Originally Published: March 25, 2018 5:55 a.m.
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
Evidently, I’m an embarrassment to my only child.
I got a divorce from her father a few years ago. It has put us in poverty, but I try my best. We used to live in a house with a pool. Now we live in an apartment. My daughter used to be able to have her friends over to swim parties and now I can’t afford a swimsuit.
She invited a friend over to spend the night, finally. I was happy for her because she hadn’t invited anyone over for any reason since our divorce.
I accidently called her by her nickname which is “sugars.” She’s only twelve.
Later, she was looking at pictures of guys on her friend’s phone. Her friend asked her if she liked a “cute guy” at school. I happened to be walking by and said that he is indeed cute, but that my daughter was too young to date. She glared at me like I was a murderer.
The final nail in my coffin was when I made whole wheat pancakes for breakfast. Her girlfriend asked what kind of pancakes they were and gave me a smirky look. I said we were healthy eaters and my daughter needed her energy for their soccer game that day. Her friend was actually rude and said she didn’t want any pancakes with blueberries on top.
My daughter screamed at me when her friend left. She said I was the most embarrassing mom in the world. She cried and slammed the door to her room. I went to talk with her and she told me how many things that I do which are sooooooooooooooo embarrassing and said I was ruining her life.
Almost all parents are an embarrassment to their children, especially pre-teens and teens.
Embarrassment is a serious emotion at your daughter’s age. They are trying to be independent and are figuring out “belongingness.” Most want to be known as being witty, and have physical attractiveness. They worry about being popular and whether they have the necessary social skills. They want independence, but not parental judgments, and not in front of friends.
Losing material things, like her pool, can cause a feeling of losing her worth. Your daughter may feel “less-than” without having a big house anymore.
She’ll learn good values by your example of goodness and integrity.
Help her see the rewards of taking the risk of individuality by letting her define herself in front of her friends without your help.
Remember to “save face” with your daughter by keeping nicknames, personal eating habits, and dating rules private.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president of Rhonda’s STOP BULLYING Foundation and host of a podcast at therhondaorrshow.com. Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Write them at Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org.