Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Not all Bees Make Honey…
My daughter has just started eighth grade. She has survived the first two years of middle school, receiving only a few battle scars, but preparing her for her teenage years and the typical situations, people, and problems she is about to encounter is something I wanted to help her with. I was given the advice to read a book about teen girls that could adequately show me how to traverse this crucial period, leaving you, them, and your mother-daughter relationship intact.
"Oh yeah, bring it on. Miracles might happen and pigs might fly!" was my first reaction.
"Holy crap, this book is longer than War and Peace," was my second.
And finally, my third was, "Wow, so that is why I have so many bad memories of being a teenager!"
The book in question, I hasten to add, is great. It is full of scenarios that one can relate to and new ways of looking at things. But, it can be, in places, a little too ideal-world for me. For instance, it advises that in order to keep communication flowing between you and your daughter you should use a weekly trip to a local coffee shop. Girl time, a great idea but if they only knew my daughter they would also know I would be bankrupt after a month as she would feel the need to sample every single cake in the chiller cabinet and then dance around the room hyper after drinking the forbidden nectar, cafe latte!
I know I jest about the above scenario, but the idea is sound. Making time is always a good plan but one we often feel too busy to do. As the book went on, more serious subjects were covered; weight, boys, sexuality, teasing to name but a few but my favorite was the subject of Cliques.
A touchy subject at best, a battlefield at worst.
The Cliques were broken down into the following roles:
The Queen Bee: Think Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland and Barbie Doll. She rules the roost, her group and expects to get first pick at the best boys!
The Sidekick: Think second in command but dangerous as she can lead a coup over Queeny!
The Banker: Not money hoarding I am afraid, but information hoarding that can be used against anyone about anything. She supplies the ammunition to Queeny.
The Messenger: She is everywhere, in the middle of conflicts and thrives on them. She is an addict to drama. Remember the girl who always passed notes for people in arguments? This is her!
The Pleaser/Wannabe: Think desperate Susan. She will sell her soul to please the Queen Bee.
The Torn Bystander: Wants to be accepted but does not like to challenge Queeny or her sidekick. The one who keeps silent whilst others are suffering but doesn't like it.
The Target: Think big round circle with her face as the bulls eye in the middle. She allows herself to be the target in order to be accepted into the group.
The Champion: She is the perfect one in every way. She does not belong to one group, is not afraid to say no to Queeny, and is easy to be around.
As I read this section, I chuckled hysterically and sighed sadly. I was doing a crazy eight of emotions and was transported back to being 15 again and at my own high school. The power plays, the words used, and the actions are so timeless that you realize you have more in common with your teenager than you thought, you were one yourself!. I am betting my last dollar that as you read those roles you are mentally visualizing the faces of people you know, past and present. Cliques are not exclusive to schools or colleges, but regrettably carry on into adulthood and form in places such as offices, social clubs, and neighborhoods.
They go on and on, a never-ending story. A nightmare for some.
How many times have we heard about bullying in our schools or teenagers committing suicide after reaching desperate lows because they do not fit the norm? There are too many for my liking and there does not seem to be adequate help on hand. School counselors are few in numbers and spread thin, they come into play only when things get desperate, which often is too late. Irrecoverable damage can be done at this crucial age and I wish we could have a course in every school advising about Cliques, their behaviors, the effects on others, and most importantly, how to deal them.
I downloaded the audible version so that my daughter, and son for that matter, could listen to it. I could never do it justice by repeating it and I gathered that if my children heard it from someone else they would be more inclined to take notice. Another annoying trend of a teenager I am finding out.
Both my children listened intently, laughing, pigeonholing their friends, scowling at examples of behavior they have already witnessed, and most importantly, asking me to play the rest of the book so they could be in-the-know. In the back seat of my car, they continued to listen, piecing together the advice given, and opening up about their lives, the problems, and the great things that happen. My self-help book turned into my family-help book. I did not need to go to the coffee shop to open communication; the book has done it for me. We still have part two to listen to together and I for one am looking forward to it.
I advise any willing parent of teenagers to look at the book, Queen Bees & Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman, you may find it of some help. I have.