Jennifer Coburn is a published author and a full-grown adult. She has a 14 year-old daughter named Katie. Katie just broke up with her boyfriend. How do we know? Because Jennifer Coburn told us all. Thanks, mom.
Katie reportedly handled the breakup well. Not so for Jennifer, who took the whole thing so hard that she suffered an emotional breakdown severe enough to cause her to take one of the most self-destructive actions in the world: writing a personal essay for Salon.com. Teenage daughter having a hard time in her personal life? Write an essay about it for the entire internet to read! It's Parenting 101.
See, Katie met John at camp, and they almost kissed but they didn't, and then they texted and had a long distance relationship for a while, and finally they broke up. Why didn't you kiss him, Katie? Why didn't you make out with John, Katie Coburn? Would you like to talk about your love life, Katie Coburn? Would you like to talk about sex, with us, the entire internet? Would you like that, Katie Coburn? Katie Coburn Katie Coburn Katie Coburn? Your mom would like that very much. "Katie's first boyfriend was special to me for several reasons," writes Katie's mom, on Salon. That's cool, cool topic of discussion for everyone. Wouldn't you agree, Katie Coburn?
I felt a bit guilty that my protracted adolescence might force Katie, in response, to grow up too quickly. She may have felt that one of us had to be mature, and since I'm clearly not up to the task, it fell to her.
I wondered if I was cheating her out of something precious and irreplaceable by becoming too emotionally embroiled in her private life. Did my romance with her love life short-change her experience?