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I read this article this morning, and felt that I needed to respond. I, too, had been terrified of having a daughter. Not only because I had been a somewhat difficult child, stubborn, strong-willed, and bad-tempered, but I was a truly terrible teenager.

My parents were very strict, but honorable. In my junior year in high school, my mother stopped calling my friends' parents to confirm sleepovers. We were FREE! And so, at least once a month, or more, one or more of my best friends and I would hit the clubs. We'd go to Max's Kansas City, where we knew everybody. When they closed the back room at 3:30, sometimes we'd take a quick nap in the booths until they woke us up at 5 am. Then we'd head to the Mudd Club or another after-hours until they closed at 8 am. We'd take the subway (we spent the cab fare our parents gave us on drinks or, rarely, door charges) to 86th Street, go to a coffee shop, and sit there drinking coffee until 10 or so, at which point we'd go home. I'd tell my mother that we stayed up alll night talking about boys, and after church, I'd fall asleep. We went to Studio 54, to CBGB's, to all kinds of clubs large and small. We loved Great Gildersleeves, and some odd club that had telephone cable spools for tables and old sofas everywhere. I played Magenta in the floor show of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, at the 8th Street Playhouse, for several months.

The closest that I ever came to getting busted, at 16, was when Max's was raided by the NYPD one night. I came out of the ladies' room to find a cop standing there. He said, "Let's see your ID, lady." I saw my friends being hauled away and panicked. I KNEW I'd be grounded until I was 18! I drew myself up, looked the cop in the eye, and said, "I don't HAVE an ID. I'm 34 and I have four kids." He said, "Get out of here! You make me sick!" I fled, took a cab home, and told my mother that Leiza and I had had a huge fight.

I tried to confess this to my mother when I was 24, and she put her fingers in her ears and said, "I don't want to know, la-la-la." So, I was understandably terrified of producing a daughter that might be as rebellious as I was.

Years passed. My college years were completely uneventful. I went to school in Boston, where the drinking age was 20. Most weekends, I'd fly back to NY on People Express ($29 one way!) and go out with my friends, but I had a curfew of 2:30. I went to frat parties, but since I don't drink beer, I stayed sober and played Fashion Police with one of my roommates. I wasn't much of a drinker, anyway, since I'd seen too many people get sloppy and out of control.

Even more years passed. I got married, and due to my control-freak nature, got pregnant exactly when I wanted--Labor Day weekend, although I didn't realize it until I saw the Tampax box and realized I'd missed a period or two--and delivered my blond, blue-eyed son the week after Memorial Day, when he was supposed to have been born but wasn't.

DH and I had agreed on two children before we married. I thought I wanted two boys, because boys were so much EASIER. I was flying home to Denver from a trip to NY to see my parents, when the woman next to me started talking. She was on her way to see her son and her new grandchild in the Denver airport before flying home to Portland. She said, "I so wish I had had a daughter. Sons always leave their mothers, but daughters stay close." I realized that she was right. We spend our summers and Christmas with my family. I speak to my mother a few times a week. My brothers are both close to my mother, but only one remains in New York.

At that point, I decided that my second child would be a girl. And she was. She was an incredibly beautiful baby. Even the nurses at Rose said so. I posted a picture of her at 4 days old on Fertility Friend and one comment was, "She has porn star lips. Oooh, trouble!" That struck terror into my heart.

I, too, was a beauty. But I never really thought about it, or even understood it, until my 20's. My parents never talked about my looks except to tell me to get my hair out of my face, stand up straight, watch my weight. Their emphasis was on teaching me that I could do anything, be anything, that I wanted. They took pride in my intellect, and expressed fury when I didn't do something as well as I could. Daddy taught me to use power tools when I was 12, and shoot a rifle. I remember him bragging to a friend, "She can carry an 80-pound cement bag, and she's only 10!" the summer that we laid bricks around the pool at the beach house.

At some point in my teens, we were sailing the catamaran and I broke a nail. I said, "Oh, crap, I broke a nail," and my father exploded. In an absolute fury, he delivered a lecture on "real" and "fake" girls. The gist of it was that real girls quietly file the nail. Fake girls worry about their appearance and what people think of them, and nobody really likes them.

