I have found myself thinking lately about the things I was taught as a girl. Things that shouldn’t have been true then, and certainly are not now. I have silently vowed to teach my 2 daughters a better way. To try and raise them in such a way that they don’t believe certain things are an obstacle to overcome but theirs for the taking. Here are the things I won’t teach my daughters.
“Boys only tease you because they like you.”: Sometimes boys (and girls) are just mean. I’m positive my own have/will have their issues at times. Even so, I will not teach my daughters to accept negative attention as a compliment. I will not teach them to give negative attention in an effort to cloak their affection for someone. Above all I will try to teach them kindness and how to stand up for themselves appropriately. Love freely and take no crap.
“Never leave the house without makeup.”: If this was a behavior I was supposed to model for my children I’ve already failed miserably. I hope someday bare faces are seen as just another thing to wear like a new dress or pair of shoes. I like wearing makeup at times but I don’t want to teach the girls that its a requirement for being “put together” or “socially acceptable”. I also don’t them to feel like their personal idea of beautiful is wrong. If that idea includes makeup or the natural look, that’s their choice.
“Pink is for girls and blue is for boys.”: I will support my child’s right to wear and love whatever color she wants. I will not encourage gender specific play as it leads to expectations about what “roles” should be placed on male and females. Instead I will encourage her to be herself and follow her passion because I believe it goes hand and hand with happiness.
“Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”: Sex is not something to hold over someones head so you can get what you want. It shouldn’t be a bargaining chip in a relationship. You want to wait till marriage? Go for it! You don’t want to? Be safe! Be upfront with your partner right away so they know where you stand. Don’t forget to ask them what they’re comfortable with as well, it is never EVER a one sided decision.
“To keep their “skeletons” in the closet.”: When I was younger and something horrible happened to a girl it became a secret talked about in hush tones. Be it “getting into trouble with a boy” or being violated in some way it was “Don’t tell, its nobodies business. People will think you’re damaged. People will question the way you were raised.” I don’t know who these “people” are but I don’t need them in my life anyway. I want my daughters to have the freedom to heal the way they want and need to. To talk about their experiences in a positive way. To not shove every heartache and painful life story under the rug like it’s something to be covered up. They don’t have to talk about everything but I want them to know they can.
I hope by the time my girls are older it will be evident that times have changed enough that none of these things are big issues. Until then I will keep fighting for their right to have a voice and to choose what happiness and beauty means to them.
What life lessons are you updating for your children?