I have a teenage daughter. She is very beautiful, funny, silly and adventurous. I am not only saying this because she is my daughter, I am saying this because its the truth. She is a great athlete and loves to hang out with boys, she has way more confidence than I ever did and already knows more at almost 15, than I knew at 22. I was not close to my mother, I don't know if its because I was adopted and I have created many theories around this as I've aged but I was determined to be close to her from day one. I used to sing to her every day when she was safe in the womb and I used to imagine how amazing she would be. I prayed for her to have green eyes and beautiful brown hair, to have my husbands metabolism and be funny and outgoing. The powers that be did not disappoint. We are very close. I don't know what I would do without her, I spend hours with her every day, we have coffee every morning and hang out in the afternoons, when her friends come over I sometimes just sit around and hang out with them. I give advice to the kids, I read their tarot cards, I listen to them. And they talk, oh boy do they talk. When parents judge each other, it pisses me off mainly because, you cannot compare parenting a child who has few friends, doesn't socialize or play sports to parenting a kid who plays three sports, has a multitude of friends and opportunities and talks to pretty much everyone in her world. I don't judge other moms, don't get me wrong, I will judge someone who chooses drugs over their child or a parent who is neglectful because they made a choice to have a child, its their responsibility to see it through. I wont judge the mom who wont let their kids out on the weekends, or who has trouble setting boundaries or makes any multitude of decisions. It is their life, their kids and I don't believe there is a right way and a wrong way to parent. Every human is different and has different wants and needs. My son is opposite of my daughter in so many ways, and I parent him differently, so for all those parents who judge me, go ahead, you are comparing apples to oranges. I know my kids, I spend time with them. My daughter is outgoing and has an adventurous streak. If I didn't allow her to do things, she would do them anyway, but I wouldn't be able to guide her to make better decisions. I am a pretty laid back parent but I am also strict in many ways. I know her and her friends drink, but she is not allowed to sleep over other peoples houses and I have to pick her up every night so I can have a full conversation with her and I will be able to know if she's intoxicated or high. I want her to have boundaries and to know if she crosses them, there are repercussions.
I am my daughters friend but first I am her mother. I have spent the last four years talking to her about drugs, boys, school, sports and trying to teach her all the things I wish I knew when I was her age. She knows that all boys want to get in her pants, she needs to find ones that also want to get to know her. The ones that stare at her when she isn't looking, want to actually hang out with her, want to know what shes interested in and genuinely care for her, from the boys that tell her they have blue balls because she wont jerk them off on a Saturday night. The ones that will wait until SHE is ready. I want her to know that doing drugs will ruin her life, they will take sports, friends and life away from her - the things that she treasures most. I want her to know that its ok to make mistakes, to be an imperfect person and to say sorry and be a stand up person when she needs to be. She needs to know that there will always be a better athlete but she wont get better unless she competes with them. I want her to know that its ok if shes number 3 or 4 in talent, its the drive and the leadership skills that will make her a better player. That having fun and making other kids on the field and on the court feel good about themselves and pumping up your team is just as important as practicing your skills. I want her to know that going to college is the most important thing right now and that school is the most important job she will ever have because it paves the way for future opportunities. I want her to know that I know she is going to drink and do stupid things and although she will be punished for them, I get it. I don't want her to go to college never having a beer or never having experienced anything, to be so strict that she cant wait to get away and go crazy. I know my child and if I didnt let her experience life on her own, she would go off to college and fail, miserably. I am not saying all kids are like her, I am saying this is how MY child is. I want her to know how to drink responsibly and know her limits so shes not the girl passed out in the woods. I want her to know that smoking and drinking will eventually take away her health and her looks. I want her to know that girls will be jealous and mean, even her closest friends. I want her to know that it isn't her fault and I want her to be confident enough to know that it isn't her problem, its theirs.
My husband always tells me I have instilled way too much confidence in her. I say there is no such thing as an overconfident teenage girl. Everyone else in life will try to drag her down, her parents shouldn't be the ones to do so. Her confidence will level out as girls get nasty because the boy they like, likes her. That boys will break her heart and bring her down and make her feel less than. That other athletes will surpass her and make her feel less talented, she doesn't need us to do that too. We need to build our teens up, give them the confidence to get through this crazy life and all that goes along with it. She needs to be confident enough to say no, to the drugs, the extra beer, the liquor, the boys and anyone else who deserves a resounding no. I don't want her to do something she isn't ready for and feel ashamed because she does something with a boy who spreads it around the school. I want to teach her to wait and have a serious relationship before she does anything with a boy, so that when he does tell his friends, which he will, she won't feel ashamed. I don't want her to feel as if she is less than because shes not the best on the team, that just being part of a team is special. I don't want her to feel that she needs to drown out her feelings with drugs, that its okay to wallow in whatever it is shes feeling and get past it. I don't want to be blind to what shes facing and assume she'll be fine, I want to be involved, to be close enough to her that she listens to me so I can use my knowledge to help guide her. I want to raise a strong, confident woman, because its my job. Its the most important job that I will ever have and although I wont be perfect, I will know I did the best that I could. So go ahead and judge me, I can honestly say, I really don't care.
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