I read this blog, of course I do, some of my friends think I should write it. But someone already beat me to the idea and the name so instead I will just write one post today about “who” I want to punch in the throat.
Today (and almost everyday) I want to punch Moms (okay, all parents, but for today’s lesson I will be referring mostly to Moms) who raise their daughters to think so low of themselves that the daughter will allow themselves to be treated like shit by boys just because any attention is better than no attention. These girls fall prey to boys who know how to play the sweet talking game and can spot an easy mark.
I have two teenage daughters and they tell me stories about girls at their school that curl my toes and make me want to go punch people in the throat. Girls with herpes because a scumbag guy convinced them that oral sex was “safe”. Girls getting grabbed and forcibly kissed in the hallway at school because they don’t want to hurt his feelings by telling him they aren’t “into him that way.” Not to mention the hidden victims that “disappear” for a term or year or more because they attempt suicide, get pregnant, have abortions, etc. These girls are the cutters, drinkers, druggies, but they are also the athletes, honor students, cheerleaders, church goers, Girl Scouts and they are all somebody’s daughter. They are trying to hide pain that they are feeling but don’t want anyone else to see.
But time and time again the one common denominator I see in these girls lives are parents that aren’t there for them. To tell them they are not just smart and beautiful but important and worthwhile. That having a boy like you isn’t the be all and end all of your life. That is what society has been telling these girls for generations, they need another message from home. From the people that, believe it or not, are the most important and influential people in their lives, their parents. As parents it is easy to fall into believing what we are told by the media, that by the time our daughters reach middle school, they don’t listen to us anymore and their friends, tv, movies and the internet are more influential. Bullshit. We only lose our influence and importance if we let it happen.
We stay relevant to them by staying involved. Talk to them everyday. Know who their friends are and ask about them and their lives. Keep current with what is going on in the media and society. This doesn’t mean you have to be the “cool Mom” and dress like your daughter and hang out with her friends. Just know what they are talking about when they reference music, movies, memes and other social media things. Just don’t over do it and become that annoying “trying to be hip Mom”. Just take time to be genuinely interested and to listen. Also don’t push your daughter to be something or someone she isn’t or doesn’t want to be. If you were a dancer and gymnast but your daughter would rather be on the debate team, it’s okay. If you were a Rhodes Scholar but she is an artist and not much of an academic don’t make her feel stupid because she isn’t taking AP Calculus. If everyone else in your family is a dentist or a pediatrician but she is an outgoing, theater kid make sure she knows that it is okay and promise her that everyone will turn their pagers off when they come to see her perform.
But most importantly talk to them about things like sex, boys, drugs, drinking, etc. Sometimes I say I’m a good example to my daughters by being a bad example. When the topic has come up and my daughters were the appropriate age I was honest about these topics and how they affected my life both positively, but mostly negatively. I don’t think it will give them a free pass to do stupid things in their lives but it will give them the knowledge that if they do they can come to me and I will understand and not be judgmental. Let’s face it, as much as we’d like it, there is no way to keep our children from making mistakes. If there was they’d never learn to walk, drive, love, or grow up. Do I think my parents were bad parents or screwed up because I made a LOT of stupid choices in my young adult years? Not at all, quite the opposite, they gave me a great foundation to build on so when the rocky parts happened my life didn’t fall completely apart.
So to all those Moms out there who are blaming their daughters for ruining their lives because they never wanted to have children, and Dads who say rude and nasty things about their daughter’s bodies and make misogynistic remarks about women in front of their daughters, and parents that shelter their daughters from the realities of life so much that when faced with real life they can’t handle it, consider this your punch in the throat. And to all the daughters of those parents, if you need a place to go to feel safe and loved, my door is open. I’ll only tease you for bad grammar.