Tuesday, April 10, 2007,9:07 AM
Control and Letting Go
I hope I am never like this.

I understand the concept of a concerned controlling parent. I understand when a parent doesn't want their teenage daughter going to parties where they know that there will be drunk teenage boys who think their dick is God's gift to the world. I understand not letting them go. And I understand (if not agree) with the parents who control their kid's lives by enrolling them in every sport, tutoring club, and music class they can think of. They push/control their children because if their children succeed by the world's terms then they have succeeded.

But this is just sad.

I was at the gym taking a shower after my workout. There was a mom and her daughter in there as well. The daughter looked to be at least 8/9th grade. The mom controlled this girl's every breath. Here's what I overheard.

Moms in shower and daughter's in the next shower (the daughter started her shower a few minutes after the mom)
Mom: You need to rinse out your swimsuit.
Mom: Did you hear me?
Girl: yes.
Mom: did you rinse out your swimsuit?
Girl: Yes.
Mom: Be sure to rinse your hair twice to get the chlorine out.
Girl: Yes, mom.
Mom: Don't use too much shampoo. All you need is a little bit. Just about the size of a dime. Only use that much.
Girl: Okay, mom.
mom finishes her shower
Mom: You need to hurry up and get out.
a minute later
Mom: You need to get out now. Watch your step, the floor is slippery. No, walk over here.

The girl had to be in at least Jr. high, had she never taken a shower before? Or is the mom just such a nag that she has to supervise her daughter's showers? Let the girl grow up already. It reminded me of a family I knew who made their high school age daughter take naps. Naps! She wasn't even allowed to read during that time. This crosses the line of loving concerned parent into psycho controlling freak. I wonder if the girl will ever be allowed to make her own decisions (you know hard ones like how to take a shower). Or will she jump off the deep end like so many over-controlled kids as soon as she gets the chance?


posted by Julie at 9:07 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 4/10/2007 10:07:00 AM, Anonymous sonja

    Being the mom of a 13 year old girl ... who doesn't control her every waking moment, I can actually imagine a shower like that. There are days when she has to be reminded of each stupid little step. Which gets on my very last little nerve. Usually though I couch my reminders in terms of, "Did you remember to ...?" and I don't ever remind her how much shampoo to use ... that's just overkill. She consistently needs a kick in the pants to get out of the lockerroom in a timely fashion, or I'm left waiting and waiting and waiting, because that's all I have to do in the world is wait on her.

    All of that is to say, perhaps this mother and daughter were having a particularly bad day. It is possible. But she does sound a little over the top ... you, on the other hand, probably don't have anything to worry about ;-)

  • At 4/10/2007 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Helen

    That girl was probably on auto-pilot. Teenagers can do that i.e. shut out the parental voice completely and simply say "Yes Mom" whenever there's a pause.

    Parenting a teenager is an interesting experience ;-)

  • At 4/10/2007 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Even if this girl was on the spacy side, it was still weird. a kinda of a pick your battles thing - is how she takes a shower really that important. Plus this girl had a friend with her - the mom was treating her like this in front of her friend...

  • At 4/12/2007 10:45:00 AM, Blogger Marcia

    Helen, try parenting three teenagers. Plus an 8-year-old who think she's one as well.

    I don't have the energy to overparent like that.


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