Untangling my Rapunzel.

I haven’t discussed a book in a long time. Simply because I haven’t finished a good book in a really long time. Last year, I read one book in total: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy. But I did not like it. So I am not writing a blog post about it. Roy got lost in her writing style: too many descriptions, too many adjectives. The only thing I liked about the book was learning about recent Indian history, but I guess there are better books for that. 

A book that I read recently had been standing on my bookshelf for five years: Untangled. Guiding teenage girls through the seven transitions into adulthood by Lisa Damour. A Facebook friend recommended it and I immediately bought it, even though Janne was five at the time. I remember thinking: Well, then you have it, when you need it! I haven’t needed it, but I still like to be prepared. I am happy that I did.

Did you know that the brains of teens are still changing pretty drastically, explaining their sometimes risky behaviour? It explains why I myself jumped off some really high bridges at fifteen. If you do not have a teenage girl, you can stop reading now. For those with teenage girls: the seven transitions summarized. 

Parting with Childhood

It basically means that they start thinking you, the parents, are annoying. However, you still have an important role to play. Damour uses a metaphor that I find really useful: “Your teenage daughter is a swimmer, you are the pool in which she swims, and the water is the broader world. Like any good swimmer, your daughter wants to be out playing, diving, or splashing around in the water. And, like any swimmer, she holds on to the edge of the pool to catch her breath after a rough lap or getting dunked too many times.” Which also means that she will use you to push off again to go back swimming. Just for that metaphor, the book was worth it. 

Joining a New Tribe

Step out of the way, parents and siblings. She wants peers to hang out with nowadays. The best case scenario: your girl has one good friend that she shares her teenage years with. Worst case scenario: she is part of a bitchy tribe. Combined with social media, you have the recipe for a lot of headache.

Harnessing Emotions

Lots of hormones lead to lots of emotions. And you need to take them seriously, because for her, they are real. And she will probably use you as a dumping ground for them. Hurray, I can’t wait, but remember: “So long as your daughter’s feelings are all over the map, she’s probably doing fine!” 

Contending with Adult Authority

Get ready to be criticized. For. Everything. But again, don’t worry. It is just problematic if they work against all adults in their lives. So, they just find you horrible, everyone else is fine. 

Planning for the Future

Mostly advice on how to deal with the Internet. Which is wonderful! 

Entering the Romantic World

I skipped this chapter, as I decided that we will put our Rapunzel in the tower at twelve. 

Caring for Herself 

More tips on dealing with food, technology, drinking, drugs and sex. I am hoping I will not be needing this chapter. Fingers crossed.

I immediately put the book on Frederik’s must read pile. It has so many good tips on dealing with teens. A book like this does wonders for my parenting worries. Sometimes just knowing what is normal and what is not makes all the difference. Especially with teens.

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