Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Input Needed

It's heartbreaking to have your teenage daughter ask what's wrong with her, that makes other people not like her. How do you teach someone how to be likeable? How do you help a teenager get past their sullen nature to blossom into the beautiful person that's lurking inside? How do you help someone understand that manners really do matter a lot, and that the way they sit sometimes presents a different picture to others than what they would want to portray? It's not like I haven't been trying to teach my daughter all about service, love, manners, consideration, and acceptance.

What's even sadder is to hear that a couple of my good friends have actually made comments about not liking my daughter. I'm assuming it was within the walls of their house where they thought the comments would stay, but kids talk... and unfortunately they've told my daughter, which makes her feel even worse about herself and leaves her feeling confused as to why these people don't like her, especially when they've pretended to to her face.

Honestly, I'm not sure why they don't like her either. Sure, she has her faults. She can be a sullen, moody, selfish teenager. But there's more to her than that. She's also got a great sense of humor, is a loyal friend, has a strong desire to do what's right, and has many incredible talents. Her teachers like her. Her best friend's mother likes her. I like her. So why don't YOU like her?

What more can I do to help my daughter learn to be more "likeable?" What is it that she's done (or not done) that she should change? I'd love some honest input on this because frankly, I'm stuck. She's a teenager and not always real open to the advice of her mother, but I'm happy to keep working at it because she's so worth it.

Feel free to comment anonymously because I'm sure my good friends won't want to admit openly that they're the ones who have said they don't like her. I'm not bitter or angry about it, just sad and confused and would love some answers.


Erin said...

Hey Patty, this post made me sad. I don't know Aimee very well, but I wanted to comment and remind you that feeling like no one likes you is a part of being 16 (at least, it was for me). I've met very few self-assured teenagers. You're both lucky that you can talk about it together. I would NEVER have confessed those feelings/issues to my mom! ...and, most adults don't like most teenagers - because teens are often sullen, disrespectful, and selfish. You can show her your post - and let her know that those things really do matter, and ask if she'd like help with any of them, but mostly you need to wait patiently and let her figure it out. She will. It's part of the growing up thing. Everyone matures at different times and in different areas on their own schedules. It sounds like she's dealing with some crappy stuff right now. As a teenager, I remember reading over and over again the scriptures that "this too shall pass" and that "all these experiences shall be for thy good and give thee expreience." Remind her that her Heavenly Father is still there and always loves her, and so do you. Remind her that her potential is great, and to hold onto that knowledge. I think stuff like this is why college starts at 18 - it's when kids are ready, able, and desperate for a fresh start. Tell her (and you) to hang on until then! ...but it WILL get better. Love you!!

Melisa Summy said...

Does Aimee know you posted this? I hope she doesn't mind. It is very hard to be a teenager, I'd NEVER do it again! I do have some helpful advice as the mother of a grown-up girl who went through something similar that I'll share with you via e-mail :)

Mama D said...

I like Aimee! I miss her (and you) a lot.

We all know that being a teenager is hard. It's an age when people are trying to figure out how to go from being a kid to being a young adult. They are really wrapped up in themselves, so it's typically a selfish stage. There are a lot of bumps along the way. Some find it easier than others.

I think there are no easy answers. There is no magical solution. What works for one kid won't work for another.

All you can do is continue to love, to teach, to emulate desirable traits, to talk. Be available and listen. Listen more than you talk. (when they hit those moments when they really do want to talk!) And try to help them recognize and learn how to "walk in another's mocassins."

I don't know *when* I learned it, but one of the reasons I am a good caregiver is because I can look past the grumpy, forgetful exterior of the elderly and remember that someday *I* will be the one in the wheelchair needing assistance - so I treat them the way I would want to be treated, how I would want my grandma and parents to be treated.

That one lesson applies to just about every situation in life. I have tried to help my kids catch a glimpse of that, so they can be more understanding and accepting of others.

I don't think we see the "final results" of all of our teaching and loving and efforts for many decades. I have seen glimpses with Ryan. It gives me hope for my other kids!

That really doesn't give concrete answers to your heartwrenching questions, but my wish is that it offers hope and encouragement to continue on. Love you both!!

Ray said...

"So why don't YOU like her?"

I love her. She's a wonderful person. However, she does project an uncaring attitude sometimes, even though I know she cares. Some people can't get past the facade and see the real person, despite the ideal we teach and for which we strive.

What would I tell her? Probably that sometimes even good people are jerks, misjudge others and say things they shouldn't say - especially if they feel they are defending their own child somehow. That isn't easy to understand, but understanding it really helps in the long run.

Finally, I would point out the even Jesus (and Joseph) was reviled by most of the people who met him - and killed by others. Smile and tell her she's in great company being one of the misunderstood.

Shayleen Lunt said...

How heartbreaking. I would be asking similar questions if this happens to me (and to one of my daughters) in the future.
I don't know Amy hardly at all. She's got a great smile though. I do know that. Sometimes that's all people need to see to feel differently?
I agree with previous comments, being a teenager is rough and I wouldn't want to do it again. Luckily though, when I think back on those years, most memories were great. (Time helps heal the bad, terrible and horrible ones.)

taffaduggi said...

I would not pay to be a teenager again, now or then, it is hard, my kids are out going and I have always taught them if they love them selves that is all that matters. One thing I have also taught my kids is that you will 5 real friends in your life if you are lucky, A true friend does not care about what you look like or how you act, be your self, and if they still like you and are there for you, then you know you a true friend. Ha Ha I am one to talk right? But like I have also told my kids what you say behind some one's back say it to their faces. Amie I do not know well Patty, but from what I see she is a great girl, and those that have problems with her, then they are not really true friends to you or her. You can let her know we are there for you and her, and she come be her just as she is at our home because that is how we except people in our home.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Erin!! This is part of growing up. For her, as well as others. The other girls have to LEARN to look at the "real" person, just much as she has to learn all the things you work to teach her as she grows.
She is a lovely girl, and with such a wonderful mother as her example, she will be a truly amazing woman. I have no doubt.
All of these "hurts" will be for good. It's through trial and tribulation, lesson after lesson, that we are molded, shined and polished.
She is very very blessed to be your daughter. Just keep doing what you are doing. ;)
She's a great kid!!

chelle said...

I am sorry Aimee has been having a rough time lately. Being a teenager is no walk in the park. Being a parent to one is even worse. (at times anyway) I didn't like teenagers when I was one and I have a hard time with them now. I have never been good with all the drama.
Unfortunately, this is all part of the growing up years. It's not fun at all, but it will be a stepping stone in her journey of life. Not everyone likes everyone. That's a very hard thing for anyone to realize and get over. Especially a teenager trying to figure out who they are. (even I as an adult have a hard time with this still)
Aimee is a strong YW. She will rise above this challenge and come out on top and be better for it.

Jennifer Andersen said...

I miss you and Aimee! I love Aimee. In some ways she's like a little sister to me. I used to be shocked at some of the things Aimee would say to you or David or the way she might act, and then I had Mary Jane. All shock is gone now that I have one just like her. Aimee is a very determined, independent girl with her own opinions. She will go far in life with that attitude, it will just be hard being a teenager. Don't worry Aimee, lots of people like you! By the way, my parent's friends didn't like me much as a teenager either. I don't know if that helps, but I think at least you're in good company.