My Daughter My Enemy

03.10.11


Jane hasn’t spoken to me in two days. She speaks, in small sentences, things like, “Can I have some orange juice please?” “Will you sign my homework.” and “Don’t forget to buy me a flapper dress for the Spring Sing.”

What she doesn’t say is, “I love you mom.” “This is how my day was” or anything else really. She had cried a lot the past two days, and although it’s a soul crushing experience for us both I know that I’m parenting well.

Two days ago I logged on to Power School (it’s like an online grade book) and found that my daughter hadn’t turned in thirteen school assignments. Thirteen. She had thirteen F’s, not because she’s not smart, not because she was sick, but because her binder broke and the papers fell out.

Not a crime.

Keeping it a secret from her father and me? That’s the crime.

This isn’t the first time Jane has had trouble turning her work in. She’s twelve, it’s not often that you’ll find an organized twelve year old. Part of school is learning to complete your assignments on time and to turn them in. I’m not panicked about this event, but every decision has a consequence be it a good or a bad one.

As a consequence to not doing her job at school Jane has lost her electronics for a time. That means no itouch, no computer, no blackberry and no borrowing my computer. She’s like a junkie in the afternoons begging to talk to her friends. Although I’m sure she’s not thrilled she is not suffering terribly, as we just play a little more chess and cards in the evenings.

Some of the kids are having a dance party on Friday. Jane is not going. She is punished. There are tears and she has pleaded with me to please let her go, to please take away any other thing but not the dance.

Every part of me wants to send my daughter to the dance. Every hair stands on end when I see her cry. I know how horrible she feels, how left out and lonely Friday will be. I know that this makes it the perfect consequence and that it will be a memorable event for her, and hopefully she will learn a lesson while the stakes are still low.

Mr G called me today when I was driving the kids home from school and asked how everyone was doing. I explained to him that he was on speaker phone but he wouldn’t hear from his daughter since she no longer speaks in my presence. I smiled because I find that smiling is the best way to keep the tears from falling.

When Mr. G came home from work today he made a beeline for his daughter. He kissed her on the forehead and said, “Cut it out.” Jane gave him a quizzical stare, and he repeated himself for her.

Still I’m the enemy not because I’m the one who invents the discipline here, but because I’m the enforcer. I love Jane enough to follow through even when it hurts.

This hurts.

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15 responses to “My Daughter My Enemy”

  1. Nancy says:

    Wow. This makes me cry. :(

  2. hang in there Mama! This misadventure sounds so much like one of the many I had with my firstborn. It was painful for us both but I’ll give you a glimpse to the happy ending…she is now a lovely, wonderful, accomplished 24 year old with her own business and is a mommy to the 2nd most bull-headed 2 year old little girl that I have ever known…funny how her parenting style reflects mine.
    Years ago I was pouring my heart out to a friend about how much my heart hurt with the battles that were raising this child of mine. She hugged me, told me to hang in there because I was doing right and she promised my girl would come back to me. She was right and I am so grateful for her holding my hand that day.
    Hang in there.

  3. serena says:

    You are such a good mom.

  4. Sherree says:

    Little comfort now, but I believe one day she will thank you for this lesson. Maybe not with those words, but you’ll know.

  5. Shana says:

    I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating….you are an amazing mom. Doing the right thing as a mother often means you hurt alongside your children – that’s how you know it was the right thing. Hugs!

  6. Awww, it is so freaking hard to follow through when they are so hurt. But believe me, and you know this, parenting isn’t easy. If only our children knew how much it hurt US to see them upset, we’d be their pawns:)Stay strong. You are molding Jane into a respectable, upstanding human being and a woman who will be strong, intelligent and know the meaning of consequence; so she will be mindful in her thoughts, words and actions. I know its hard. Keep smiling, my friend. She may not ever admit it but that baby girl KNOWS her Mama is fierce,loves her unconditionally and is doing what is best for HER. This is just another one of those growing pains we are forced to go through but in the end, your mother/daughter bond will be stronger for it:)

  7. Tmanettas says:

    Reading your confidence in your decisions was exactly what I needed this morning.

  8. Oh I feel this post so much Jessica! And I’ve been there with my own 12 year old. They just aren’t capable of believing how much we really hate to punish them, that we really do want them to do what they enjoy and what they love. Instead we’re awful and mean and ruining their lives. Stay strong.

  9. This is indeed tough. I like to say “I love my kids but I hate parenting” and this is the kind of moments that sucks the most.

    Hang in there! She knows that you love her and you are doing the right thing.

  10. The JackB says:

    It is a cliche, but she’ll thank you later.

  11. Desi says:

    Yes. My kids are much younger, but I know how you feel. Because I’m here, and he’s not, my husband very rarely gets to be the enforcer. And, yeah. Sometimes it hurts like hell.

  12. Tammy Munson says:

    We were in the same spot just a few weeks ago with my oldest. Lack of organization and not turning in assignments,etc. It does hurt and the worse part(well beside the hurt ) is it will probably be the same way when my younger daughter gets to this same age. I’m glad my husband is around for this round of 12 year old attitude .. he missed the 11 year old attitude problems when he was deployed.

    We need a “I’m a mom of a 12 year old girl” support group — complete with naps, lots of wine and chocolate.

    Hugs my friend!
    Tammy

  13. Paula says:

    I just found your blog today and I am dealing with the same issues with my 12yr old son. It’s heartbreaking and frustrating all at the same time. I wish I had advice but I’m struggling myself. Good luck. xoxo

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