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Fathers may suspect it's not easy for their daughters to become women, but those same daughters have no idea how hard it is for fathers to stand by and watch. According to W. Bruce Cameron, "Having a child mutate into a teenager is a bit like being an airline passenger who must suddenly take over for a stricken pilot and land the plane. And in this case, the passengers are all yelling, 'I hate you! I hate you!' and slamming the door to the cockpit."
Cameron has two daughters, so he is doubly aware that raising teenage girls is well, impossible. He's been through braces (the most expensive metal on earth), kissing (do they have to use their lips?), teen "logic" ("I asked if I could go out with Lindsey and you said no, so I went out with Courtney"), and, of course, dating, which leads to the 8 Simple Rules. (Rule #1: if you pull into my driveway and honk, you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure as heck not picking anything up.)
If your little girl has moved out and a teenager has taken her place, this book will help you do something you probably thought was not possible in your situation: laugh.
|Publisher:||Workman Publishing Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.94(d)|
About the Author
W. Bruce Cameron makes his home in Santa Monica, CA.
Read an Excerpt
A Father's Guide to the Impossible
Studies show that the world population of teenagers is on the rise, and I'm convinced that every single one of them comes over to my house after school to eat my food. (My wife ignores my instructions and actually spends money trying to satisfy these adolescent appetites, which is a bit like trying to warm a winter day by turning up the heat and opening your windows.)
Anyway, the world is positively teeming with teenagers, and as long as people continue to think about starting a family, the trend is likely to continue. This is not my fault. I am only willing to accept the blame for the ones that my wife caused and have taken educational measures with her to make sure it doesn't happen again. But if I am, indeed, surviving the experience, perhaps I can share with you some of the knowledge I have so painfully gained over what has been more than half a decade of tears, hormones, and stress fractures. If you've had a baby, or are engaged in breeding, I will tell you what you have to look forward to. If it's been about a dozen birthdays since you brought home that darling little bundle of girl baby, I am willing to explain the skills and tactics you will need to make it through the next eight years with a minimum of trauma.
Having a child mutate into a teenager is a bit like being an airline passenger who must suddenly takeover for a stricken pilot and land the plane. And in this case, the passengers are all yelling, "I hate you! I hate you!" and slamming the door to the cockpit.
With a book like this-an "owner's manual," if you will-you may learn enough to make it to the airport safely. Otherwise, you might as well go back and finish watching the movie with everybody else.
The Gathering Storm
First things first: Let's diagnose the situation. Just because your blood pressure is so high you swear other people can hear it doesn't mean you're suffering from teenager-your daughter might be a "preteen," which is sort of like having a tornado before a hurricane hits. Here's a checklist that you can use to confirm your worst fears.
Warning Signs That You May Be Living with a Teenager
- Your phone is always busy, so you put in a second line and it's always busy.
- Your gas tank is always empty and your laundry basket is always full.
- While you've generally been in favor of them up until now, suddenly "Miracle Bras" seem like a really bad idea.
- You realize it's been more than a year since you haven't had to pay a late fee when you rent a video.
- Your car insurance suddenly costs more than your car.
If you are experiencing some of the above warning signs, do not panic. Follow the advice contained in this book and remain focused on your goal, which is to get the teenagers moved out of the house before they breed and the whole cycle begins again. (Some sociologists decry the loss of the "generational home," where grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren all live under the same roof. I've never heard such nonsense in my life.)
Remember, you can get through this. Your parents did, which is why they always start laughing when you call to explain to them how impossible it is to live with teenage daughters. (If, as they are choking through their hilarity at your expense, they claim that your child's behavior sounds "just like you at that age," hang up immediately. Not only is this completely ridiculous, but if you allow your parents to express this thesis, they will become obsessed with the idea, and that's all you'll hear for the next decade.)
I Need You, Leave Me Alone
When children are young, dads regard themselves as giant shock absorbers, there to protect the family from the ruts and bumps on the road of life. But gradually, the role of the father evolves. You begin to see yourself as more like a coach, running your children through practice drills so they'll be better prepared when they have to go out and play the real game. Life's a contact sport, dads will argue, so a few non-fatal bruises along the way merely toughens the body and steels the soul. If a daughter fails to save enough money to purchase a homecoming dress, why, then, she doesn't get a homecoming dress! (Naturally, no one else in the family agrees with this.)
There are a few exceptions to this now-is-the-time-to-experience-some-of-life's-pitfalls philosophy: some calamities, such as teenage boys, are viewed as still too dangerous for your daughters in all but the most controlled of situations. And these are the very experiences your daughters will most crave, thrusting the father/daughter relationship into a series of battles that can be summed up as the father saying, "I can't help you out of every unfortunate situation you get yourself in to. You need to do things on your own now, except for when I don't want you to."
On the other side of the battle zone, your daughter is saying, "I don't need your advice. I don't want your rules. I am an adult. I am completely independent. I need money for lunch."
Having a teenage daughter puts you in what is commonly referred to as a "punting situation." However, there is no receiving team on the field, so you're going to have to carry the ball yourself. It's not going to be easy - in fact, I'm pretty sure it's impossible. But no one else is going to do it: you've got to, you're the father.
Table of Contents
A Stiff Dose of Reality (1)
The Gulf of Communications (13)
The Relationship (or Lack Thereof) Between Allowance and Chores (31)
The Telephone (49)
Field Observations (65)
Crime and Punishment (85)
Unauthorized Physical Changes (111)
Feeding Your Teenage Daughter (130)
The High-Tech Teenager (152)
Prohibited Teenage Fashions (172)
It's Her Part and I'll Cry If I Want To (195)
Learning to Drive (210)
There Are Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter (229)
The First Job (250)
The Boyfriend (267)
The High Cost of Higher Education (289)