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Parenting 101: When Your Teen Asks: “How Do I Look?”

Cozy in bed, I open my eyes. The day before me is replete with promise. I hear footsteps coming down the stairs and my teenage daughter is at my door.

“How do I look?” she asks

The dreaded words—the words that make me hold my breath. At first I pause. Then I take a second to think. Finally, with hesitation, I give the answer. “Great, you look adorable,” I say as I gasp for air and wait for a response. She does not move. It seems I am not yet off the hook.

“Does my hair look good?”

Once again, I pause. Then, I think. Finally, I answer.

“Yes, it looks good,” I say casually and with confidence. “Thanks a lot” she whines sarcastically as she walks away.

Parenting 101 at 7:15 a.m. and I have already failed.

Determined to turn failure into success, I spend the day mulling over my mistake. I come up with a plan for tomorrow.

Cozy in bed, I open my eyes. The day before me is replete with promise, yet I am filled with fearful anticipation. My teenage daughter appears at my bedroom door.

“How do I look?” she asks.

I proceed with my prepared answer: “Do you like the way you look?” I cross my fingers and hope.

“Thanks Mom. That’s a big help,” she sneers with sarcasm as she walks away. Failed again.

My daughter wants my opinion, or so it seems. She wants neutrality, or so I suspect. She wants me to lie, or so I worry. NO!

She simply wants to set me up.

One more try, I tell myself. I must not give up. Tomorrow, I will be ready.

Cozy in bed, I open my eyes. The day before me is replete with promise and I have no fear. The shower is warm, and my new shampoo smells great. My teenage daughter is at my bathroom door.

“How do I look?” she asks.

“What honey?” I ask. “ I can’t hear you. Have a great day and I’ll see you after school!” My daughter turns and walks away.

Hmm, I think. This shampoo really does smell great.

Susan Borison

Susan Borison, mother of five, is the founder and editor of Your Teen Media. Because parenting teenagers is humbling and shouldn’t be tackled alone.