Waiting for the insurrection

So far, so good on the teenage rebellion front



The first thing that crossed my mind the day my daughter was born was something along the lines of “this has not been a typical Monday morning.” But maybe the 23rd thing to cross my mind was this: “Someday this little girl is going to be a teenager.”

According to legend, the typical teenage girl can be a handful. I have heard tales of eye-rolling and stomping off in a huff and being generally disagreeable. And while my daughter will be 16 soon, we have yet to experience any of these things.

Still, I have to figure the rebellion is coming.

Her mom and I are lucky – she’s not the kind of kid who acts like that. At the same time, I’m not naïve enough to utter the phrase, “not my kid.” Saying that would curse us and ensure the huff/roll/stomp. Even writing this column is tempting the fates. Up to this point, though, the fates must be rather disappointed.

And that’s my point: we ask her to mow the lawn – she mows the lawn. We ask her to take the dog out – she takes the dog out. We all have our tasks around the house, and when it comes time for my daughter to do her part, she just does it.

I asked her once: “Why do you do everything you’re asked without objection?”

“Would it change anything if I didn’t?” she asked.

I assured her it wouldn’t.

She shrugged, I appreciated yet another example of how reasonable she was, and we moved on. I’m starting to wonder if we should’ve named her ‘Pragmattia.’

My own teen rebellion never amounted to much. The scariest thing I ever did was listen to Iron Maiden and attempt to grow my hair long. I think the hair thing was a lot more frightening than the crazy album covers. It was the 1980s and all my friends were growing their hair long. My hair doesn’t grow long, it grows up. In the end it was more Bozo than Nikki Sixx.

I checked with my wife about her rebellious phase. Turns out she didn’t really have one, either. She asked her mom to drive her to Allston Beat to buy a pair of Doc Marten boots – which, in the mid-to-late 1980s, was a telltale sign of someone who was safely and mildly nonconformist. But since her mother drove, I’m not sure that counts as rebellion. It’s probably closer to a favor.

Plus, now our daughter wears those exact boots, so I think the edginess has worn off those once-defiant air-flow soles.

Maybe we’ll be lucky. My daughter is a great kid – funny, smart, kind, thoughtful, and a whole bunch of other nice words. At this point I guess you’re thinking, “Shut up, Dad on Board. We don’t want to hear about your perfect kid.”

Alas, she is not perfect. She has this thing about not putting the dishes in the dishwasher that I’m convinced will one day send my wife over the edge. And truth be told once in a while her eyes will roll ever so slightly. But if that’s the extent of her flaws, I’d say we’re OK.    

Bill Burke is a writer who wonders what good deeds he did in a previous life to end up living in southern New Hampshire with his wife and a very agreeable teenage daughter. He is also managing editor of custom publications at McLean Communications.

More Dad on Board columns by Bill Burke

As seen through our dog’s eyes

Just call us Chew Toy, Boss and Beni

The BIG question

What does she want to be when she grows up? She has a few ideas.

The not-so welcome wake-up call

Mornings start early in our house – our teen daughter is less than thrilled

Bringing up Baby Driver

Driving instruction is best left to the professionals – I’m out
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