If I could, I'd fix my daughter up only with ambitious valedictorians who worship their parents.
Beth Falkenstein: At a recent dinner party, my daughter sat next to a girl from a different school. They hit it off and chatted throughout the evening. My daughter smiled more than I've seen since the word "teen" was added to her age.
This new girl, I learned, was a self-motivated, high-achieving student with strong personal goals. At the end of the evening, I found myself asking, "So, when are you going to see each other again?" And, "Did you exchange phone numbers?"
When exactly did I turn into Dolley Madison? September 2, 2008, the first day of 8th grade.
It's not that my daughter has trouble making friends. She's got tons (438, according to Facebook). And many of these friends have been BFFs since Kindergarten.
The problem is that throughout elementary school, the moms were in charge. If I liked the mom, chances are I also approved of the friend. But now, as middle school comes to an end, these same friends are starting to take the wheel themselves -- and I don't always like the way they drive.
One friend cares too much about clothes; another doesn't care enough about grades. One friend got the Gardasil vaccine not a minute too early, while another made sure the whole school knew about it. These are not necessarily the peers I want pressuring my child.
I wish I could fix my daughter up with blind playdates. I'd find ambitious valedictorians who worship their parents. Then, I would play the reverse psychology trick and forbid any communication with this new role-model ... I mean friend.
Or, I could just continue to bite my nails and pray I've instilled in her a good set of values.
As it turns out, my daughter did add the dinner party dynamo to her Facebook friends list (439!). But for some reason she didn't get her IM screen name. Could it be that miss smarty-pants' mother didn't approve of my daughter? The nerve!
|Beth Falkenstein was a sitcom writer and freelance contributor to "Self," "Redbook," and "YM" magazines before taking a full time job in her kitchen. She loves her new bosses (ages 13 and 10), and is grateful that they approve of inter-office romance, because Beth thinks her co-worker (Jim, age 45) is really hot.|