"She needs to know that no one is perfect. She needs to know that it's sometimes better to sit alone. She needs to know that sometimes one good friend is better than five fake ones," Melanie Forstall wrote.
Melanie Forstall knows how hard those teenage years can be for a young girl. Trying to navigate society and societal norms while your body goes through crazy hormonal and physical changes can be a lot to handle for anyone. And having experienced it herself, the mother-of-two wants to make sure her teen daughter isn't bogged down by the emotional rollercoaster that it is. Forstall shared her thoughts on the matter on her blog, Melanie Forstall - Stories of Life, Love, and Mothering, earlier this year and explained why she shared with her daughter "an expression that's filled with words that she probably shouldn't say."
"The other night, I curled up next to my daughter in her bed and we talked through the day. I listened to her pluses and minuses of the day; laughing together as we talked," Forstall wrote. "I shared with her an expression. An expression that's filled with words that she probably shouldn't say. I shared it with her anyway because it's an expression that has value — and not just shock value. I remember what it was like being 13. I remember the constant worry. The social stress. The fear of embarrassment. The overthinking. I remember navigating the social norms having all the friends one day, then none of the friends the next. And never really understanding why."
She pointed out the experience is undoubtedly much harder for teens nowadays given how they are going through it all in the middle of a pandemic. "She's conscientious. A hard worker by nature. A rule follower who is respectful and willing to put in the work," Forstall said of her daughter. "It's no surprise, just by the nature of who she is, she has very high expectations for herself. There's pressure. Some days, it's a lot. All of it — school, friends, socializing, and on and on and on. The pandemic is the proverbial cherry on top."
"I taught her the expression because she needs to know that's it's okay to feel this way. You know those moments when you feel stuck under the weight of the world but yet you can't really describe how you're feeling? You know those times when you barely have the energy to put together a complete sentence? You know those days when you feel completely alone? Yeah, that. Well, guess what, Sis? It's normal. We all feel that way sometimes," she continued. "She needs to know that it's okay to let some things go. She needs to know that frustration is normal. She needs to know that not everything matters as much as she thinks. It's okay to set some things down."
"Also, she needs to know that her mother says it. (Often.) She needs to know that she doesn't have to attend every drama party she's invited to. She needs to know that she doesn't have to love every activity and that's always okay. Sometimes we just have to do what’s needed to get by," Forstall explained. "She needs to know that no one is perfect. She needs to know that it's sometimes better to sit alone. She needs to know that sometimes one good friend is better than five fake ones. Even though right now, that feels really, really hard. She needs to remember that in the grand scheme of things, elementary school is just a blip on her life's radar."
"She needs to know that walking away is okay. She needs to know that it's okay if she can't handle it all at once. She needs to know it's okay to say, 'no.' And maybe, more importantly, that, 'no' is a full and complete sentence. She needs to know she's never alone in her feelings. It's my job as her mother to be the one to tell her that. Whether it's through a story with tons of words or a simple expression of a few choice ones that gets the job done. Either way, she's got the message," she concluded.