And daughter, at 8, is a little fashionista. I was a tomboy, so I'm mildly bemused by how this happened. But I am teaching her to be true to herself, to stand up for herself, to be able to DO things. She's in a new school, and she was being bullied by a boy. She told the art teacher, who said, "Well, that's not very nice." I was furious, but told my daughter, "This is how you deal with him: When he comes up to you and starts teasing you, fold your arms and just look at him. Don't say a single word. When he's finished talking, look sad and shake your head. Then walk away." The boy didn't know how to react. He ran up to her three times and told her to go away. She did the same thing. After that, he never bothered her again.

The most important thing in raising a daughter is to give her self-esteem. I am shocked and saddened by how many beautiful women I know that have very low self-esteem. Their parents never instilled confidence in them. I praise her when she does well, tell her that she is my very smart girl, and don't let mistakes slide. I grew up with a great deal of constructive criticism, and as an adult, I listen calmly to criticism and then decide whether it has merit. I don't get upset. I am trying to instill that in her, too. But she's more emotional than I was, I think.

I haven't started teaching her to use tools yet, but I will. That was one of my father's greatest gifts to me. I can FIX things. I've taught her to love books, and learning, and to never take the easy way out and give up. I was involved in the March last April, and OFA, and she has a very strong sense of what is right and what is wrong. The majority of children in her class were "voting for Romney." My daughter stood firm and said, "He's a bad man. We are for Obama." So proud of her :)

I haven't had to deal with the beauty issue yet, or inappropriate clothes. I kept a change of clothes (club clothes) and high heels in a bag in the mailroom of my building and changed back into normal, parent-approved clothes when I arrived home. Oooh, I was bad. I'm somewhat grateful that I am raising my kids in Colorado, rather than Manhattan, but there are dangers in driving and suburbia, too.

The teenage babysitter of a neighbor is pregnant. When my daughter told me, she said solemnly, "You can't control when you have a baby." I was livid that someone told my daughter such nonsense, but she is only 8. I told her, "Well, you can, actually. I will tell you when you are older. Maybe (babysitter) didn't know." I will tell her, and I will probably have her fitted with Norplant or something when she needs to be. I would like to hope that she will remain a virgin until married at around 25, but I honestly think that is unrealistic. The best that I can do is teach her to cherish herself, to respect herself, and to recognize and avoid those who seek to use her or manipulate her.

I am carefully laying the groundwork for a strong, confident, accomplished woman. When my mother was visiting once, I showed her the bedding that I had made for my daughter's room and the guest room, the fireplace surround that I sponge-painted, the chairs that I had reupholstered, and my mother said, "Is there anything you can't do?" I was completely surprised. I looked at her, and said, "I don't know. Never occurred to me that I couldn't do anything I wanted. I got that from you and Daddy!" My mother shook her head. What a gift from my parents: confidence.

8:14 PM PT: Thank you so much for the rescue, and republishing to Community Spotlight!! I am honored :) I love reading the comments :) So many stories! I wanted to keep politics out of this diary, so I didn't go into what a terrible world for girls it will be if we don't dump the GOP in 2014/2016...

Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 8:21 AM PT: Wow, made the Rec list! Thank you! And thanks again for the rescue! I'm so happy to read all the comments. There's some wonderful advice in there, and stories of amazing daughters :) I had no idea this would strike a chord with so many of you. It was meant as a response to the article. Turned into a ramble/confession/mini-autobiography.

Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:47 PM PT: Added two photos in comments. One of me in late 20's, the other of DD. I respectfully ask that if you recognize me from long ago and want to say hi, please message me rather than posting my name in the comments. I cherish my anonymity :) Thank you!

Originally posted to Something Fishy on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:05 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I grew up w/ riot grrl, so I'm psyched to raise (8+ / 0-)

    my daughter.

