It’s getting closer to the age where my girls are really growing up faster than the blink of eye. I can remember a time not too long ago when people would ask me what ages my girls were and when I responded, they would always say “Oh, you still have babies!” But now all that has changed, although still very young, my girls now 10 and 12, I get the response to that same question, with just an “Oh.” and a nod of the head. “What, my girls aren’t cutesy anymore?” “Did all that leave when they hit double digits?” I’d like to think not, but as the days progress and my oldest daughters toes protrudes past her flip flops, sporting a size bigger than mine… my thoughts can only wonder of all the things I need to tell her as she gradually matures into a young woman.
With her entry into Middle School this September, her desires for a cell phone, her endless emails and her becoming more independent, leave me feeling the need to pull back on her long reigns and strap her close to my side. I refuse to give in to the shameful teenage years that have gotten such a bad rap for many moons. I remember once visiting an office while pregnant with my first and the receptionist after congratulating me, went on to say “Don’t believe what you hear about teenage years being the worst years. I have two teenage girls myself and we’re the closest we’ve ever been.” How refreshing is that? As years have gone by, I’ve chosen to deflect the unwanted opinions of others preparing me for the worst and kept that hidden teenage advice as inspirational fuel to trust that these years will bring us nothing but a close bond-ship.
Bombarded by child protection awareness over TV, radio, internet and the many shows that Oprah has depicted over the years, it’s a wonder we feel comfortable to even take our eyes off our children for a mere second. I find myself struggling with the balance of repeatedly advising her on all that I know for her safety and then releasing her wings into a world of peer pressure, material wants and the infinite pull of the internet. After all, didn’t I design a product to help empower the young girl?
My Theory: Instill, communicate and educate on our family values, their values and equip them with street smarts. Listen , love unconditionally, and acknowledge all that they feel. They in turn ignore me, think they know best and most likely try it their own way, right?
My Goal: I’m thinking listening and communicating are key words here. With the help of John Gray, author of “Children are from Heaven” and author of the infamous “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” , has truly opened my eyes to simply acknowledging my girls fears, concerns or comments without judgment. It is here they have already become more comfortable with venting their mind chatter to me and it is here that I listen with no critiquing or authority. It is here that I hope to start the basis of open door communication as I know their struggles and challenges will get more intense as they grow.
And about that theory, when they venture out and do things their own way? That’s when they hear the sweet voice of their mother in the back of their head, a similar voice we’ve heard of our own mother’s advice. And we say, “Damn, she was right again. The older I get, the more I sound like my mother!”
Please share your comments, suggestions or motherly advice below!