Raising Girls

Raising girls scares the living shit out of me.  There, I said it.  It isn’t because I am not confident in my parenting abilities; it is because I remember what it is like to be a teenage girl.  Believe it or not, it hasn’t been that long since I was one <cough, cough>.  I see my girls growing up and find myself in awe of what we (Farmer Bob and I) have created.  I may be a bit biased, but I see beautiful, smart, amazing girls.  At their ages now (10, 6, and 4) they are not so much concerned with appearance and acceptance, but times they are a-changing.  Sooner rather than later I am afraid.  What am I most afraid of?  That they will grow up with this false sense of what is real and what is not.  That their own self worth will suffer because of the falsities they see going on around them.  That they will think that they need the approval of others in order to feel comfortable in their own skin.  I know that as the main female presence in their life it is up to me to make damn sure that they grow up to be strong, confident women.  This day and age, this may be the most difficult task I have ever attempted to accomplish.

With the internet, it is so easy for our children to have access to so many things that we never did.  We never “met” people online; we met them in person and got to know them.  We learned how to decide if a person was truly honest and true by looking in their eyes and watching their body language.  We learned how to tell if someone really liked us for us and, we developed a “bullshit meter” to tell us when someone was looking for something else, something that we just weren’t ready to give.  We weren’t afraid to walk away if our BS meter maxed out and the alarms started sounding.  Now, as I told you all last week, I have made (and actually had the pleasure of meeting) some wonderful friends via the internet.  I also told you that these friendships have not been made quickly and without some serious deep thinking not only on my part, but by my now friends as well. I may be overly cautious when it comes to the internet, but in this day and age I feel as if I have no other choice not only for my safety, but for the safety of my family as well.  While the internet has this fabulous power  and ability to bring people together, it holds many dangers inside it as well.  At first “introduction” you cannot gauge someone just based on a name and a picture.  You have absolutely no guarantee that you are actually getting the person the picture.  It is so difficult to explain to my young children how sometimes people are not always what they seem and that they must be cautious.  They get frustrated when I am constantly watching what they are doing when they are allowed to get on the internet.  They don’t understand that the internet does not have its own internal BS meter, that is what Farmer Bob and I are for.

 

I understand that  we have a long, difficult road ahead of us.  Mini-me has asked me multiple times if she can set up her own Facebook page.  My answer is always longer than she would like it to be; 1. No, I will not allow you to lie about your age to get what you want, and 2.  No, I will not allow you to lie about your age to get what you want.  While I try to explain to her why honesty is so important, I also feel that it is important for me to teach her why other people do NOT believe that honesty is the best policy.  That people will tell you what they think you want to hear in order to get what they want.  It is not because I don’t want her to trust people; Lord knows I want her to trust.  I want her to trust her instinct, her “bullshit meter”.  I want her to be able to know when someone is pumping her full of crap in order to get something from her.  I want her to be able to stand up for herself and say “No, I don’t have to tell you”.  I want her to feel comfortable in her own skin to be strong, and confident, and smart.  Comfortable enough to know that she is meant for something great and that she can be that on her own, surrounded by people that love her for her.  That she is worth not only giving her best to those who truly care about her, but that she DESERVES and should DEMAND the best from others.
Self worth is such a difficult thing for us women to have an appreciation for.  Sometimes I wish we were more like men in that we just wouldn’t worry so much about what others think about us.  That we could be comfortable in our own skin and not feel that we need approval from others, but I suppose that is what makes us different from them.  I wish that we could appreciate ourselves for the magnificent creatures that we are.  I wish that we could be comfortable in a crowded room of other women and not judge each other by what we look like, our hairstyles, our clothes, or even what kind of mother we are.  I wish that we could avoid the competition and the status ladder that we all seem to be trying to climb. I wish that we could all be beautiful, amazing, supportive, equal.

