Thursday, August 18, 2011

A mom's adoration of her teenager

"She's a true beauty, and sometimes I just look at her in awe of all that she is.  I'm lucky to have her in my life."
quoted (with permission) from a mom's office questionnaire about her 14 year old daughter.

It's not that often that we hear parents saying really kind things about their children. Often it's about how insolent, quiet, demanding, self-involved, otherwise unconnected or just plain "adolescent" they are. Of course, this interpretation often stems from concerns about one's children or one's parenting. In order to allow parents to express their worries and pride about their kids, I have parents answer a standard questionnaire about my new patients. In addition to family and medical history it gives parents an opportunity to speak their minds.

Perhaps it is because we don't have enough opportunities for our kids to hear how we feel about them that one of the early scenes from the new movie, The Help, is particularly moving. Aibileen, the Mobley family's maid, played by Viola Davis, tells the overweight, forlorn and awkward young Mae Mobley, "You is kind, you is smart, and you is important." This mantra is repeated several times in the film, helping Aibileen imprint on this young child in the absence of her own mother's love or recognition.

Let's start the new school year reminding our children of their treasured qualities. There are so many opportunities to disparage them, whether in our thoughts, to their faces or to others. Let's make the time to say the good things so that these positive messages stick as surely as the negative ones.
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