When it comes to parenting I’m like most guys with a teenage daughter: clueless and making stuff up as I go along. Any guy claiming otherwise is full of it.
Junior Prom has come and gone, which was mostly uneventful, but quite costly. That’s okay. As any father will tell you, once your daughter becomes a teenager you turn into a 24 hour ATM. Currency equals love. That’s why some of us with lots of greenbacks go for younger women when we age. It’s learned behavior.
And the school year is coming to a close now, which means finals. So, I get to harass my daughter about grades and getting work done, and done well, all the while lying to her about what a great student I was and explaining that if she wants to go to college and do anything with her life she has to do better. The truth, of course, is that I was a miserable student and barely got by in high school.
I met my high school counselor one time, at the end of my junior year. I still remember our conversation.
“What do you plan to do?” He asked me.
“I’m going to college,” I said, having never once thought about what I was going to do after high school before he asked. The words just came out of my mouth.
“You need another plan,” he said. “You are 285th out of 350 in your graduating class.”
“So what, I’ll be fine.”
“How do you expect to do well in college if you can’t do well in high school?”
“I hate high school,” I said. “It’s boring and not much of a challenge. Why work at it if you can do nothing and still get by?”
“And you think you will be able to do well in college, just turn things around and get the work done?”
“Sure,” I remember saying.
For the most part, college was easy. Not my freshman year, mind you. I almost flunked out because I didn’t like where I was and I wasn’t ready to work that hard at it. But after the first year it was a breeze and I liked it.
So now I lie to my daughter about my past in order to convince her to play the game at school. Actually, it’s not really lying. I don’t talk to her about when I was in high school. I only tell her how hard I worked in college. So, there. All truth is malleable. That’s just part of good parenting, I suppose.
The last thing any parent wants is to have a major surprise pop up at the end of the school year. Every day I check to see that her work is done and that her grades are good. She constantly complains about “the system” and all of its horrendous faults that are directed her way, in particular. Convincing a teenager that everything isn’t personal and that there isn’t a bullseye on her back is no easy task. Fortunately, teaching them it’s okay to “play the game” and still be who you are isn’t quite so difficult. It might be devious, in a way, but I like to call that good parenting, too. “It’s not about conforming”, I tell her all of the time. “It’s about using the system to get the grade, and using the lackeys to get what you want.” Wink, wink. Nudge nudge.
Still, there are pitfalls and this house of cards can come tumbling down at a moment’s notice. When the aforementioned teenage bag of hormones starts texting you from school at 9 in the morning alarms start sounding inside your head.
Daughter Text – 9:03am: Can I punch some girl in the face?
Father Text: Uh, no.
Daughter Text – 9:04am: She’s being a total bitch and she just threatened me!
Father Text: They will throw you out of school for that and you have worked so hard to become a below average student. Don’t blow it!
Daughter Text – 9:07am: :( LOL
Daughter Text – 9:08am: She just called Mrs. Rhodes a fucking bitch, etc. Said she was going to punch her in the throat.
Daughter Text – 9:09am: I rolled my eyes and she saw it. She called me a bitch. I told her it wasn’t Mrs. Rhodes fault. Now she says “I’m gonna fucking punch you now!” She’s got anger problems.
Father Text: You think?
Daughter Text – 9:11am: Now we both have to stay after class.
After class had ended the text messages began again.
Daughter Text – 9:58am: I stayed after class. Teacher bitched her out and not me xD.
Daughter Text – 10:01am: She just said she was going to punch me again. So I said either do it or don’t talk about it and she didn’t. Guess I’m safe. LOL.
Daughter Text – 10:02am: That was entertaining.
Father Text: Yeehaw!
Daughter Text – 10:03am: BTW, got an A+ on my AP Business final. That means an A for the class.
Daughter Text – 10:04am: Also, got an A+ on history essay. And another 100% in Trig. Teacher says I have to take AP math from now on.
Father Text: Awesome!
Daughter Text – 10:07am: School SUCKS! Do well and you are punished.
Father Text: That’s called life. Welcome to the game.
Daughter Text – 10:15am: Whatever! Can I have 50 bucks to buy some summer clothes? I promise not to punch anyone in the face.
Father Text: This is an automated response: I’m in a meeting for the remainder of the day. ;)
Clueless, I admit. And I make up stuff as I go along. It’s all part of good parenting. I’m planning to write a book.
in category Life