Hello SOTGC community,
Growing up I was a shy girl, curious by nature and wore my heart on my sleeve. I led a pretty sheltered life and was pretty gullible and naïve in my innocence. My parents provided a wonderful life for me, however, the facts of life were not openly discussed in my home, which led me to many lessons learned the hard way.
When I became a mother, I knew that I would parent my children differently than I was parented. I took all the great things from my upbringing and incorporated them in to my parenting style, tweaked a few and created some very different ones as well. It was highly important to me that my children would have a voice in our home and that I would present myself as approachable on any topic they wished to discuss or learn about.
I had my first child, a girl, at 22 years old. At this age, I was still learning and growing myself! As I watched my baby grow in to a strong, independent and capable young girl, I was learning many of my own life lessons and by the time my daughter was 12 years old, I was a very different woman and had SO MUCH to share with her about being a girl.
It was around this age that she started insisting to know exactly what “bad choices” her father made that broke up our marriage. I took this as an opportunity for her to learn through my real life experiences and things to take notice of when considering a relationship with a guy, and how she was going to present herself to the world. The maturity my daughter showed at age 12 coupled with her interest in wanting to know it all, made it an easy decision for me. Even though she wasn’t allowed to date at that age, our discussions were the seeds being planted that would eventually be the voice in the back of her head when I was not around.
Following are the key things I wish every young lady would take to heart:
- Pay attention to how a guy treats his mother, eventually he will treat you that way! Notice how a guy treats and responds to his mom, wait staff, anyone in the service industry, etc. If they are rude, name callers, disrespectful, condescending, or worse, then be prepared for him to eventually be that way with you.
- You want to be the one he takes home to his mother, not the one he takes home tonight. Self-respect is key when you are considering a long term commitment like marriage. You are a prize to be won and not freely given away to just anyone! Sex is not the key to his heart, your love and feminine nature is.
- You have to teach others how to treat you. Speaking as a former ‘doormat’, I lived unhappily for many years partially due to my fear of speaking up for myself. Communicating your needs and desires as well as what doesn’t work for you or is totally unacceptable is key to relationship success or an early indicator that it’s not going to work.
- Surround yourself with people that make you feel great and make you feel like you want to be a better person. This holds true for friends and boyfriends! When you find a person that brings out the best in you and inspires you in a positive way, they’re a keeper!
- If you aren’t the priority in the relationship, it will never be so. Don’t fool yourself in to thinking that he will change. Value yourself enough to step away from the relationship because your time is worth too much to waste on playing second best. This sort of absence in a relationship can be either physical or mental or a combination of both. It’s such an empty feeling to be sitting right next to the one you love and still feel miles apart…
- If a guy makes you cry more than he makes you laugh, then move on. A loving relationship shouldn’t be painful. Growth and understanding can evolve without yelling, name-calling, blaming and tears.
- Put yourself in other people’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective. It’s easy to sit back and criticize; yet challenging to see things from a different point of view. You never know what someone is going through at any given moment. Allow others the room to be as they are.
- Cuss words are for people that are not smart enough to come up with other words to express themselves. Don’t be a potty mouth. I’m by no means a prude and have used precisely placed expletives in order to make a point from time to time. I’m referring to those who can’t form a sentence without interjecting foul language; speaking in that manner does not send the message of intelligence.
- Pick the ‘good guy’, he’s the one that is always sweet, kind, and makes you feel like you are the only girl in the world! I’ve met plenty of women who covet my ‘good guy’ husband because they chose to marry the ‘bad boy’, and that ‘bad boy’ appeal wore off really quick….the good guy that they brushed off at one time now looks like the man of their dreams!
- When I asked my daughter what was THE most important and crucial things she learned from me she said… to love myself, be confident and truly believe that I am worthy of only the best in life and nothing less will do! And, that you must love yourself first in order to love others fully and completely.
I am so proud of the woman my daughter has become and the choices she has made! Knowing these 10 things didn’t necessarily make her trials and tribulations with boys any less painful, however, knowing these things did empower her with knowledge and confidence that helped her to navigate through them with the ease of a woman far older and more experienced.
Looking back on my life, I wish I knew these 10 things! They may be common knowledge for you…I say let’s not assume that “everyone knows these things”. I didn’t know these things at one point and had to learn the hard way. I believe that these 10 tips will fall in to the lap of the girls that need it the most and will possibly inspire mom’s to share what they’ve learned “the hard way” with their daughters.
Unfortunately society frowns upon us locking our daughters in the basement until they are 30! So instead we can choose to take on the role of mentor by empowering our girls with the knowledge we as women have learned through our experiences and be there when they need us. As we shift our energy from over protective mom to wise and comforting mentor (or “momtor”), our girls tend to shift in their perspective of us. It may not happen over night, but the rewards are well worth it in the long run!