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  • Marissa Parker Gold

Do You Really Know Your Teen?

When I sent the first emails out to friends and family, announcing my new venture, Crimson Club, I knew that I’d receive mixed reviews. After all, any time something new launches you will get a plethora of responses – some extolling the virtues and others, second-guessing.

Some parents signed their daughters up immediately, thanking me, for starting something like this. “This is so needed”, they commented. And I would smile in agreement and thank them for their support and belief in me. But others had to have 3-5 phone conversations (with me) just to discuss their concerns about having their daughters join the group.

I wanted to say to these parents, “If you’re really not sure, don’t do it. Just wait.” But as with any new venture, when you’re trying to establish the efficacy of it, you have to play the role of cajoler, controller, friend, listener, advice-giver and anything else that one would need to make up their mind. Then there was a third subset of parents, well, moms.

I had a handful of moms tell me, “I really want my daughter to do this but I’m not sure she’ll be into it. I’m worried she won’t want to participate or will be too embarrassed to share. Is that okay? Can she just show up and observe?”

First, let me say, that yes, OF COURSE this is okay. I would never force any of the girls to participate. If they were going to choose to be silent observers, that was fine by me. As a really important side note, if anyone ever tells you that they’re going to force your child to participate if and when they’re not comfortable, you should NOT sign your child up for whatever that is. That said (and here's my most favorite take-away), it was these same girls, whose moms told me that their daughters wouldn’t participate, who have become my most vocal, supportive and inquisitive girls of the bunch. I happen to really love this fact!

Keep in mind moms, you may think you know your children well but they may turn into different kiddos when you're not around. Have faith in them.

Finally, I want to say to those moms that want(ed) to sign their daughters up but aren’t/weren’t sure their daughters would want to do it, you’re probably right. When you first tell them that you’ve signed them up or even try to have a discussion about joining CC, you will absolutely get push back. How do I know this? Two reasons. First, you’re daughter is a Tween and wanting to assert her independence at all times, making her own decisions. If you tell her to do something, it innately goes against her biological and developmentally appropriate desires. And two, this is something new and unknown. How many of us willingly and happily try something new? It’s human nature to be anxious or even not want to participate.

Here’s the kicker, mom, and your big take-away: You are the parent!

You are mom! You are still in the role of guiding and making the ground rules for your home, even if your children don't always agree. And trust me, they won't! If you feel that this group, the Crimson Club, is something that your family and more importantly, your daughter would benefit from, then you have a parental obligation to sign her up and deal with the consequences. That’s what being a parent is and your job ain’t over yet.

Parenting: Get Into It!

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