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Mirabelle Offline
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Name: Mirabelle
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Join Date: March 23rd 2018

Lightbulb Disillusioned with my parents - April 17th 2018, 12:16 PM

Last night I'd been sitting with Mandy at Palma airport waiting for our plane to go home to England when I saw a book left on a seat opposite us. I went and picked it up, then looked to see if the woman who had been reading it was nearby. Nope, she must have rushed off when her flight to Paris was called. I returned to Mandy and showed her the book. "That looks interesting, Belle," she remarked. "Finders keepers and all that. You gonna read it?"



"Yeah, don't see why not," I smiled. And opened the book. From the first chapter I was hooked.

Throughout our flight, and during our journey home to collect music equipment and textbooks left behind, I felt compelled to read. Because since parting childhood, and pulling away from my parents, it occurred to me that they had done pitifully bugger all raising me after I commenced the tender age of 11. If they had realised how overwhelmed, anxious and totally lost and out of my depth I'd felt for such a long time to the present, they would have found this book, read it and started being the responsible parents I have always been wanting them to be. Instead, having started secondary school, my behaviour deteriorated into something that one of my aunts acerbically described as a 'teen zombie horror movie'. Indeed, and I had a fondness for the bottle though I never did drugs.

Did my adoptive mother and irascible aunts follow? No, they left me to become a tangled mess and it's been me who has had to pick up the pieces such as early motherhood, of anxiety, self-doubt and stress, and of having to deal with ghastly painful yukky periods, mood swings, rages, drunken nights from enduring a rough year of binge drinking at 14 after I'd lost my toddler to pneumonia. So where were my champagne guzzling, gin-soaked television broadcasting parents when I needed them so desperately? Living on a gravy train of privilege and indolence, that's what the lazy bastards did while hobnobbing with the Queen. Indeed, I am still asking the same to this day because the one who has had to mother me, has been me. And presently in my pain from juvenile idiopathic arthritis, it's been Mandy. My beautiful girl who has been through the shredder herself has looked after me with such gentle care and devoted love. Similarly, Mandy had to grow up on her own while her parents led hedonistic selfish lives, so she and I have become quite the package and wearing silver engagement rings.

Parents are supposed to expect an enormous amount from their teenage daughters. In an uncaring often dangerous world where we are bombarded with messages about how we should look, behave and succeed - is it selfish of us to expect more from them? In this book Untangled, the author Lisa Damour provides an accessible, detailed, comprehensive guide to parenting teenage girls. I'm halfway through the book now and how enlightening it's been! Maybe on our return home this week I should leave it for aunty Fiona to find. There again, if she did read it, she might realise that her mothering of me has been 17 years too late.

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood is available as a Kindle edition for just 1.39 For parents of preteen to teenage children, this ought to be The Book Of The Year.
   
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