U-G-L-Y You Ain't Got No Alibi

04/04/2011 16:53

My daughter is a sophomore in High School. It's been very difficult for her to make new friends. She is not very outgoing or confident and probably a bit immature for her age. She is struggling cuz it seems everyone else has their friends now except her, or once they have been friends for a little while she gets dumped. She is not a beautiful girl which make's a huge difference in high school and she is not popular. She doesn't have any idea how this has happened and she doesn’t know what to do to help herself. I just want to cry for her. She does sports, but she says she feels invisible. No one ever wants to hang with her and most weekends she just sits around the house. It should not be this way, but I guess it just is.
Any advice about how I can help her or any advice you would give to her?? - WW

 What Mary Says...  What Crystal Says...

Dear WW:

Wow. Way to go to instill confidence in your daughter, Mom. Did you ever think that by your thinking she’s not attractive might have an impact on her? Aren’t mothers supposed to think their children are beautiful? (Unless your daughter really is fug, then I get it.) But even ugly children can have quite a hoot in high school with the right personality and eff-off attitude. Listen, high school is bad enough, and I know you want to help her. Why is she immature? Why does no one want to hang out with her?  Is she still playing with Barbies? Does she smell of cat pee? Really thinking about why you think she may be so lonely and unpopular may be a way to improve and help her.

Ugh. If I knew what to tell you to make her popular I would’ve been the head cheerleader [without the getting pregnant at 16] and had a ‘Reserved’ sign on my lunch table for cool, rotten kids only.

What about hosting a get-together after one of her sports games, have the team over at the house, rip open some Doritos and pour some Coke? Once girls see her in her own territory and get her to open up they might be more inclined to hang out with her or see what she’s about.

If that doesn’t work I think she should do what every outcast in high school does: dye your hair black, slap on some red lipstick and dark eyeliner, and listen to maudlin music while thinking of the state of the world and how to make yourself wanted.                 



Dear WW:

Would it help if I told you most kids her age feel this way? My nephew, also a sophomore, a musician and a rather handsome fella, focuses every minute of every day on his perceived lack of “coolness.”  Why? Because if there’s one thing you find out by reading our column is it’s all about identity at that age. Boys and girls in adolescence spend 100% of their time struggling to identify who they are – to put the line in the sand of what makes them unique - and a majority of that is done by looking at the friends they have / don’t have.

So what should you tell your little Boo Radley? Nothing. Because even Lady Gaga herself couldn’t convince a self-conscious girl of 14/15 that she’s awesome, that she’s worth something and that people like her. So the best thing you can do is model what an appropriate mother/father should be – caring, attentive, self-assured, and loving. And as an adult, frankly, you need to stop being drawn into her bleak perception of things.  I get that you want her to be happy. Any parent of merit would cut off their arm to keep their child from pain. But you also need to remember that, unless she does something rash like drop out of sports and tattoo FTW on her forehead, she’s just being normal. And what she needs most from you is a parent who models strength in tough times so that she can learn to be strong too. Because if you keep dipping yourself in your daughter’s pool of self-pity, you’re robbing her of the only lifeguard she has.







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