Girls are fated to hate their mothers?

That’s what it says here, in an article called “I’m Pretty Much Waiting for My Daughter to Grow Up and Hate Me,” on It’s not a new premise, by any means. It’s accepted wisdom, in fact, that kids have to be rebellious and hate their parents for a while in order 1) to wrench themselves away from home, and 2) to force their parents to hate them for a while so they’ll shove them out. If kids didn’t turn nasty and rebel, either they’d never leave, or their parents would never let them go. Lots of people (including unschoolers) have disproved that premise, at least in their own families. Maybe someday I’ll come back and include links to their fabulous testimonies. (OK, here’s one, from ps pirro.) (And here’s another, on the blog I’m Unschooled. Yes, I Can Write.) But for now, I just want to highlight a paragraph from the above-mentioned article:

“If we never turned into these monsters, these sneering, cynical beasts clothed in tight t-shirts and nightclub eyeliner, our mouths reeking of Juicy Fruit gum as we screamed at our mothers and slammed our doors, we would stay young forever.”

We would? It has to be that horrible, or we’d stay in our fluffy pink rooms and play Barbies till we turned forty?

“Our menses and the raging hormonal changes we experience set us free. They distance us a few seconds from our mother’s hearts so we don’t wrench them from her chest when we grow up and away.”

How many hearts does mother have? I think she means “our mother’s heart, so we don’t wrench it from her chest…”

But anyway. The premise is that the only way a mother would ever let her daughter leave is if the daughter turned into a monster for a while, making the mother long for her to get the heck out already. Because saying “get the hell out and good riddance” to a monster-daughter is somehow less heart-wrenching than calmly waving goodbye in a rather more peaceful leave-taking.

Hormones rage, yes. They rage in adolescence and again around menopause. They make people act crazy — sometimes truly mean and awful! Middle-aged mothers shriek, adolescent daughters sob. And vice versa. They can also make people act cuddly and remorseful and weepy and forgiving. (They’re like beer that way, eh?) But let’s not overlay some sort of intent on them that is not meant to be there. Hormones (like Bud Lights) (to continue that not entirely inapt metaphor) are not “meant” to create separation or to torture relationships or to break up families or to make people hate each other or anything of the sort. They’re not “meant” to do anything, relationshipwise. We can use them as our excuse to do those things, if we want to. We can blame the hormones for a stormy relationship, if we want to, instead of identifying whatever is the true dysfunction in the relationship. Or we can use them as a prompt to pay more attention to our bodies and each other, to listen more to ourselves and each other, to repair dysfunction and practice acceptance of ourselves and each other, to allow space or companionship as necessary.


About thedavenportblog
This entry was posted in Adolescence, Health, Home, Love, Parenting, Personal growth, Unschooling and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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