POSTED ON FEBRUARY 20, 2013:
How to Understand Your Teenage Daughter
From a guy who has no clue
The mind of a teenage girl is an enigma wrapped in a mystery and deep-fried in a riddle. It's no wonder why most fathers are perplexed by how their daughters' minds work. Just thinking about it is exhausting and a little scary, sort of like being on a roller coaster that never stops. Truly, it was not supposed to be like this.
Things started innocently enough. My wife and I were blessed with both a handsome son and a beautiful daughter. My son, our firstborn child, was easy for me to figure out because he was a boy and I used to be a boy at one point. I established my relationship with him early on by letting him know that I am dad, he's not, and if things did not go my way, there would be consequences. He understood that concept, accepted it, and we've been cool since then. My boy is allergic to drama and avoids it at all costs.
My daughter, on the other hand, apparently did not get the memo, email, text, tweet, or whatever type of communication that is hot right now. She had her own agenda from the start. Needless to say, I had to come up with a whole new playbook to even stay on the same field with her.
She had me fooled from the very beginning. When my daughter was born, she was this beautiful bundle of cuteness and I was instantly enamored with her. As she began to crawl, then walk, and eventually talk, she became my "little princess" and I was hooked.
Little girls do something pretty amazing with her father's heart. They take it, throw it in a cell, and hold it for ransom. Once they become teenagers, you are forced to negotiate with your daughter for the sake of your heart. I have seen grainy videos of my heart with tears rolling down its face, reading a ransom letter stating, "She wants an iPad Mini or she promises to make every family outing as miserable as possible."
Okay, so I might be exaggerating, but you get my point. It is hard enough to figure out my wife and she's a full-grown woman. Imagine trying to figure out a teenage girl who has not quite figured out what she is supposed to figure out. If she doesn't even understand herself, then what chance do I have of understanding her? Having a conversation with my daughter about her "feelings" leaves me as confused as Mike Tyson in a spelling bee.
When my daughter was younger, I was Superman to her. Seriously, I could do no wrong in her eyes. Now that she's a teenager, I have become an idiot overnight with no fashion sense and no clue about pop culture. It blows my mind because I consider myself a modern-day Renaissance man. I tweet; I'm on Facebook all the time. I know what Instagram is, and I can sing the lyrics to a few Justin Bieber songs. I am the coolest dad ever!
Still, I get no credit for any of those things. My daughter just looks at me and gives me this smile that seems to say, "Oh, you poor, pitiful man. No matter what you do, you will always be uncool to me."
Out of all the things that trouble me about dealing with my teenage daughter, I would have to say the mood swings are probably the worst. Never have I seen someone go from happy to sad, back to happy, then angry, then back to sad ... in less than five minutes. Adults who exhibit this type of behavior usually requiring some type of medication, but apparently this is just a normal day for a teenage girl. I know better than to ask, "What's wrong with you?" because I will undoubtedly get the same answer, which is, "Nothing." Unless there is some type of physical ailment involved, I don't even ask questions anymore. My wife, who has become our interpreter, will give me the lowdown anyway. The system works.
To say that my daughter is a little dramatic is like saying men are a tiny bit fond of steak. I have to admit, though, that some of her performances are truly Oscar-worthy. To watch her tell a story about something that happened at school is like watching a one-woman play and she nails it every time. It's almost like you're there. However, those same skills can be used for evil, especially when she is trying to get her way or feels she has been wronged. When that happens, I feel like I am in a really bad Lifetime movie.
Yes, I know you are thinking to yourself, "This guy is ripping his daughter to shreds. What kind of father is he?" First of all, don't judge me.
Secondly, if you do not have a daughter, then your criticism means nothing to me. I have been knee-deep in the trenches and I know there are a lot of fathers who can relate to everything I said. Honestly, I still have so much more to go through because my daughter is only thirteen. For example, there is the onslaught of boys I am going to have to deal with sooner or later. My head hurts just thinking about some snot-nosed kid knocking on my door for my daughter's hand. The poor sap that has to deal with me to date my daughter had better be prepared. That's all I have to say about that.
Truthfully, as much as I claim to not understand my daughter, she is actually more like me than I am willing to admit. She is genuinely kind to people and fiercely loyal. My daughter is definitely a social butterfly with the type of personality that makes every person she encounters feel like a friend. She's loving, caring, and -- other than the occasional over-the-top moment --an all-around cool person. Just like her dad.
DEBBY WONG / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
So I guess if you think about it, I have the same temperament and personality of a thirteen-year-old girl. Oh, wait a minute.
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