A 34-year-old mother is conflicted after her 15-year-old daughter expressed she no longer wanted to be driven to school.
Redditor throwraegg21 was disheartened after learning the truth about why her daughter did not want to be seen with her.
She visited the Relationship Advice subReddit to see what strangers on the internet would suggest to help her situation.
The Original Poster (OP) wrote:
“My daughter doesn’t want me to drive her to school any more because she has been negatively compared to how I look.”
“My eldest has started her sophomore year and is feeling conscious about her looks.”
“She recently confided in me that classmates have been telling her throughout the past school year that she ‘must have been adopted’ because she looks nothing like me (I don’t look like a typical mother of a 15yo).”
“Apparently they have been also making other rude comments about me that I won’t repeat here.”
“She has since asked me to stop driving her to and from school so that the comparisons would stop. She has also requested that I do not bring this up to the school’s administration in case it gets worse.”
“My heart breaks for her and I know how cruel teenagers can get, but I don’t think it is feasible for me to stop driving her.”
“Firstly other transport options would increase her journey length by at least 45 minutes each way, not to mention that such options won’t be feasible if she has to stay late for after school activities.”
“Also, I think she has nothing to be ashamed of and the bullies shouldn’t win. I absolutely think she’s gorgeous in her own right and has a heart of gold.”
“The masks are helping right now because half my face is covered and she has a new set of classmates. But I’m not sure how I should proceed with this.”
“In the longer run I don’t want her to let these bullies get to her too. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!”
Most Redditors offered one easy solution.
“Could it be as easy as just dropping her off a block from school and letting her walk in?” – Wittyndepressed
“Yes. This is a solution that generations of parents have used. Teens have been feeling this embarrassment about their parents for generations.”
“Just drop her off a few blocks away. It’s just a pragmatic issue, and this will solve it.”
“Persuading a teenager not to be embarrassed about her parents is a losing battle, not worth it. Just solve the practical problem. Drop her off two blocks away.” – oceanleap
“Honestly, this is the best advice. My mother had to do this for me. It just relieved the stress for me. Kids are a**holes, they truly are and I’ve matured as I’ve grown older so what others say do not bother me, but man it hurt as a teenager.” – faemur
“Hey, I just want to say you’re a really good mom for focusing on the impact this is having on your daughter rather than taking it as a personal attack on yourself.”
“I’m a childfree 30 F[emale] with a massive narcissist for a mother, and just thinking about broaching something like this with my mom when I was 15…yikes.”
“I would have never even come to her because of how she would have reacted/made it all about herself instead of listening to my struggle.”
“Kudos to you. I’m sure any effort you make will be greatly appreciated by your daughter (and fwiw I do think dropping her a block or two away is a great idea).” – DoeBites
While dropping her daughter off a few blocks away was a popular suggestion, others addressed her daughter’s issues with self-esteem.
“Friendly tip, do not, i repeat do not tell her she’s gorgeous ‘in her own right’ that could easily be condescending. Just say she’s gorgeous… why add ‘in her own right’?” – Absolace_
“The thing is, she won’t gain the confidence about her appearance–however she looks–until she’s confident in herself.”
“It really is a matter of being comfortable in your own life, with your own hobbies and interests and a couple friends to share that with.”
“Does she have friends? That would be critical to helping shield her from the bullies; with friends, she doesn’t stand out as much of a target and she knows that the people being assholes are just that, b/c friendships confirm that there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with you (if that makes sense).”
“I would work on supporting any interests she has–including clubs at school, or other activities outside it–and ensuring you create a safe and fun environment in your home, where she can bring friends and feel like herself. Positive feelings from that will help carry her through school.”
“Whatever you do, don’t tell her ‘you’re gorgeous in your own way and at least you’re nice’; that’s not comforting or helpful (in fact it’s worse). (I understand maybe you just wrote that here, but just in case.) Compliment without qualifiers.” – yildizli_gece
“I don’t think you can solve something like that because it’s other people’s issues.”
“It’s hard to teach resolve and grit, but maybe she can learn that other people’s opinions shouldn’t control her life.”
“While changing yourself to fit into society is kind of what childhood is about (learning to get along with kids, etc) you also need to be yourself at some point. School is only so long and being compared to your parents, adopted or not, isn’t the worse thing out there.” – nemesy73
At the risk of coming off as unsympathetic, this Redditor suggested a more “tough love” approach.
“It really sucks, but I’m going to give you some maybe counterintuitive advice.”
“Let her handle this.”
“She’s asked you to let her deal with this in a certain way, if she wants to take the bus, if she wants to take the extra time. Let her. Your daughter is what? 15-16?”
“she’s at an age where she NEEDS to start learning how to deal with her problems herself, if that means reporting them herself, or getting you involved, fine, but sometimes that’s going to mean modifying her own situation to mitigate those social issues she’s having.”
“I’ll give you an example from my own life. When I was 11, my parents divorced, my dad moved a couple hours away to a more rural area while my mom stayed in the more suburban wealthy area.”
“I had always been bullied as a kid, and I recognized the fact, and despite advice from my older brother/father/uncles to fight back it still kept on and on. I was locked into a social status that I couldn’t change because the kids around me wanted me there to pick on.”
“So, I chose to move to my dad’s in a completely new area, clean break, new social situation where no one would have any preconceptions about me. Mind you I made this decision when I was 13.”
“It worked wonders, I was able to develop socially and change my whole situation, I’ll always be an introvert, but kids in the new school knew not to bully me or pick fights because I would fight back hard.”
“My mom hated this from the start, and to be fair my dad has his problems, but this was a decision that I made about the course of my life and making the decision in and of itself was the first thing I ever learned about being an adult, it was the first step I took on the path to be the man I am today.”
“Sometimes we have to let our children make decisions. You should absolutely keep an eye on the situation, but let her try and handle this her way, if you want her to grow up to be a strong and independent woman, you need to let her learn to solve her own problems, if you don’t she’ll never learn to be independent or strong.” – DevilGuy
The thread served as a reminder about the potential cruelty of teenagers and that bullying remains a traumatic experience no one should have to go through.
Hopefully, the OP will come up with a solution that will alleviate the anxieties her daughter is having at school.