My Tween Daughter Is Embarrassed By Me And I’m Hurt By What She Says

Nov 18, 2019

“Mom! You’re talking too loud!”

I’ve just picked up my daughter from piano. I’m chatting with her about upcoming weekend plans as we walk down the street. There’s a spring in my step because I just got a cute new haircut, the week is winding down and oh, how the sun is shining!

But those good vibes spontaneously combust when my kid tells me I’m basically a bigmouth.

This isn’t the only time I’ve been on the receiving end of my preteen’s scorn. And it certainly won’t be the last. She’s let me know that my lipstick is too bright, my eyebrows too dark and sometimes my jokes are just plain cringy.

Another POV From Laura: I'm Trying To Save My Daughter From Being A VSCO Girl

Is my child a terrible person? Of course not. She’s actually a kind, thoughtful and generous human being and I’m proud to call her my daughter. She’s also 12 and mortified these days by just about everything, especially me.

I didn’t see this coming. What happened? I used to be a superstar in her eyes.

Sure, I anticipated one day she’d hate me a little. It’s only natural. Probably during the rocky teen years when I’d forbid her from going places and doing things that usually cause parent-teen friction.

But causing her shame? I wasn’t expecting that.

On the upside, I can say that being the source of my kid’s mortification has taught me an unexpected, but important lesson.

Then I flashback to my own 13th birthday party. It’s an awkward, pimply, hormone-fueled co-ed affair in my family room. I recall with fresh horror sitting there with my classmates as we all silently navigated the uncomfortable soirée. No one dared utter a peep. In fact, the only sound that could be heard was coming from the next room. It was my mother singing her heart out to the radio while preparing the cupcakes. All I wanted for my birthday was for the couch to swallow me whole.

So I get it — puberty is prickly. Kids need to carve out some independence from the parental units and one way of doing so is finding parents intolerably embarrassing. It bonds them with their friends and allows them to achieve some necessary developmental space.

On the upside, I can say that being the source of my kid’s mortification has taught me an unexpected, but important lesson. It has reminded me how it feels to have someone’s critical eye pointed my way. It’s not something I’m used to these days. I have to say I don’t like it.

Here's A POV From A Dad: This Might Be The Reason Your Tween Is Treating You Like Crap

It’s not fun having someone tell you all the things you’re doing wrong. Sometimes my daughter’s remarks have left me feeling self-consciousness, uncomfortable and a little unsure. In other words, I’ve felt like a preteen girl.

This phase has given me a fresh perspective as to how my kid might feel when I’ve pointed out her flaws in the name of parenting. It’s a good reminder for me to think more about the things I say to her especially at this uber-sensitive age. I need to be a little more gentle, more kind and sometimes just hold my tongue.

And just in case you’re worried that this article might be embarrassing for my daughter, fear not, she has read it and given me her blessing. Together we find the humour in causing each other a little grief from time to time. We also find some common ground.

OK, maybe sometimes I do talk a little too loud.

Article Author Laura Mullin
Laura Mullin

Read more from Laura here.

Laura Mullin is a published playwright and writer and the Co-Artistic Director of the award-winning company, Expect Theatre. She is also the Co-Host and Producer of PlayME, a podcast that transforms plays into audio dramas now on CBC. She has worked in theatre, film, and television and lives in Toronto with her writer/producer husband and pre-teen daughter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @expectlaura.

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