A True Teen Tragedy…From “Bobby” to “Barbie”

by denny hagel on June 30, 2011

Kaitlyn packed and ready for camp!

Parents of a teen are quick to share their tales of woe of coping with the mood swings and flood of emotions that come from out of nowhere. I found myself in the middle of such a conversation just the other day at one of my granddaughter Kaitlyn’s friend’s birthday party.

One Dad shared his amazement at how his daughter frequently looks at him in a half-amazed half-disgusted look in response to almost everything and says, “Are you kidding me?” Another Mom topped that with the flood of tears that appears in response to questions like, “Are you going to the game tonight?”

We all took great comfort in knowing we weren’t alone and appreciated the humor because we were all having similar experiences. However, the one to top, I must confess was my tale of woe…at least it got the biggest laugh!

Last week Kaitlyn, almost 14, spent the week at an overnight 4-H camp with several of her friends. I was confident she would have a wonderful experience because she was signed up for kayaking, archery and animal science…all her very favorite things to do. However, when I met her at the gate on pickup day, she didn’t greet me with the same “happy to see you…boy I sure missed you” facial expression that I had seen in previous years. In fact, I barely got a hug.

Inquiring if she was alright only received a grunt that I interpreted as “yes”.

Once home, she began to open up…yes, camp was great, yes, she had a blast, yes, she made some wonderful new friends…oh and by the way…yes, she met a boy!

As she began to share every minute detail of how they met and what his name was (Bobby) and how nice he was and how funny he was, and oh how very cute he was, I noticed her mood lifted and became almost giddy. It didn’t take a PhD in psychology to figure out she was down in the dumps at pick up time because she didn’t want to leave camp…she was experiencing her first taste of puppy love!

When this was brought to light during our conversation, the flood of tears began to flow mixed with obvious pangs of sadness. She realized she probably would never see him again as he had been a part of the group that had been brought in from other counties.

To be honest, my heart was breaking for her. I could remember my first love and how the pain just cut through my heart. I could still remember how hollow I felt when our time together came to an end. (Also a camp love story at age 14!)

I did and said everything I could think to do and say to ease her pain and then decided she just needed to walk through the experience and feel whatever she felt. I decided to just listen, knowing she would be fine in a matter of time.

After a couple of hours of reliving the entire amazing week and the saga of “Bobby and Kaitlyn”, mixed with the occasional emotional outburst declaring the total and complete unfairness of life, she decided she needed to go to her room for some quiet time and rest. I agreed it was probably best.

A few hours later her grandfather arrived home from work and I clued him in to the tragedy Kaitlyn was dealing with. He felt sad that she was in pain, but we both knew this was part of growing up. We decided when she woke up we would take her and her brother to dinner at their favorite restaurant to lighten the mood.

Promptly at 6:00 p.m. we heard Kaitlyn’s door open. My husband and I briefly looked at each other as if to say, “Brace yourself, here she comes!” And as she came around the corner to the kitchen, she had a smile on her face and said “Hi Papa, I didn’t know you were home already, but I am so glad that you are…I need your help in the storage room.”

My husband, looking totally baffled, gave a quick confused glance toward me and then said to Kaitlyn, “Sure Princess, what do you need from storage?” And she replied, “My Barbie dolls!”

Confused. Speechless. Dumbfounded. Relieved. There wasn’t much at that point either of us clearly understood, but we did know one thing for sure, Kaitlyn had recovered!

The best medicine IS humor, especially when you are raising a teen!


Tips, tools, strategies in a complete program with a
time-tested proven formula to strengthen your relationship
with your teen AND experience the joy every parent wants!

Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parent coach, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 150 articles on parenting, several of which have attracted international attention.

Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her with an understanding of her value as an individual, her innate power to choose by way of her thoughts, ideas, opinions and beliefs, thus, instilling in her a strong sense of personal responsibility for what happens in our lives

She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, a company dedicated to helping parents release parenting paradigms of the past and consciously choose to raise their children to approach life with a positive mindset and strong sense of self. It is Denny’s passion to combine what she learned through her formal education in early childhood education and psychology and what her parents instilled in her and pass this on to all parents.

