My relationship with my daughter has not been going too well as what I hoped for lately.
She is 14 years old.
By no means I suggested that her age was the problem. My daughter and I used to be close. When I had to travel overseas for work frequently and needed to leave the house really early in the morning. It was her getting up and sending me to the door with tears in her eyes. That’s back then, of course, when she was about 7 or 8.
Of course, she is 14 now. I understand it’s her first year in high school, which is stressful by itself. I understand since she had her cell phone she has been on social media and making friends “in the cloud”. I understand she only has a few close friends that she cares and enjoys to talk to. So I have been trying to “advise” her, like, don’t talk to strangers on social media, let’s plan ahead for your college applications and need to focus on your weakness now like your extracurricular, try make more friends and be more sociable, which will be key to your future success in this society….
But do I really UNDERSTAND her? If so, how come she and I have been finding fewer and fewer words to talk about? If so, how come last time when I just opened up another lecture, she bursted into tears?
This past Sunday, after taking my son to his swimming meet in the morning and his soccer game in the afternoon, I was left with another activity in the evening time, which is to take my daughter to a show by a band called Cavetown. I, of course, have never heard of it, and did not care too much about it. My daughter, on the contrary, appeared to be quite excited with great anticipation for this show for a while.
As it turned out, Cavetown is a youtube star and the singer probably a teenager himself. I had no idea how many fans he has even in a small NJ town.
We waited for an hour in a long line and in the cold to just get in, and spent the next three hours standing in a cheering crowd with a full house of teenagers.
My daughter asked me to film almost all his songs. The last one called “Boys will be bugs”. Here is the video filmed from the show.
My daughter is a reserved kid. She doesn’t show her emotions often. Throughout the show, all other kids around us cheering, singing, and dancing. She showed little body rhythm to follow. Not this one. While I was filming, I can see her singing along in a low voice and dancing along in a barely noticeable motion. I knew, then, this song was special to her.
When I listened to this part of the song:
I’m a dumb teen boy
All I wanna do is quit
My mum told me that she’s worried
And I couldn’t give a shit
I have friends who understand me
Their names are spider, beetle, bee
They don’t say much but
They have always listened to me
All of a sudden, my eyes were full of tears, for the shame that I thought I understood her.
She is not a 7-years old little girl anymore. She has been lonely. I have been passing judgements without LISTENING to her first, without understanding first, all under the name of caring.
Do all parents do this from time to time? It took a teenage boy’s song for me to only see how this has been happening to me.
I had to travel to Washington DC for a day on Monday, so I didn’t get much chance talking to my daughter until I arrived home later of the day. I offered a hug to her after I entered the house. She accepted it this time without “kicking me” away like she would have normally done in recent past.
The show did some mending apparently. The rest is up to me and how much I care to understand her.