 

My hope for my girls is that they, unlike so many young girls these days, have self-worth.  That they recognize that they don’t have to have their ass hanging out of their shorts and boobs sticking out of their tops in order to be beautiful.  That they don’t have to have the attention of every boy (or girl) in order to be amazing, that they can be smart, athletic, dramatic, musical, or any combination of these.  That they don’t have to be skinny, have perfect hair, or perfect clothes in order to be beautiful. That they don’t need the approval of a man or their friends in order to be considered successful. That sometimes, being considered “popular” is not always a good thing. That as long as they are honest and true with themselves, THAT is what makes them beautiful.  That is self worth, and they are worth all of it.
J.K. Rowling.
Image courtesy of Pinterest

 

My dear friend Craughing is ready to tackle this issue head on.  She is starting the Self Worth Action Project.  Honestly, I believe that this is genius.  We all need a reminder as to what makes us, well, what makes us US.  What makes us beautiful, strong, smart, and FABULOUS.  I join her in challenging you to join this project.  Please follow the link and join her,  you will find me there.  Do it, you DESERVE it!

Comments

comments

Comments

  1. Yeah, I am scared shitless! I have 2 girls, 2 and 6, and they are the only kids we have. So, 100% of our kid raising success depends on me to hit that fine line of self worth/tramp. Sigh, I will give it my best shot! Here’s to being a strong, good mommy! Cheers, happy weekend!
    Devan

  2. Oh, you couldn’t have said it any better. My kids are only 4 and 17 months but everything you write about is already one my mind. Self worth is something I fear is disappearing all too easily today and I am determined my children will grow up with an appreiation for it. Yes, I’m their friend and I love them more than anything, but more importantly, I’m their parent and it’s my job to guide where I can, applaud their successes, provide a shoulder and hug for their failures, let them choose their own path, and help them grow up into confident and strong individuals. Great post!

  3. As a mother of a son, I am now raising a granddaughter. It is so completely different and I worry every day that I won’t teach her the important things that every girl needs to know. The little things (cross your legs when you sit down with a skirt), the sorta important things (choose wisely!) and the BIG things. Teaching her how to be kind, loving, caring and have the self worth she needs in this big, bad world scares the shit out of me, too. I go day by day and hope I’ve made the right choices each time. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yes! A million times, yes! My girls are only 3 and 9 months, but these issues have lurked in the back of my mind since the day I found out I was pregnant with a girl. It’s scary out there, and knowing how to raise your kids to be aware but not afraid is hard!

  5. My girls are 13 and 10, they are emotionally draining every day. They take turns trying to conquer my sanity. Self esteem is the BIGGEST think they need, if not they become like a Diney movie where Ursula steals Ariels voice. An evil B is always waiting in the wings for their chance to pounce…

  6. As the mom of two girls, I love this.

  7. This is just so perfect! I have to share it.

  8. I have two girls. Hubby has decided that to help them gain and maintain self-worth and confidence (they are 5 and 3 has enrolled them in Jiu-Jitsu taught by the only black belt weilding woman in our state. He said, “nothing will empower them as much as knowing and being able to choke hold a guy. And having a powerful woman to look up to in that respect will make it even better.”

    • Very true — I took martial arts for years and it definitely helped my self-confidence around guys and in going out into the world safely. Good for you and your husband to choose a strong woman instructor to teach and inspire your girls!

    • ^^ Love this and will keep in mind for my 2-year-old daughter! :)

  9. As a mom of 6 girls I hear you! It’s exhausting, hence my name lol!

  10. This is awesome and makes it perfectly clear that you have NOTHING to fear–your daughters are so blessed to have you! This is definitely something I struggle with all the time. My girls are seven (though she acts like she is fifteen. I’m in trouble!) and five. The five-year-old already knows that people think she is beautiful and adorable and she plays it ALL the time–mostly because people let her. The older one is obsessed with how she looks (at SEVEN–has been that way since she was THREE and I have NEVER acted like that in front of her!) and can be completely insecure one minute and maybe too confident the next. I don’t think I am going to make it to the teen years…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Karate, business and guns is my plan. Self sufficiency and protection are a must for my young daughters.

  12. This is such a timely post for me! Check out my challenges as I raise my 13 year old girl. Warning, it’s not pretty. :) xo

    http://somewhineandjeez.blogspot.com/

  13. Beautiful! Is that Mini-Me carrying PITA? God, that’s cute!
    You know what, you write the truth. But gosh darn, I’ve been duped by folks in person that I thought were friends, acted like friends, but weren’t really in the end. So I figure, even if I haven’t ‘met’ the person, I’m still investing them as my friend despite meeting them over the internet (that means you and a few others!) because my ‘in-person’ friendship bull shit meter is sometimes defective. So I’m willing to risk it. Does that make sense?

