Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Diary of Zita Cecilia McNamara: 13 year olds and Hormones

Editor's Note: This is the fourth entry for the "Diary of Zita Cecilia McNamara" by Dr. C. Click HERE to read Dr. C's previous post on the origin of Zita's diary. This entry begins with 13-year-old Zita writing to her guardian angel, "Bishop."

Dear Bishop (Day Eight) Nothing exciting happened. I shall practice more so I may become a great actress. I have another ambition. I will tell you soon.

Dear Bishop (Day Nine) I didn't get to go to the show [movie theatre]. Daddy took the car—Pooh! Oh well. I cry about the least things. I must be nervous about something. Please help me.

Dear Bishop (Day Ten) I fixed Harriet and Enessa both so they won't bother me about books. I like Harriet. Enessa I despise. She is too fast for me. I need to pray for her.

Reflections: Thirteen year olds should have days of no excitement. Sometimes, I think parents of today go from one extreme to another. They either have their children involved in so many activities that their children cannot enjoy being children and just “chilling.” Then, there are parents who do not encourage their children to be involved in any activities because they are too busy to get involved in anything their children are doing. So, their offspring get involved in activities that are not conducive to their well being. 
Then, there is the issue of hormones. My Day Nine entry illustrates the up and down moods of a young girl experiencing puberty. Sometimes, parents, especially mothers, wonder if there is something “wrong.” Nope, it is just them “thar” hormones that can make the most incidental thing be something that will elicit happy or sad reactions

Of course, there is bullying. Yes, I experienced it in grade school. I was blessed. I did well in school. And I loved school and books and all that could challenge my mind. There were some girls that just did not like me because of that. Boy, that hurt. And it became apparent to me that no matter how much I would try to be nice to some I just would not be a part of the “gang.” I had to recognize this. More importantly, I had to make my own path, learning how to live with ‘em or without.

Now, I must say I was very fortunate. I had a mother who was, when I was this age, my best friend. I could confide in her about anything, my ups and downs and my dreams of becoming a famous actress as well as my heartbreak of being “picked on.” And with her letting me know, everyday, that I was important, I was able to go to school and cope when the “gang” wanted to play with me and when they did not. When they did not, during recess I would sit by myself and read a book. When they did that was ok, too. I would readily play baseball (I was a good 2nd basewoman in my heyday) or tag or “Red Rover” (yup, I am dating myself—smile) or hopscotch or jump rope. And if I were ignored and shut out, I would just be by myself. And at the end of every school day, I knew I could depend on my mother to share the pleasant days and the not-so-pleasant (the lonely ones).

No, parents cannot shield their children from hurt, but they can make themselves available to give support and a just a listening ear. And they can say to them to be themselves and be confident in themselves and know that it is OK if everyone does not like them. I learned this from the support of my mother. Now, Daddy was working two and three jobs, so he was not around as much. However, when he was he let me know I was special. He had a nickname that he called me. Only called me that nickname. And when he walked in the house and asked, “Where is Daddy’s [nickname]?” I, definitely, knew all would be right with the world.

As I see what is going on in this world that seems to have become even more fast-paced, I see that many young people do not have this support. Many do not have the time and support of parents. The results of this social wasteland have been negatively severe. No child has ever asked to be born. So, this “I’m too busy” or “I gave him/her money to where s/he wanted to go or buy what s/he wanted to buy” is not really what children, especially pre-teens and adolescents, need today. They need parents’ or at least one of the parent’s TIME and TOTAL Attention.

When I became blessed with children, one through the heart (when I married my husband had a son by a previous marriage) and the other via the birth canal, I made a vow to the Good Lord to do all I could to be there for my children. I never wanted to be that professional mom who could conquer the world but whose children were wild and totally out of control and/or reclusive and not close with me. I was their “Mom.” Every Sunday morn, I cut out time for each to be able to share and talk with me. This was their time; it was sacrosanct.

So, their dreams, their moods, their encounters with friends and foes, I did my best to listen and let them share. No, I was not saint as a parent, but, by golly, I did all I could to let them know they were so very loved and so very important to me. And I feel that this may have been my saving grace when I did not always win “the mother of the year award.” So, if I were ever asked what to do when different thirteen-year-old moments or older occur, I can only say give your loved ones YOUR TIME!  Make that time for them!


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