How to Be (Kind Of) Cool
After years of trying to be just like you, your 9-year-old's decided you're pretty lame. She hates the way you dress, she doesn't want you near her friends, and don't even think about hugging her in public. How'd you get downgraded to Least Cool Person on the Planet?
Try not to take it personally. Between a simmering stew of hormones and a desire to figure out who she is and how to fit in with her peers, it's no wonder your child is rolling her eyes at you by the time puberty starts to kick in, says Susan Borowitz, author of When We're in Public, Pretend You Don't Know Me.
A few ways to help you stay off the road to Dorksville:
Don't try to be cool. You can be easy to talk to and fun. But feigning a crush on the lead singer of blink-182 won't win you brownie points. Besides, being cool isn't your job, says Borowitz. Setting limits is.
Pick your battles. Micromanaging your tween's every move will just make her more distant. Put your foot down only when she does something you're strongly against, like talking back or breaking curfew. But if she simply pleads with you to walk 20 paces ahead of her at the mall, why not?
Humor her. If she makes a reasonable suggestion, it's okay to go along with it. It'll make her feel as if her opinion matters, which will score a bunch of points for you.
Distinguish between public and private. If she cringes when you play your Duran Duran greatest-hits CD, you can always suggest she go into her bedroom and shut the door. But when her friends are over for dinner, refrain from blasting "Hungry Like the Wolf."
Put yourself in her shoes. Think how mortified you'd have been if your mom had pulled up a chair while you had friends over and gave her opinion on Madonna's fishnet tights or told them how cute your crush was. Adolescents will always be embarrassed by their parents. Try to minimize your hand in it.