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How do you get teenage girls to move? They’re too big to drag out of bed and too quick to answer back when you try to use reason. In fact, I think I may need to set up a training camp with my partner to plot a good strategy because daughter one is very, very smart. Any attempts to cite reports [there were at least two out this week] about the health benefits of exercise [moving would be a big step forward in our house] are met with some sort of quickfire comment about science. The more I talk about exercise the more she resists and there is, of course, the slight worry that one day she will go the other way and become obsessed with exercise. It’s a fine line to tread.
She also manages to bring up daughter two in any discussions, even though I don’t. Daughter two is very athletic and rarely sits still. Daughter one has a low level of tolerance for daughter two, who she blames [still!] for coming on the scene in the first place and stealing her thunder despite thousands of talkettes with her about how wonderful it is to have sisters, how daughter two looks up to her, how she can look after her in her old age, how she can help daughter one look after me in my old age, etc, etc.
Perhaps the exercise thing is a plea for attention, but how to find another way for her to attract attention which is healthy? [In fact when I showed her this blog she blanched at the mere thought that she would be seeking attention. Apparently the opposite is the case. “I just want you to leave me alone”, she said]. The psychological skills required to deal with teenagers require in-depth study and I fear I am failing with every word that comes out of my mouth. The other day I told her she could at least read a book instead of just listening to music on her bed or do something at the same time as listening to music, eg, a couple of squat thrusts. Her reply? “I am doing something. I’m researching satanism.”
Now, I know the satanism thing is designed to provoke me and apparently loads of pop stars are into it these days so I was determined not to show any signs of rising to the bait. I merely told her that I thought she was too clever to follow a cult. Plus I’m pretty sure that satanists do a bit of exercise, even if it’s just flinging themselves around to Marilyn Manson tracks. See, I am never diverted from the primary purpose of my talks.
I have managed to drag her out of the house every day so far, even if it has taken hours. I took the whole family for a walk the other evening round the back of the nearby farm. Daughters two and three had bags full of provisions in case of emergencies. Toddler boy brought his Barbie scooter, not perhaps the best vehicle for a tramp through muddy farmlands. Daughter one strode ahead looking bored. At the end of the walk we came across a neighbour who has a teenage daughter around daughter one’s age. Turns out they were doing the same as I was, walking the teenager.