  14. Well, said. The internet IS a scary place, and this generation of children are growing up not knowing what life was like before the internet. I think the fact that the internet is now as commonplace as the phone might give kids a false sense of security. The internet is where they interact with their friends, so they might not realize that it can also be very dangerous, like you say. Even adults sadly fall victim to scams and imposters, so how is a child to know better? This post definitely gets me thinking about what it’s going to be like raising my little girl once she gets older. She is only a baby now, but I know the time will come when she will start facing issues of self-esteem, self-image etc, and I also know that I want to prevent as many of these issues as I can by teaching her about her worth as an individual starting from a young age. It sounds like you have done a really good job of doing this with your little girls, and I think that is such a valuable lesson. Wow. That was really rambly. Anyway, hopefully that made sense. Bottom line is: Yes. Ditto everything you just said in your post. :)

  15. I’m scared too! Technology scares the living SHIT out of me! Especially FB. I know that a lot of kids create one account for their family to see, and have a completely separate secret account that they only share with friends their own age and God only knows who else. *shudder*

    The scariest thing for me is what a wild teenager and college-student I was. I was SOOO stupid… I have too many cringe-worthy memories that I wish I could just erase! I pray every day that all my nagging and lecturing will make some kind of impact with my kids so that they don’t submit to peer-pressure the way I did…

  16. Very well put. This new world we live in is so easy to get lost in. I really believe honesty is the most important quality to instil in my children. One of the only things that causes me to loss my temper is lying. With adults a lie is a one way road for me to not talk to them again.

  17. I’m going to have to cross this inevitable bridge in my house as well. And, I’m not looking forward to it, since we have already had girl drama in PRESCHOOL!!! But, we’re trying to teach them how to stand up for themselves and make smart choices. That, coupled with a boatload of prayers…

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. As the mum of two lovely daughters, now aged 21 and 19, I can confirm that parenting teenage daughters was pretty terrifying. It’s not that our daughterly duo were in any way “bad” (in fact, they were much less terrifying than a lot of their peers, fortunately!). They were simply normal, inquisitive young folk who wanted to experience life to the full. And their ideas of what that meant didn’t always correspond with their boring old mum’s restrictions! That said, it has absolutely been worth all the worry and the sleepless nights waiting for them to arrive back home in one piece – they are great fun to spend time with and we seem to have made it through the teen years (well, only 6 months to go till the 19-year-old turns 20, so nearly there!). You sound as if you’ve got the issues totally sussed already so you’ll do a great job :-)

  20. Love this. Love you. So honest and right from your heart. Your girls are lucky ladies to have you as their mom.

  21. Well said and golf clap to you! I had to share this thank you for posting this thoughtful piece:)

  22. Even with a boy, I worry about self-worth and peer pressure. I hope I raise him to respect women, do what is right and now what the crowd pressures him to. I hope he stands up for others and is a friend to all. I hope he loves and is happy

  23. This was so beautiful my sweet friend. She is so lucky to have you as a mom. Love the JK rowling quote – I’d never seen that before! As far as SWAP goes…what a gift to share that with so many..kudos Craughing! xo Love and Hugs.

  24. FB for kids is scary! I was looking through my son’s accoun recently and popped over to some of his ‘friends’ profiles because I saw a picture or two that I thought was a bit racy. I could seriously not believe the things these 13 year old girls were posting. They were basically asking to be looked at as being promiscuous just from what they posted (pictures with some words attached). I made DS delete one specific ‘friend’ and mentioned the picture I had seen and DS even told me that it was disturbing to him. Keep them innocent while you can I say!

    I’d love to have you link up to the Weekend Blog Walk blog hop and follow at http://www.athometake2.com. Looking forward to reading more of you blog.

  25. As the mother of a very striking 10 year old who already thinks she is fat and wants her own FB. Oh I soooo get this. Finally I convinced her that curves are beautiful and she is not the least bit fat. The fear of who is out there. Fuhgetaboutit…

    OH my word. The fear.

    Beautiful as always.

    xoxoxo

  26. Anonymous says:

    I have three daughters (ages 12,8 and 6)and completely understand the thoughts you expressed. I have been doing a bit of research on the subject of girls and self-esteem. I was very surprised to learn what an important role fathers play.

%d bloggers like this: