit a therapist together.

                                                                 •        •        •

Question from Amanda

So I’m 15 years old, soon 16, and I’m having a bit of trouble growing up. I’ve been crying a lot lately, looking back at old pictures and wishing so hard that I could go back.

Life is no longer the fun it used to be. You see, I am a very creative person. My favorite things to do are play theater games, make plays and film them, have Karaoke nights and pretend I am a performer at a concert, etc. I used to do that kind of stuff all of the time with my sisters and cousins. I had the time of my life! But now, everyone’s moved on.

I go to my cousin’s house now and all she does is watch TV. I never have really hung out with people from school because, as a kid, I’ve always been with my family. It’s what I’m used to.

I want to hang out with kids my age, but no one likes to do the kinds of things I like to do. Only my 12-year-old sister still does. I look forward to her coming over all week so we can do stuff together. But when my sister’s not over, I just sit there at home, depressed.

I want this summer to be different and I don’t want to just sit at home, but I just wish people my age liked to do the things I like to do. It’s the only time I am truly myself and happy.

Weezy

You are at a transitional phase in your life, just between being a young child and a high schooler. It’s a dry patch you hit in that moment before your world begins to open up and present you with a multitude of exciting options.

It’s so wonderful to hear about your interests and your creativity. Good for you. These gifts are a blessing and they will reward and enrich your life immeasurably.

As a little kid you were fortunate to have close family members who shared your sense of creative adventure. Together, you had the freedom to dream and explore your imaginations. Very soon you will unlock the freedom to join clubs and activities full of people very much like you.

There are plenty of kids who STILL share your passions. It’s just that they are a bit spread out and you will find them when they, too, join performing arts activities at your school or within your community.

Rather than wasting energy wishing that people would change, spend it instead finding the people who love what you love.

This can be a fantastic summer! RIGHT NOW, with your parents, Google the words “theater” “film” “youth” and the name of your town. See what is out there for you to join. Very often the YMCA or the Boys & Girls Clubs or Girls Inc. will have summer programs for teens that involve music, film, theater and all of the performing arts.

Whenever you feel like you have reached the end of one road, that’s your cue to look around for turns and corners. Where else are you supposed to be? Where else would you feel truly yourself and happy? Go there!

Friends are fantastic but you do not need them to be creative. Use your alone time to learn or improve your talents. Make your own movie this summer! Start today.

Learn Windows Movie Maker:

(MrTopher video)

or iMovie:

(Eric Timmer video)

                                                                 •        •        •

Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara​. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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