Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teen Scene -- The Mom Factor

If you've ever visited my blog or caught my tweets, you probably know I'm a mom.

I just recently finished a round of revisions on my manuscript, and some things my main character says and does to her mom made me pause and cringe.  The thought of my own child saying or doing those things to me some day in the future almost made me hit the delete key.

But I didn't.  Because that's a part of life. 

I also have a teenage brother, and I can tell you from first hand exposure that sometimes (some, not all, of course) teens are downright evil.  (Well, sometimes all of us are.)  They'll say things to their parents to be intentionally hurtful.  They'll do whatever they can to push that big red button on the end of their parent's nerves only because they can.

And the thing is, no matter how much I don't want to admit it as a parent, it's how teenagers are.  Even if I want to create a parent/teen relationship that's super close and friendly, there are still going to be those moments. 


Trust me, as a mom I'd much rather have perfect parent-child relationships in my books.  I mean, that's exactly what I want for me and my kid, so it's what I skew toward.  But let's face it, it wouldn't be realistic.  Teens fight with their parents, so don't let the Mommy Factor blind you of that.

Any other moms (or dads!) out there dealing with this?  What do you do to make sure you're being authentic instead of projecting your wishes in your writing?


Michelle Julian said...

Thanks for this post. The relationship between my MC and her mother is a large part of my MS and so far her interiority is the only evidence of a bad relationship (the MC basically gives her mother the silent treatment). I will have to up the tension and dialogue upon revisions!

KO: The Insect Collector said...

So true- real, loving relationships don't necessarily make for good fiction. Especially in YA/MG where you often need your MC to be isolated from their parents so they can make those decisions alone.

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

As my mother, with a background in child psychology, foster work, and living with me (possibly the most difficult and volatile) says, faults show the depths of our relationships. A parent who can reflect the hurts that come in a mother-teen relationship authentically, along with the other aspects, have real empathy and a beautiful writing ability. Go mommys!

Meredith said...

I think I'm just hardened. My daughter has been having "You're ruining my life!!!" episodes since she was about 6 months old. So I'm warmed up and ready for the real thing.

I like when parent-child relationships have depth. Even the so-called best relationships aren't perfect, and we all say or do things we regret. It's the end of the day that matters, and I think as long as everyone truly loves each other, it's all good. :)