Denny has created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting Discussion Forum" on Face Book which now has nearly 600 members.  She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working in the parent coaching field. Denny Hagel is the author of the newly published "The Missing Secret to Parenting", "The C.P.R. Program for Parents & Teens: Conflict Prevention/Resolution Formula", "Mini-Me Syndrome" and two free e-booklets Parenting Using the Law of Attraction and Becoming an Awakened Parent".


  • http://twitter.com/SusanMcKenzieWY Susan McKenzie

    How amazing you and Kaitlyn can share the very same love-at-camp story at the same ages! Denny, I love how you so meaningfully weave your personal life experience with the wisdom that permeates your life story… and that we get to vicariously benefit from these windows into your home! I love you!

  • http://casamariadesigns.com/wordpress/ Maria Hidalgo-Ferretti

    I love it Denny! You made me laugh. And yes, the most ‘terrible” crisis with our teenagers, if we just wait a little, usually get miraculously resolved!

    Thank you Denny for another great post!


  • http://www.thechoicedrivenlife.com Olga

    Such a great story and such a precious moment you will never forget. It is also amazing to me how quick she recovered. I am pretty sure that, that was because she had a listening mom. Such a great example of a bonding experience with your daughter and a growing up lesson for her as well.

  • Debbie

    Oh how I miss those days when attention could easily be diverted or changed and simpler things were enough to satisy a younger teen. It was at age 14 my daughter started showing signs of Borderline Personality Disorder, which I put down to teen angst. I was rpepared (as much as a parent can be), for the disdain, disinterest and disconnect that comes with the teen years.
    But 14 was a breeze, even with all the trouble in school, compared to 16-18. My humor was intact, in the beginning, but it has eroded and all but disappeared in the turmoil that is BPD and all the “at leasts” I used to console myself with, have disappeared.

  • Denny

    Debbie, I can understand to a point your feelings of sadness over your daughter. Kaitlyn is my granddaughter who I am raising (along with her brother almost 13)…although not as devastating as BPD, my daughter has several severely limiting learning disabilities, the least of which is ADD. These combined have her “stuck” in a mind of a 17-18 yr old (she is almost 34) and she continues to make choices that derail her life, emotionally, physically and as of late, legally. Although I try to maintain humor with her as well, I can empathize that it is not always easy. Thus, I am truly grateful for these trying yet tolerable and humorous times with my grandchildren.
    Much love to you! Blessings~

  • Denny

    So wonderful to have you back Maria! Thanks for commenting and your kind words!

  • Denny

    Blessings my friend, thank you for always sending such supportive comments! The love is mutual! :))

  • http://twitter.com/thekidscoach Naomi Richards

    How fab is this story. It just shows you doesn’t it sometimes our chidlren we think are grown up but really they still crave to be a little boy or girl. Lovely blog Denny.

  • Joanie McMahon

    How true that humor is great medicine !! Great Denny.

  • Denny

    Thanks Naomi!

  • Denny

    Thank you Olga, as I am sure you know, life is always full of “teachable moments”!

  • http://imdebtfree.net Cheree Miller

    I SO did not see that coming! What a great story, Denny. Amazing how they can be in agony one minute with nothing to live for, and nothing wrong the next. In fact, I know “grown ups” who still react that way with relationships! Thanks for the smile.

  • http://jrrsehopecoaching.com RJ, the Hope Coach

    Teens are truly the greatest people-becoming ever! I’m thinking we all need to take some of their “crisis-management” strategies to heart.

    ~RJ, the Hope Coach

  • http://www.webmarketingconnections.com Carol Douthitt

    Denny, thanks for sharing your precious story of how time heals all wounds… and how sometimes the pain is only for a “short time”!;-)  I’m glad Kaitlyn had such a wonderful and memorable camp experience!

  • http://www.ad-virtualassistance.com Anastasiya Day

    Denny thank you so much for posting this article! Great post. I agree with Carol – time heals all wounds!

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