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Advice on teenage bridesmaid

(21 Posts)
Kward83 Sat 06-May-17 20:06:43

Hi parents of teenagers (specifically girls) - I'd love to hear your advice!

In a couple of weeks I will be the only adult bridesmaid for my sister in law, she is also having my daughter (3) and the grooms two nieces, 10 and 13. The 13 year old has been a complete pain, we think she's only being a bridesmaid because her younger sister wants to do it and she doesn't want to be left out, but she's a complete tomboy and seems to hate the idea of wearing a dress or having hair done etc.

While I respect that she has her own opinions and sense of style, she has been given many opportunities to say if she'd rather not be a bridesmaid but always says she does. She then proceeds to make things very difficult for my SIL - from refusing to look at bridesmaids dresses, crying and refusing to try the dress on and even refusing to allow the girls in the shop to measure her (even with clothes on) so they had to guess her size. She has also kicked up a fuss about everything from the food to the shoes.

My worry is that she'll throw a wobbly about something on the wedding day. Normally this girl wouldn't be my problem, but on that day I'm going to be "in charge" of our little group and the last thing I want is for her to refuse to put the dress on or start causing uproar in front of the bride as that could seriously ruin my SIL's day. Basically I'm after any advice from you experienced Mum's on how I could approach talking her down or gently persuading her to cooperate just for this one day!

What can I say to help her understand that this day really isn't about her, and she has said on several occasions that she wants to be a bridesmaid so it's a bit too late to tantrum now! I don't have much experience with stroppy teens and wouldn't want to make it worse!

Also I barely know this girl, I'll have only met her twice before the wedding. I'm not sure if that will work in my favour, as she won't know how to manipulate me, or if she'll simply ignore anything I say!

Any advice is much appreciated!

Slurrycart Sat 06-May-17 20:27:05

Mmm... a difficult one!

Speaking as the mother of a 13 yr old, I think I would try and get this girl on side before the wedding. Use one or both of the meetings prior to the event to take her out for a "grown up" coffee or pizza somewhere and talk to her like she is an adult.

First of all, (very kindly and gently) say you have noticed that she has been upset and ask her (very gently) if she has any worries or concerns that you could help her with perhaps?

Once you have helped her with her anxieties (and hopefully reassured her) then you could explain to her that as she is the oldest, you will need her help on the day to keep the little ones in order because they are bound to make a fuss about getting dressed etc or start crying. Explain that it is a very special event for the bride and groom and that you (together) only have one chance to get it right and your little team need to make everything go as smoothly as possible. Tell her that you hope you can rely on her as the older and more responsible one? Ask her if she thinks she will be able to do that and help? (Listen to her answer carefully.) Perhaps?

I would be very clear and deliberate in explaining that the day should be all about the bride and groom and tell her "that we will all need to cooperate and put up with things we may not like or enjoy for their sake. And we need to remind the younger ones of that too"

I would then repeat the next time you see her.

And repeat again on the day itself. (My 13 yr old seems to be in a dream half the time and is only able to plan/focus on what is happening in the next couple of hours sometimes. Also, teens can behave as though they are horribly selfish and not thinking about others when really it stems from ignorance and lack of life experience.)

Failing all that, perhaps offer her some sort of bribe in the form a a modest present afterwards?

Difficult to know what to advise when you don't know what the reasons are underlying her behaviour? Perhaps speak to her parents too?

Slurrycart Sat 06-May-17 20:29:51

Maybe also slip in something like "won't it be lovely on your wedding day when you can choose the clothes, and shoes and food that you like?" Maybe add a bit of humour "shame we will have to put up with that horrible meringue!" ???

bigbadbarry Sat 06-May-17 20:31:01

Slurry is wise but failing all that, bribery.

BreakfastAtSquiffanys Sat 06-May-17 20:31:25

What about asking the girl's mother or father for some support or advice?

NotTheBelleoftheBall Sat 06-May-17 20:33:06

Oh god Slurry you're so much nicer than me - I'd just get up in her grill and say "this is the most important day of my friend's life, if you ruin it, you're in trouble" (IDK what kind of trouble I'd actually be able to lay-on, probably just 'evils') but nothing winds me up faster than bratty behaviour, from people of any age.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Sat 06-May-17 20:36:03

Practice your resting bitch face and tell her to bloody well behave as she isn't a little child!!

