Having a teenager, even one that has just started being a teenager, isn’t exactly what most people would consider ‘easy’ when it comes to parenting. Many girls who are sweet and easy going as little kids tend to be wildly the opposite once they hit puberty and their teen years. At least, that’s what I’ve come to gather from my time as a parent and time on the internet. “Oh little girls are great, but just wait until they’re teenagers!”
It was a threat, a warning, all of a sudden I would be faced with something I could have never imagined.
I have no idea what a normal 13 year-old girl is like. I wasn’t a normal 13 year old girl, and the only real example of a 13 year old girl I had was my oldest sister when she was 13.
I’ve worried since then that that was what a ‘normal’ 13 year old girl was like! Considering what the girls at school when I was that age were acting, dressing, and talking like… her behavior wasn’t far off.
When I was 13, a ‘normal’ 13 year old as I saw it was:
- Using pot
- Wearing tons of make up
- Showy clothing
- Having sex. At school sometimes even! The bathroom and behind the bleachers in the gym!
- Going to/having parties on the weekends, getting drunk and talking about it on Monday… and Tuesday.
- Snobby, mean, vicious, self-centered, careless, rude, mouthy, and strange.
I didn’t fit that mold at all.
I didn’t want to show off my body, I smoked only when I was around my one friend that smoked… and she got me started when I was 9, but we didn’t see each other much at all. I didn’t wear a ton of makeup (and still don’t because I am still kind of makeup inept!). I didn’t smoke pot, I wasn’t having sex, and I sure as heck wouldn’t be at a party or getting drunk.
At 13, my life was falling apart as my depression got me to the point of taking far too many Tylenol far too many times in hopes that I would actually die from it. I wanted no part of the world or myself any more.
The closer Kat got to that dreaded age of 13, or heck even having to start middle school, the more worried I got that somehow my polite, smart, considerate, quiet, shy, sweet, creative girl would disappear entirely and become such a strange creature. Someone who I wouldn’t understand in the slightest.
Somehow, she’d become like the kids I was seeing at her school and had seen when I was in school. Or worse yet, she’d become my older sister.
I wasn’t sure how I would handle that possibility, that somehow she’d become this entirely different person, as if magically overnight. That’s what happened right? At least that’s what my worry was.Somehow, suddenly, she’d hate me, hate life, only love her friends, and make me wonder what happened to my little girl.
At the start of this (2013-2014) school year, Kat was 12 going on 13. She’s in 8th grade, so her last year of middle school.
The grade I was in when I tried killing myself. The age my sister was when she started sleeping around with various men and doing all sorts of things that I couldn’t understand why she did.
Would Kat suddenly go off the deep end too? Would she end up so miserable and feeling so alone and lost in the world that all she’d want to do was escape? Did she feel safe to come to me when she was sad, and talk to me about whatever hurt her heart? Could I even handle a teenage girl?!
I actually had been worried about Kat since she started middle school last year. She had the option of starting in 6th grade, or staying at her magnet elementary school for 6th grade. She chose to stay at the elementary school and then do the middle school thing.
Here are the things about Kat as a teenager.
- Has developed a crush on someone, even though having that crush has hurt her heart.
- Has stopped doing choir because the had to pick between only it as an elective, or getting to try other things as well as pursuing art classes as well.
- Now gets moody as she actually started her period, but not too badly, and has come to realize how to vocalize that hey… she’s moody because of it, and can she please have some chocolate? Also.. please cut her some slack because her hormones are being total turds.
- Now has scoliosis with both a 36* and 40* curve, and faces possibly spine fusing surgery if it gets any worse.
- Overcoming her fear of burning herself with the oven, and is gaining confidence at making food.
- grown 2 inches taller than me!
- Gained some hips and no longer wears ‘slim’ clothing.
- Has her own DeviantArt account where she posts her art.
- Decided that she’s going to do online school now.
- Never taken her iPhone to school.
- Still looks both ways when crossing the street, and only at the crosswalk.
- Developed a small liking for cake, just not that often. (she used to never eat it)
- Started being willing to sing in front of people again, she was too shy for almost a year! Now she’ll do Karaoke at my parents place!
- Smiled for the camera and actually let me take pictures.
- Still loves sharing her room with her 10 year old sister.
- Still gives me hugs and kisses at night, and tells me she loves me.
- Manages to feel safe enough to talk to me when she’s sad.
Will I be lucky and have her stay so easy the rest of her teenage years? I hope so. I hope she stays who she is, whoever that turns out being 100%… and doesn’t change and bend to peer pressure and do things that she doesn’t truly feel she should do.
I hope she’ll still hug and kiss me goodnight even when she’s 14…15..16…17… 18?
Though she’ll turn 17 the year she’s going to graduate high school, maybe she’ll live away at college dorms when she’s 18? D:
Thankfully, she’s hate to say that she hates me. She’s yet to yell and scream and go out of control. We talk about how school is going, how her friends are, how her art is going, what music she’s listening to, and how she is feeling. If she’s depressed she knows to come to me, if it gets too bad she knows that I’ll do whatever it takes to help her.
For now though, all I can do is pray that she wont end up suffering from depression like I do.