Last year I wrote a post about my beliefs on censorship when raising a child. At the time Baby Chick was 13 years old. She was at an age where I was trying to figure out how to handle a daughter on the cusp of maturity, too old for early readers, but possibly too young for some maturer YA. In that post I opted for less censorship, since that’s how I was raised and I feel like I’ve turned out spectacularly.
Parenting a child these days means I’m dealing with a different type of daughter. I now have a 15 year old, high schooler. Her school load is heavier than ever before, which leans less personal time. In addition, I now have a 15 year old daughter who has her first serious relationship. The question has suddenly become, how do you handle parenting a teenager who no longer reaches for a book?
I like Baby Chick’s boyfriend. As far as my daughter’s first real boyfriend could go, this kid is great. He’s kind. He’s respectful. He’s gentle with her. Frankly, I feel like I lucked out. He’s a really good kid. I have no issues on that front. I just really love seeing a book in my daughters hands, and I miss it.
I’ve always been that mom who subtly, and probably not so subtly, put books in my daughters hands. Weekly trips to the bookstore have always been a staple in both of our lives. Yes, she would gravitate toward the toys in Barnes & Noble, and I would steer her back toward the adventures between the covers. Now, suddenly she has no interest in browsing the bookshelves with me. I feel like she’s just sitting at the table and waiting to leave. Part of it is because she’s on her phone. Another part of it is, on the other end of that phone is her boyfriend. I feel it in my gut.
I think I have a problem, and I’m starting to think I’m the problem. I have this voice inside my head telling me this is normal. Whereas I’ve always had this uncontrollable urge to try and make everyone around me a reader. I love it to read. Everyone should love it. I truly believe, with the right book, everyone would love books. The problem is I take that belief and browbeat my family. Thank goodness they accept this quirk about me. Mosly. I read voraciously. One after the other. My husband reads on the rare occasion. Baby Chick has always fallen somewhere in the middle, and I need to be okay with her veering the other way.
Hopefully, I’m getting there.
While I agree that this is normal, I don’t think you are the problem! I feel so strongly that our kids need someone in their lives encouraging them to spend more time interacting with media that ISN’T their phone! Keep encouraging her to read, or at least to spend quality time with you while not on her phone. She’ll thank you when she’s older. (and honestly, probably now, just not to your face)
That is very true! I didn’t think about it in the sense that my hounding her about reading means she puts her phone down. She didn’t used to be that bad about it, but lately (with the bf) she’s always glued to her phone.
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I say keep encouraging but not necessarily nagging. She’s going to go through so many reading phases and otherwise in life. I didn’t read much as a teenager because my focus shifted. In my early 20s I started reading more again and I’ve enjoyed the return to my bookworm self, but anytime my reading feels forced or homeworky I tend to reject it. Put books in her hands, but let her take it from there. It sounds like you are raising a great kid.
Thanks so much, and that’s exactly how I’m trying to handle it. I really want to just sit her down and say, “read child!”