AssembleTheMinions Sat 06-May-17 20:46:30

You're all much more patient and nicer than me. As the parent to two teenager daughters, I wouldn't be putting up with that crap. I would be asking one more time 'do you want to be a bridesmaid?' If you intend to carry on behaving like a brat, then you're excused from your role.

She's far too old for such dramatics.

Slurrycart Sat 06-May-17 22:10:28

Notthebelle I can assure you I am much less patient with my own!

plantsitter Sat 06-May-17 22:20:19

Was her mum around for the tantrums?

Kids are much better behaved for other people ime.

Astro55 Sat 06-May-17 22:24:36

Teen DD has more respect than that! She wouldn't chose to wear a dress but would for the duration with a smile of her face!

SleepFreeZone Sat 06-May-17 22:25:02

I would just make sure she had normal clothes with her so if she throws a wobbly on the day she can be relieved of her duties and can go and join the guests and let you all get on with it.

JennyTaylior Sat 06-May-17 22:32:40

The stroppiness is probably her only way of attempting control. Teens are well known for making things 'all about them' surely not just mine?

Actually, I would think she's feeling highly self conscious about the thought of 'all eyes on her' at the wedding and is lashing out in whatever way she can. All the fuss and attention about her appearance at this awkward age will be excruciating for her.

She will be conflicted - wanting to be a bridesmaid so she's not left out, and yet absolutely terrified about the event. She may even be behaving badly so someone turns around in a temper and says "that's it, you're not being a bridesmaid", and so taking the whole issue out of her hands. I doubt she wants that to happen though. Poor teenagers, it's a very difficult time.

Kward83 Sun 07-May-17 07:35:08

Thank you all! On the parent front, her Mum has been with her every time and I'm of the opinion that if Mum had been able to take control of this she would have done it already. I don't have the impression that their relationship is particularly great - they don't yell at eachother or anything, but they don't seem close and Mum obviously hasn't been able to get to the bottom of whatever this girls issue is. I've never met Dad, no idea of he is closer to her. They live a couple of hours drive from us and as I really don't know the family I don't think it would be appropriate for me to take her out or come talk to her privately unfortunately.

I quite like the idea of making her feel important on the day, though maybe helping with the younger girls is a bit more of a chore. Do you think she might respond well to having some 'important' jobs to do on the day? I'm struggling to think of things that aren't really girly though, like checking the bride's train or handing out confetti. Any suggestions?

junebirthdaygirl Sun 07-May-17 07:57:03

Is she wearing the same dress as her little sister? She might be feeling she is being treated like a baby. Maybe she could have something a little bit different as she is the big sister.

Kward83 Mon 08-May-17 11:26:38

She has a different dress to her little sister but only because the shop my SIL ordered them from last year forgot to place the order so she's had to source some different ones last minute!! A lovely seamstress is now working very hard to make sure the dresses fit the girls perfectly, and are a bit more similar to eachother, but they will look a little different ultimately. The original idea was to have them both the same, my poor SIL has had such a nightmare with all this!

specialsubject Mon 08-May-17 20:23:45

Tell the parents and let them deal with it. She either behaves or drops out. Why should you have to wrangle someone else's stroppy brat?

CaulkheadNorth Mon 08-May-17 20:26:46

She sounds insecure about her size/appearance to me.

Slurrycart Mon 08-May-17 20:31:35

Kward no suggestions for day (apart from setting an example of good behaviour for little ones maybe?) but wishing you well for it.

Sounds a bit strange about her mother - and puts you in a rather difficult position - especially as you don't know the child very well. Presumably the mother will be sitting in the body of the church on the day? If so, then let's hope, as pp suggested, that she behaves better for you than for her parent!

Crumbs1 Mon 08-May-17 21:33:25

I suspect she'll come good on the day - unless she's truly spoiled stupid. Grumps beforehand are no indication of how she'll be on the day. I'd go matter of fact "Put your dress on now or I'll carve your legs into replica Eiffel Towers".

JustDanceAddict Sat 13-May-17 09:03:16

My 14 yr old would hate to wear a girly bridesmaid dress even if she wanted the 'honour' of being a bridesmaid. She recently had to wear a dress for an occasion and we found the least girly one out there and it was fine. Maybe the teen in question could've been consulted on the style? As long as it matched the colour? That's all academic now though so she if she wants the honour, just give her some responsibilities on the day / maybe she can change for the party? DD was a bm at age 6 with a very girly dress and she barely smiled for the photos - she wanted to do it but by then she'd already shunned all girly things - they had made the dresses even more girly after they'd bought them!!

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