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

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