Teen Angst: Crazy Mom

Dear Dr. Darcy:

My mother is Out Of Control!  She looks through my things, calls my friend’s houses to check up on me and last night she made up a fake [Facebook] profile and FRIENDED ALL OF MY FRIENDS!  She’s ruining my life.  I’m always grounded for something – smoking, drinking, lying…But I can’t be honest because she’s crazy.  I’m 16 and she wants me in lockdown until I’m like 30!!!! Please Help!!!!

ANSWER

Being a teen is not an ideal time in anyone’s life.  You have the body of an adult, the mind of someone perpetually curious and (typically), about as much freedom as someone on house arrest.  These are NOT the best years of your life, regardless of what adults may tell you.  But I’m telling you, you’re making your life a lot worse than it has to be.  Follow my advice and within a few weeks your housing will be changed to minimum security.

There is a common denominator among kids whose lives are the toughest during their teen years:  They refuse to even try to play by the rules.  You see, what you want is an impossibility:  You want your parents off your back, but you give them no reason to get off your back.  In fact, I’ll bet most of what you do encourages them to be up your, eh, nose.

Let’s start with something basic:  Stop lying.  Not because it’s wrong.  Because either you suck at it, she’s just too smart, or you’re just unlucky.  It doesn’t matter which reason we align with ~ the bottom line is that you keep getting caught, and you need to accept that about yourself.  Your friends may get away with lying, but you don’t.  So stop.

Next:  Check in with your mother.  All the time. Shoot her a text on your way home from school.  The next time she lets you go over a friend’s house, text her from there for no reason other than to connect.  In the event that you change locations while you're out, text her with every move.  If she feels like she’s connected with you, she’ll stalk you less.  You see, you’re going to be in communication with your mother whether you like it or not.  What’s within your control is the type of communication you have with her.  Do you want it to be on your terms or on hers?  If you want it on your terms, make it your business to initiate contact and she won’t have to.

Finally, clean up your FB profile.  You heard me.  Get the curses off of it.  Make sure the pics are G rated.  Disinfect your wall and keep it that way. One day in the near future, people will make millions by cleaning up the web reputations of kids in your generations whose FB profiles are getting in the way of their adult success.  Until then, I’ll tell you what I told my nephew when he created his FB profile:  Presume that every picture and every word will be stuck on the web until the day you die.  Sort of like a web tattoo.  If you’d be comfy letting grandma and all your aunts and uncles view your profile daily, you’re doing it right.

And that’s it.  I’m not saying that your life will turn into the one you’ve always wanted by following my advice, but I am saying that it will improve exponentially.  Listen, life at your age blows – no question about it.  You do not live in a democratic society which is a fundamental frustration of adolescence.  But it won’t last forever.  Get your grades up so that you can get into college and you’ll spend 4 years reaping the benefits of the scale tipping the other direction.

PS:  Tell your friends to only friend people who they know!