Your daughter isn't human. This belief is central to driving her bat-crap crazy. Never, and I mean never, acknowledge your shared humanity.
Once you nail that down, the rest is easy. And the Golden Rule need not apply.
Oh, and it helps to keep repeating the famous line from USA Network's Chrisley Knows Best, “There's no normal here.” Chant it. Post it on the bathroom mirror. Set it to music.
Now we can get down to brass tacks.
Start when she's young, very young. Punish the smallest infraction. Let's say she's three-years old and refusing to eat those nasty, disgusting canned peas. You lose this one, baby, you lose the war! If you don't force her to swallow every pea, next she's gonna be stealing cars, doing drugs, you name it. So serve those peas and nothing but those peas to her for every meal until she chokes 'em down.
If she gets mad at you, nip that in the bud! Anger isn't allowed. Comprende?
When schooldays roll around, make sure your girl is the odd man out. The “weird” one. You might arbitrarily order her never to speak to her #BFF ever again. That works great. Forbidding all field trips will get her cross-examined by her peers. Teach her to lie, make excuses, try to please everyone. That way, she'll never learn boundaries nor a backbone with them nor with you.
Undoubtedly, like all girls, her appearance is central to her self-esteem. Of course, it shouldn't be, so make sure she never looks like the other girls. Whatever hairstyle is “in,” give her the opposite. I heard this story once about a girl who wore those ridiculous “mall bangs” in the 90's. As soon as she'd get her gravity-defying bangs curled, teased and sprayed into place, her father would crush 'em flat with this hand. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!
And whatever you do, do not allow age-appropriate maturity milestones in step with her girlfriends. If they're wearing makeup, forbid it and label it “slutty.” Get her driver's license? You gotta' be kidding me! Going to the mall or parties or anything...hell no! Sleep with her bedroom door closed? Think again.
Stylish dressing...what are you thinking!? The key here is that she's not allowed to look too good. Hey, it's character building and will instill lifelong body shame. And a nice by-product is that she won't have any boyfriends nor dates, so she can keep her mind focused on her studies.
At some point, your daughter may begin to evidence symptoms of stress. She won't show anger, because you forbade it years ago, but she may develop tension headaches and OCD. Let's say she picks obsessively at her skin. This will give you an opportunity to up the ante. First, yell, scream, rage and lecture at her. Vow to never give her a compliment again 'til she quits that crap. Next, forbid her from touching her own face. If that doesn't work, confiscate all her foundation and concealer. And if that doesn't shame her into stopping, try the opposite tack. Order her to wear full cover-makeup 100% of the time. And if she dares to appear in your presence barefaced on a lazy Saturday morning, stare at her skin and grimace without making eye contact.
Education is where it's at. Gotta love when she gets straight A's. Now that's a report card you can be proud to sign. And you have a lot to do with it, Mom and Dad. Keep her nose to that grindstone, her ass at her desk. And no matter how hard she works, make it clear that it's never enough. Tell her she “almost failed,” even though she actually could join MENSA. Threatening summer school is an excellent tactic. Gotta love the way the light goes out of her eyes when you bring that up.
Of course, we mustn't overlook our child's spirituality either. If you happen to be religious, make sure the child believes themselves to be the worst of the worst, unworthy of the love of God, hell-bound...unlike you. Accuse her of being obsessed with evil and bringing you under spiritual attack. I heard of this one dad, you're gonna love this, who forced his girl to peruse book after book of Holocaust pictures to “break” her obsession with evil. I'm tellin' ya, man!
Slut shame her. She may be a virgin, but make her believe she's an almost-slut. Accuse her of trying to seduce her father. Forbid her to look at, speak to or even think about that nice boy she likes. Then, interrogate her daily on her thoughts. This will have the nice side-effect of creating a Pink Elephant. In an effort to not think about him, she will obviously think “about” thinking about him. This will give you a daily “out” for taking out your own rage on your baby girl, for her own good, of course. If she starts getting jumpy and easily startled, don't worry about it. It's nothing.
Oh, and by the way, teach her impossibly high standards for the kind of “good” man she can marry. She may only be seventeen, but you can pretty much guarantee right now that she'll never find Mr. Right. No man could meet those requirements, so you're assured of having your girl forever! I'm thinking Bette Davis in Now Voyageur and Norma Shearer in The Barretts of Wimpole Street.
And whenever she's doing anything, watch her. Stare at her. Ready to jump on the slightest mistake, urging her to speed up. Then accuse her of being jumpy, like the proverbial cat on a hot tin roof.
If, by some miracle, she makes it to age eighteen still sound of mind, it's time to bask in her glory! Sure, throw the big graduation party, but make sure it's all about you, baby! I heard about this one Dad who monologued to the party guests for two hours about his skill as an educator, while the graduate was ignored. Isn't that hysterical!?
Just because she's eighteen and a high school graduate, doesn't mean diddly squat. She owes you one, mate! After eighteen years wearing yourself to a frazzle to raise her right, the least she can do is spend her eighteenth summer in your basement refurbishing, painting, repairing, fixing up the house you neglected to bring her up.
College? Are you kidding me!?! You didn't work this hard on her just to throw her to the wolves! Nope, she's gonna live at home, attend local community college and then get a job.
And just because she's now in their twenties doesn't mean shit either. Age is just a number. By this time, she's pulling down a good wage. It's called rent, baby. She walks out your door and there's thousands gone to some landlord or mortgage company who doesn't need it the way you do. Plus, handled correctly, I bet you can get her to do all your errands free-of-charge while you begrudge her a daily shower and forbid nighttime bathroom use. She's so sweet. Gotta love that girl!
Now, if she gives you any crap about moving out or traveling, convince her the world is a horribly dangerous place. Convince her a rapist is around every corner, lurking in ever doorway and parking lot. It's called Stockholm Syndrome! You set the stage back in the eat-your-peas-and-don't-get-mad, era.
Congratulations! You're now the proud parent of a chronically sad daughter with OCD, C-PTSD and Stockholm Syndrome.
Oh, I totally forgot to mention, if she survived her “upbringing,” she's the strongest woman you'll ever meet because she isn't bat-crap crazy.
But you are!
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From relationships to toxic families, from current events to critical reviews, Lenora has a unique "take" on whatever's happening and shares it in her syndicated blog. Gritty. Real. Funny. Click here for bio.
If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting himself or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is staffed by certified crisis response professionals.