This is my first Christmas without my mother. Mom died suddenly in mid-September, three months before her 75th birthday. For mom, the holidays were less about Santa than stress. The yuletide anxieties began around Labor Day, when she'd fret about finding the perfect gift, and finding the time to find the perfect gift, and whether she'd bought enough perfect gifts.
Teenage girls are sensitive to the way people in authority talk to them, especially their mothers. They are easily wounded, feel criticized, and vulnerable when they sense or get outright disapproval. However, mothers are only trying to shape them up to be young women and don't understand their sensitive narcissism.
No matter how closely parents try to manage their children's lives they can't possibly protect them from life's trials and tribulations. Indeed, parents shouldn't protect their children from those things. Parents should guide their children instead in how to effectively manage the challenges they'll face on their own.
Hateful, mean pictures show up on the Internet every day, with people gleefully leaping in to add their ugly voices to the fray. But if we can counter that -- if we can think about the human side and the human cost of those pictures, we can make the world a kinder place and we can all be just a little better.