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My teenage daughter spends alot of time in her room (you know kids today, they don't go out like we used to). When the "clutter" on her desk piles up, I straighten up the piles of notebooks and papers. This isn't what I'm worried about. I know I shouldn't snoop but when I read or look at the paperwork she sits in her room writing/drawing, I have new concerns. She constantly writes lists and plans on this "extravagant" lifestyle that consists of lists of clothes that she either wants to buy or wishes she had, usually totaling over $15k. The last I checked, the stars in Hollywood shopped like this. She also makes schedules out on "her travels", for example, landing in European cities on such and such date and time, among other trips only the rich and famous do. We do vacation every year inside the US and she's been to probably more states than most people her age. She also makes lists of kids names and rates them. Another one of her past times, is drawing and designing huge homes (mansions). I find alot of this behavior disturbing. Maybe she watches too much E! channel with the celebrities and wishes to be like one of them. I should mention that she has ALOT of papers pertaining to these types of things. My question, is this type of behavior, or fantasy world normal for a high schooler? I have confronted her a few times before over the last year, telling her that some make believe can be normal, but she's at the age now where she needs to focus on what is "REAL", like starting to think about what she wants to be and maybe thinking some about college and what she wants out of life. We played make believe too when young, but not by her age. Is this normal, or should I take her paper from her? My husband and I do feel lucky and grateful that she isn't getting into drugs, etc. and maybe this isn't that bad....what do you think?
Thanks KeltoKel. Actually, she isn't a Leo, but close. She is actually one of the few teenage girls, who do not get everything handed down to her. She gets allowance for keeping her room clean and a few other household chores done weekly. She babysits for a little boy next door once in awhile and takes after me with saving her money. When she does go shopping, she spends rather wisely. I've talked to her about credit cards and how important getting one in your late teens is, to establish "hopefully good" credit, like I did. I was somewhat like yourself when I was younger too, enjoying spending on me, but then after your children come along, your priorities change. I am a stay at home mom too now. I love it! I am hoping my good saving and spending habits will rub off on my daughter, they have so far. I think her dreaming is from part boredom and today's television with the starlets....but hope she understands the difference between her real life and what celebrities have and hopefully she will just be happy being herself.
My teenage daughter is the same way! Personally, I don't discourage her from "dreaming" big and am glad she sets her expectations high, because with high expectations comes high goals for achieving them and a high level of effort. I don't squash her dreams by limiting her to MY reality, even though I happen to be comfortable with it and it's not a bad life for me and my family, although we're not the Hilton's. :D I encourage her to make good choices, get good grades, go to college, and pursue a career that will support her expectations in life and allow her to be independent, because the goal of marrying a rich guy who might be a gigantic loser really isn't worth the hassle or something she can be proud of...LOL! I also talk to her about her dreams, things going on at school, etc. and use them as teaching tools to discuss things like drugs, alcohol, inappropriate sexual behavior and other things that would limit her potential that she needs to steer clear from and make good choices - not just because I say they're wrong, but because they don't fit into her future goals and expectations for her life. Teaching her the value of money and making good financial decisions and encouraging her to not only dream big but come up with a long-term plan for achieving her dreams and recognizing that things like drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, AIDS, etc. would hinder her efforts, are the best things you can do for your daughter.

If she's like my daughter who is determined that she will one day be the next American Idol...LOL...encourage her that, while her talent is remarkable, for every one person who makes it on American Idol, there are thousands of others who are just as talented who don't make it and need to rely on a back-up plan for a comfortable life. The very talented kid who lived in his car hanging all hope on becoming the next American Idol is an excellent teaching tool of why it's important to have a back-up plan, even if you're talented. I was sorry he didn't make it, he was good and what a success story that would have been, but I couldn't have set up a better real-life teaching tool for my daugther! ;) So while she's pursuing her dream of making it in the big time, she also needs to be pursuing her "realistic" back-up plan that involves college or an acceptable alternative "just in case" the rock star gig doesn't work out for her. I also let my daughter know that, while we may not have the money of the Spears family, we're much happier with much less, so being "regular" isn't all that bad of an alternative either. I don't squash her dreams of making it big, but I encourage her to have a realistic back-up plan and have appropriate boundaries and not do anything she wouldn't be proud of.

On a side note, if you're concerned about things like drugs, alcohol, inappropriate sexual behavior, etc. then you have every right to search her room - it's your house and if there is something inappropriate or illegal going on in your house, every room is fair game. But, unless she gives you permission to straighten up her desk and confront her about anything and everything on it, going through her things will only create a lack of trust in your relationship with her in the long run. It's her stuff and it isn't illegal or detrimental to her well-being that requires intervention. If it bothers you that her room is a mess, it's her responsibility to clean it to your satisfaction, not your job to clean it for her anymore. Reserve the right to go through YOUR house and every room in it and let her know that you will exercise that right anytime you feel it necessary, but give her some privacy if she is trustworthy for the most part. If you continue to put down the things that she does and confront her, it will make her feel embarrassed or have to "justify" things that are probably just play things and no big deal to her anyway, and she'll think you'll over-react about the things that do matter. And, cleaning her room is part of her allowance, so don't come in behind her and straighten up what she didn't do a good enough job on; her boss won't do that for her when she's older. ;) If you're concerned about something illegal or detrimental to her well-being, search her room; if your only concern is her "diva" status, count your blessings that you have a good kid, indulge her in the diva dreams of "wouldn't it be nice", focus on reality not being all that bad either because you're happy, talk to her about boundaries and being proud of your success, and encourage her to find a "grounded" back-up plan that she can pursue "just in case."





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