It Ain’t Easy Bein’ a Teen Girl

Writing about raising a teen is probably not what you’d expect from a mom of a one-year-old, but after a convo yesterday with a mom of a teen girl, the wheels began turning. And after all, I was a teenager once, too, albeit it has been 12 years. Wow!

The mom and I chatted about how this generation of girls are way more extroverted and confident than we were; how their uber-confidence might be a good thing; how one year for Halloween they’re a generic witch and the next they’re sexy nurses; about the super-high drama of being a teen girl; plus, the incessant TALK TALK TALK.

She was telling me about how she caught her daughter and her friends making a “girls gone wild” video with a camera phone the other day. While they weren’t topless, they were scantily clad. Stuff, frankly, girls do together for their own amusement. My friends and I had a ball doing hair and make up, video taping fake talk shows, dance routines, etc. Remember the Cosby Show ep where Vanessa and her spandexed and bra-stuffed gal pals do the dance routine to “Locomotion” and royally piss off Clair? Innocent fun, right?

I’m pretty aware now why we worry about our teens, who really are more extroverted and accessible than we were. I don’t think we’re being overly exaggeratory about our fears. In this age of “To Catch a Predator”, sexting, social networking and google-able neighborhood sex offenders, it’s no wonder parents are freaking.

These are some of the messages I would have liked to have given the younger me, my friends’ younger selves and would like to share with every teenage girl on the planet:

  1. On older guys: OK, look, you think it’s cool getting attention from older guys, guys with cars, guys with facial hair, guys who can drink … legally. I get it. Your boy peers are totally immature and gross most of the time and you’re over it. But listen, that cool older guy, see, he cannot date in his age group b/c he’s a moron. He’s afraid of women and threatened by them, so he’s going where the getting’ is good and easy: teens. It’s like you macking on a middle schooler. Kinda gross now that you look at it that way.
  2. On sexting: Sexy pics to your true love become blackmail when he becomes the guy you dumped for your next “this-time-it’s real” true love. Pics and vids might as be the world’s property once you hit “send.”
  3. On growing up: You want to look like you’re in your 20s, you want to date guys in their 20s, you want a car, money and a really late curfew (or none at all). You can have all of that and you probably will when you get your butt out of high school. But you got it pretty good right now. Enjoy your family, your friends and school. Get home on time. Kiss whatever parent is waiting up for you good-night. Growing up is overrated.
  4. On girl-hating: Whether it’s get attention from your enemy’s boyfriend, starting rumors about your arch rival or swearing off what’s-her-name “forever” over something super petty, girl-on-girl hating is ugly. It seems like we all fall into the trap and it’s usually over a guy who could really care less. Total. Waste. Of. Time. Keep your friends close. You’ll miss them someday.
  5. On the world: Your world is about 15 square miles right now. If you are growing up in a big city, probably 15 square blocks. The world is big and exciting and full of adventures. Make sure getting to know your world is part of the big plan even if you end up “going home” to live out the rest of your life.
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