"My mom never lets me do anything. Life sucks," said Jensen, leaning against the hood of her 1995 Volkswagen Jetta. "And my hair is so flat."
According to inside Jensen sources, the teen first reported hating life in March 1993, when her mother refused to allow her to wear makeup to a school basketball game. Since then, she has repeatedly said that her life will be "complete shit" until she finally moves out of the house for good. She has also frequently expressed a desire to be 18.
"Kelly appears to have a high level of anxiety and frustration, which typically stem from an inability to cope with home and school environments that totally suck," said noted therapist and child psychology expert Dr. Eli Wasserbaum.
Compounding her problems, Jensen suffers from a severe lack of privacy, sharing her home environment with younger brother Jeremy, a little dweeb, and parents Kenneth and Terri
Jensen, who are on her back about every little thing constantly."No one ever leaves me alone, ever. God!" a teary-eyed Jensen said Tuesday, running upstairs to her bedroom. Minutes later, the sound of Stabbing Westward's Wither, Blister,
Burn + Peel could be heard reverberating through the floor from the 16-disc CD changer in her bedroom.
"Often, people are simply unable to cope with the mental pressures that come with the loss of free will associated with an heavily monitored living situation," said Grant DeVries, a behavioral sociologist with the Connecticut Department of Corrections. "Kelly has expressed many times that living at home is totally like jail."
Jensen's hatred of her parents reached an all-time high last weekend, when she was forced to miss the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards to travel all the way to Aunt Jodie's house in Providence, RI, for a family gathering. Jensen spent the entire two-hour car ride in silence, save for a single declaration of, "I'm sweating," spoken through clenched teeth.
Jensen's parents have attempted to address her various dislikes, which reportedly include church, her lame bicycle, 11 p.m. curfew, the family's inadequate basic cable package, and all fish-based foods except for breaded fish sticks. Among Jensen's parents' conciliatory efforts was a promise to install a second phone line in her bedroom if she is able to maintain a C average in algebra, an offer she rejected as "total blackmail."
In addition to an unsatisfactory home environment, Jensen faces extreme boredom at school. Guidance counselor Janet Lancy is confident the problem can be resolved. "Once Kelly finds an academic subject she enjoys, she will start to adopt a much more positive outlook," Lancy said. "Now we just need to come up with a subject for Kelly other than math and science, which are totally pointless and a waste; English and social studies, which are gay; computer science, which is for weirdos; and home ec which is so 1964."
Despite Lancy's confidence, many question whether there is an easy solution to the teen's boredom. "Kelly is a complex, deeply conflicted person," said Calhoun High bus driver Hal O'Connor, who drove Jensen to school all of last year. "She would often say how she hated winter, but also expressed a dislike of the bright sun. She said her new Patagonia pullover was annoying to put on, but also said she couldn't stand jackets that zip up all retarded. We're talking about an extremely complicated individual here."
For now, Jensen's only means of coping with her "huge nightmare of a life" are the daily phone conversations she has with her best friend, Erica King. With King she is able to freely discuss her hatred of her way-big size-eight feet, Crossgates Mall's annoying security guards, the family dog Shorty who hates her, geeks who ruin the curve, black-and-white movies, sharing a locker with one of the Dominic twins, mowing the lawn, and the swimming unit in gym class, which is "so gay" that Jensen "cannot even handle it."
In a failed attempt to hearten Jensen, King pointed out that at least her parents "let her use the beach house whenever she wants." Jensen sardonically replied, "Big whooptie," and held her middle finger up to the phone.
Excellent Parenting Techniques
- Lectures. As much as we hate to admit it, lectures affect us a lot. Whether we are in trouble or you are warning not to do something stupid, lectures always impact us greatly. When you raise your voice at us, we understand that no more games will be played, and that you mean every word you say. We take lectures as very serious conversations. Whether we show it or not, we all walk away from lectures scared of your wrath but having gained much wisdom.
- Grounding. Don't be afraid to take away our privileges and belongings. Although we may pretend that we hate you, we'll get over it quickly. If we deserve to be punished, punish us!
- Tell us "No!" None of us wants to turn out as a spoiled brat. If you honestly don't want us to go somewhere or hang out with someone, then tell us "no." Use this technique from the
time we are little until we leave the house. The simple word "no" can never be worn out.
- Communicate. We like you, and we want to have conversations with you. Tell us your
daily plans and what help you need from us. Ask us questions and listen to our answers. From the time we are little, work on building a trusting relationship with us.
- Show us respect. Let us have our privacy unless we give you the right to invade it. Respect our feelings and beliefs. Of course sometimes we will disagree with each other, so show us your point of view and let us show you ours. If our opinion is absolutely wrong in your eyes, tell us why in a polite way. If you respect us, we will respect you.
- "I love you!" Say this often. We love hearing you say these beautiful and perfect words to us. We guarantee that the more you say these words to us, the more we will say them to you!
- Give us freedom to make some mistakes. Of course you don't want us to make the same stupid mistakes that you made, but sometimes we need to. Don't let us make any huge, life-changing mistakes, but give us freedom to mess up a little. We learn well from our mistakes. However, don't ever hesitate to teach us right from wrong. Setting a good example is the best way to teach us how to live.
- Praise us for doing good. We love to please you, and your opinion matters greatly to us. When you see us doing something good, let us know.
- Support activities that we enjoy. We sit through your favorite television shows and we pretend to show interest in everything you do, but the truth is sometimes we are having the worst time of our lives trying to please you. If we play piano, come to our recitals without complaining, and compliment us. We support what you like, so try to support what we like as well.
- Have fun with us. Don't be afraid to take us places and have good times with us. We will all remember our childhood days forever, so help us make them memorable.
Parenting Techniques for the garbage can
- Not sticking to a punishment. This can be blamed on our excellent manipulation skills, but don't give in. If you punish us, leave the punishment intact unless it was completely unfair. Every time you give in, you become a bigger victim of manipulation.
- Taking out bad moods on us. We all have bad days, but try not to take yours out on us. We feel like it is our fault when the truth is, you are just being human. When you have a bad day, tell us, and we will leave you alone but we can't read your mind!
- Bribing. We really hate to let you in on this secret, but bribing us doesn't work. We love getting money and other things from you, but this portrays you as a softy.
- Telling our secrets to other people. You need to hold up your end of our trusting relationship. When we tell you a secret and then hear you repeating it to your best friend, we lose our trust in you. If we tell you something for your ears only, then keep it there!
- Changing rules with every child. Of course some of the minor rules will change between children, but the major ones such as curfews, dating, wearing make-up, and backtalking need to stay the same from child to child.
- Keeping important information from us. When quiet conversations are going on and you change moods easily, we know that a problem has occurred. If you intend to keep a secret from the family for a while and then spring it on everyone, don't keep it a secret for too long.
- Comparing us to siblings. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. Don't compare us to our brothers and sisters. Not only do you make us feel dumb, you make us feel left out. If we do something wrong, point it out, but don't compare us to our peers.
- Blaming us for something we didn't do. If we are being blamed for something and tell you we didn't do it, take our word for it unless we've been known for lying in the past or unless you have strong evidence to think otherwise.
- Distributing punishment unjustly. When we and one of our siblings break the same rule, punish us to the same degree. Don't always punish us exactly the same way, but do not let one of us get off easy and the other be grounded for life.
- The silent treatment. The silent treatment should never be necessary. We just become more frustrated with you, and your anger level rises too. Work out the problem, don't ignore it!
How To Say It To Girls: Communicating with Your Growing Daughter
Price: $6.61 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over $25.
You Save: $10.34 (61%)