February really is BG -- and crew's -- busiest month! Spot the new goodies!
BG Adventure: "Valentine
New BG book!
Anyway, so? Have you followed in BG's -- and Lyssa's
-- hurried footsteps and made each day of the
past week Valentine's Day? Superb, especially since we've already rushed
headlong into the holiday whose proximity to the 14th is thankfully not -- at
least for the time being -- a dirty joke:
Day! In due observance of the pertinent government
conspiracy, however, I will focus my attention not so much on the (love)
lives of the Presidents themselves. Rather, I'll also honor the equal partnership
of the first ladies in all of our lives. With that, I bring you
Our Founding Parents
How do parents affect their kids' romantic relationships, other than directly,
Freudianly, pattern-repeatingly, and curfewdally?
So how do we handle that?
(Huuuuuuuge topic; let's narrow it down to Dating Interference.)
1. For teens still living at Casa Parent(s).
Anyone ever have a parent not like whom you're dating? Anyone ever wish you
had a parent not like whom you're dating, since that would at least mean your
parents allow you to date? I understand. And I promise you that Breakup Girl
is completely on your side.
But here's the thing. Just for a sec, put yourselves in their shoes like those
cutesy pix of little kids trying on grownup clothes. Consider -- just as an
exercise -- that they love you more intensely than any romantic love you could
ever, ever imagine. (Whoa!) Try to conceive that they want "what's best"
for you, even in their own parenty "I'm cold...you put on a sweater!"
kind of way. Think about how weird and dangerous the world seems to have gotten
since they were kids. Picture how little, except when you're being annoying,
they ever want to let you out of their sight. Especially with someone -- like
a date or a boy/girlfriend -- with whom, at least symbolically, you start the
stirrings of relatively adult things. Makes them feel anxious. (Also, old.)
No, parents don't always get it, and they're not
always right. (Breakup Mom said it was okay to say that.) But rather than
cutting them off in mid-sentence, cut them some slack. Hey, I'm still on your
side! But negotiating reasonably with them -- like, being, the grownup whose
shoes you're trying to fit -- is the only way to have a prayer of getting what
So before you climb out the window (or start growing your hair so that your
cutie can climb up), consider putting on your diplomat hat and attempting a
three-way truce. If they don't like your date(s) -- or your dating -- sit them
down and ask why. Don't argue ã that'll tank ã just listen; then tell
them what you do like about this person, about the promise of an expanding
social life (and the responsibility that comes with it). (Consider hauling out
this humdinger: "I'd just ask you to trust that you raised me to make wise choices."
Oooohh!) Try to seal the deal with some middle-ground suggestions. How about:
you can hang with this hottie, but only at home? Or between certain times --
chauffeured both ways by chaperones -- at the mall? It's a dorky start, but
a start nonetheless.
But also be honest with BG, or at least with yourself: if there's someone your
folks aren't wild about, could they be onto something? Is this person -- or
his/her crowd -- not quite a fit for you? Are these folks really there for you
ä or really there for you to freak out your parents? Don't run with the rebels
just to be one yourself. (It actually, no kidding, could be dangerous.)
Choose your companions well, and -- ideally -- your folks will have no choice
but to like them.
2. Grown kids.
See above, except the part where you have to sit down and talk to them. As
I told the teens -- and as I told Sunclytie
(whose mom tended to veto her boyfriends) and Abigail
(whose parents would have gladly set her up with Sunclytie's veto-ees) -- when
your folks seem to barge into your romantic space, they may really be saying
(for instance), "I want to make sure my child and her spouse aren't struggling....
I want to make sure -- in so far as money can buy this -- that they are comfortable,
fed, able to give me grandchildren without borrowing money or, God forbid, having
to purchase some sort of used crib. I want to make sure the two of them can
tuck away some savings, never mind some shirttails." You know? Whatever
your version is, take it all with a grain of Grownup. Your job now is to not
bother to do what you've been dying to do all these years and prove to them
-- and the world -- why they're wrong.
Believe me, I know what it's like to watch a parent give great advice to others
and then feel like a Big Bad Daughter/Dork for not taking it yourself. But remember:
when it comes to parental input, you can listen and disregard, respect and choose
not to follow. Or eventually decide to follow and pretend it was your idea all
Not Mad, I Just Hate You: A New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict
(I read it 'cause Breakup Mom told me not to.)
Teen Advice Online
(for grownups too)
FIRST LETTER >