Why Not to Raise a Princess
When did parents decide it’s perfectly okay to raise their charming little girls to become demanding big girls? I find myself wondering that more and more as I work with the adolescent girls in my sixth grade class. No one’s saying two-year-olds aren’t cute. My own was adorable, for Pete’s sake. I remember at her 2nd birthday party, which was attended by only her father’s family and mine, she made all the adults play Pin-the-Ears-on-Mickey Mouse. You should have seen my brother with his bottle of Coors Light stumbling toward that giant paper mouse as he tried to put those ears in just the right spot. Cassidy couldn’t have been more delighted, pressing her “buzzer” and hollering in her two-year-old voice, “Next!” But come on! At some point, you have to put those memories away. Ground your daughter in reality. The rest of the world will thank you. Try to imagine, if you will, this child as a five-year-old, stubbornly clinging to the cute two-year-old voice and mannerisms that earned kudos not so long ago. It's embarrassing. And what about entering school? "I don't want to line up in a straight line. I'm too cute." "I don't want to stand in the third row in the school class picture. I'm too cute not to be in front," "I don't want to be quiet while you're teaching. I'm too cute not to be the center of attention." After years of this, the child finally enters sixth grade. "Why can't I do my work in gel pen? Pencil is boring." About this time, parents are contacting me with their own exasperation with their no-longer-cute princess, begging me to undo a lifetime's worth of enabling. What can I do? Not only are parents eschewing their own parental responsibility to raise a child that behaves appropriately for her own age group, but they're putting me in the untenable position of being the 'heavy', which usually doesn't work very well anyway. Attitude. It's what girls have these days. Even those who haven't been raised as princesses. They sport their skin-tight leggings, t-shirts with spaghetti straps, and latest edition smart phones and think that I give a damn about their status in life, compliments of all their accoutrements. Which I don't. And neither will anyone else, once the school of hard knocks comes, well, 'knockin'.... If only parents could see beyond the cuteness of two-ness. But I guess that's like asking a Kardashian not to preen in front of a camera. Or an Elvis wannabe not to grease his hair. It's just not gonna happen.