  •  Bad Kitties - thanks for your diary (19+ / 0-)

    I really enjoyed reading it. Fortunately for me by two girls were much easier to raise than you were. My two daughters have become very successful professionals. I do think we script our children and it's a balance between motivating them and helping them build their self-esteem, and having them understanding that you have to work hard to meet your goals. I am very touched that my two daughters, as they grew into their adult lives, have given me two messages: "I have accomplished all that I have because you always told me I could" and "To Dad, my best teacher".  Can't beat that.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:19:33 AM PST

  •  I'm raising a daughter. (9+ / 0-)

    It sounds like you and I have similar styles.

    My children are the joy of my life

    by Tom Stokland on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:19:38 AM PST

  •  The trouble with smart kids (19+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed your diary!

    One thing that caught my eye was the part where you said
    "I praise her when she does well, tell her that she is my very smart girl, and don't let mistakes slide."

    Praise is good for self esteem, but it matters how that praise is delivered.


    The main idea is included in the paragraph below:

    The kind of feedback we get from parents and teachers as young children has a major impact on the implicit beliefs we develop about our abilities — including whether we see them as innate and unchangeable, or as capable of developing through effort and practice. When we do well in school and are told that we are "so smart," "so clever," or "such a good student," this kind of praise implies that traits like smartness, cleverness, and goodness are qualities you either have or you don't. The net result: when learning something new is truly difficult, smart-praise kids take it as sign that they aren't "good" and "smart," rather than as a sign to pay attention and try harder.
    This was a real eye-opener for me and, since reading it, I definitely have changed my style of giving praise to my kids from saying how smart they are to saying that they must have worked hard to have done so well or something similar.

    I also appreciate your anecdote about helping your daughter with handling that bully.  Haven't really had bullying come up too much yet, but I am filing that away for future reference!

    "Why do we see the same old Republicans all over the news all the time when they were kicked out for screwing everything up?" - socratic's grandma

    by Michael James on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:39:00 AM PST

    •  Thank you! (12+ / 0-)

      That's a different perspective. My parents never said I was smart, actually. I didn't know that until I got a "C" --first one ever--in 8th grade, and my father said, "Jesus Christ! Your IQ is 154! How the HELL did you get a C?" I said, "It is? Is that good?" My father said, "It's not bad. But a C is TERRIBLE."

      I may have to re-think this. One huge difference is that I am a MUCH older parent than my parents were. And I struggled with infertility to have my daughter. So I perhaps am more effusive than they were.

      •  Here's my advice, for what it's worth: (26+ / 0-)

        I think it's good to tell your daughter she's smart, as long as you don't do it too often or make it appear that it's a big deal.
        My father was very proud of me- wherever we went, he'd introduce me to some friend who'd say "she's so pretty!"  And my father would reply "she's smart as a whip, first in her class!"

        Very enlightened for those times, right?  Except that somehow the message I took from that was that my being smart and being first in my class was of supreme importance to my father, and that he would be devastated if that were not the case. None of that was true- eventually I realized that my dad would love me no matter what- but I spent too many years worrying and obsessing over grades and being a neurotic mess over all of it.

        When my kids were in school, I hear the same story at every conference: "She's doing well, but if she really applied herself she could be a straight A student".  And I would say "I'm sure you're right, and if that ever becomes important to her, I'm sure she will".  Teachers tended to think I was kinda nuts. But my daughter was happy and healthy- and turned into a straight A student in college- because she wanted to.

    •  I've read that same thing, however... (8+ / 0-)

      I worry that just substituting "you must have worked hard" for "you're smart" will lead to confusion when the child hasn't worked hard to do something.

      If someone praised me for working hard when I ripped through my math homework in nothing flat, because I'm good at math, that wouldn't have been accurate or useful.  But of course you have to pay attention to the child to make sure the praise is appropriate.

      Active Listening practiced here.

      by CA coastsider on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:01:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My favorite parenting book (12+ / 0-)

        How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, discusses praise and recommends that praise be specific.  Not "that's a great picture" but "I really like the way you use colors, especially here in the garden."  Not "you look so pretty" but "I like how you put outfits together; I wouldn't have thought of xxx."  The thinking is that specific praise shows that you are paying attention, and doesn't lead to that all-or-nothing feeling of needing to live up to something all the time even if you are not sure what it is.  It praises the child for doing something specific, not for a state of being.  \

        The change to working hard from being smart is the same sort of thing, I think.  And I agree that the story of how you taught her to deal with a bully is remarkable. Where on earth did you get that idea?

        Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

        by ramara on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:03:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Love the suggestions! Thank you. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ramara, mithra, The Marti, Mr Robert, kurt

          Because I didn't want her to say anything that would get her in trouble. If she insulted the boy, he could tattle on her. Silence was best. It's a little hard for her, being the new kid.

          When I was 17, Daddy told me, "Never say anything today that will change all your tomorrows." I have a very sharp tongue, and I took that to heart. It's usually far better for me to remain silent than to say something absolutely cutting that I cannot take back and that will never be forgotten.

      •  It can be more subtle than just words (6+ / 0-)

        A sincere look of pride, stating "this was a job well done" and then stating why is understated and doesn't overpraise.

        This is just the technique I've tried to use.

        I cringe whenever I hear "GOOD JOB!" hollered at kids for mediocre or expected acts. But, middle class America can be very competitive for parents. I want my kids to know they earned the success they created...they don't merit praise just for existing.

        Just my opinion. :)

  •  I don't know about all of that. (27+ / 0-)

    Girls are a trip. They can do anything boys can and still be girly if they feel like it. I have three. All have a tomboy base and from there it gets rather complicated. Oldest is a hippie hiker sustainable earth mother type, and hard core musician. Middle is a tough cookie athletic glam popular type. Youngest is a Wednesday Adams artiste and slightly reclusive.

    Children arrive fully loaded I find. You never know what you're going to get. Finding out is fun and sometimes aggravating, but it takes some work. What works with one can be completely wrong for the others.

    •  Very well said (20+ / 0-)
      Children arrive fully loaded I find. You never know what you're going to get. Finding out is fun and sometimes aggravating, but it takes some work. What works with one can be completely wrong for the others.
      Having kids is like having a stranger move into your house. You get to spend the next several years figuring out who they are, while they are doing the same thing. When they aren't just like you - and I know families where the kids are pretty much just like the parents, but my own, particularly the firstborn, are not - you pretty much have to become more open minded about different ways of being and different measures of success.
      •  This is so true. (8+ / 0-)

        I deal with heredity vs environment a lot in two of my girls.    The youngest, is almost a minature me, only smarter IMO.   The older one is shy, a pleaser , something I absolutely am not and never speaks her mind.
        Biologically they are not mine.  We  have raised  one since 5 and the other since 3 and half months.  One is 17 and the other 8.  They are sisters but have different Dads, neither of which are my son's but legally he was their father until we adopted.  My eldest who is 23 now is very much like me personality wise but was a handful and a lot of trouble in her teens.  That one is biologically my granddaughter. adopted daughter.    All three are different but the youngest is probably the most like me, attached at my hip for almost 7 years.  She is 7 years old.   She still does not want the car to crank without being in the car with me.   She has her opinions and a good and very polite child but independent as heck and no one can put words in her mouth.  She is pretty as well as all of them but she is the only one to be placed in the gifted children program....EXTREMELY smart , in music, math, the one who is liberal all the way around and loves the peace emblems and wants to start a new environmental awareness club.  She reads but the 17 year old is quite and an avid reader.  

        We always knew our 23 year old's mind but was so rebellious it was scary, and self destructive.   The 17 year old is not self destructive but not really independent.  We don't know because she is IMO not true to herself but very quite and in all these years not sure I ever know where she stands.   Holds her feelings in.  Not the 23 and 7 year old.  Our 23 year old is reckless with her diabetes and life choices and impulsive but not the 17 year old.  The 7 year old is just getting started but all personality all the time.

        Funny....they are all three different in so many ways but I think the 7 year old may be the most independent.  That is saying a lot knowing I nearly dropped from the 23 year old's independence and all three have self esteem and confidence in themselves, not so much in others,   The 7 year old is different.. We have always been the only parental influence in her life.

        Good diary !  Girls are more difficult to raise IMO than boys.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 06:32:08 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  YES!! (6+ / 0-)

        You and WheninRome are absolutely correct! They are strangers, and it is so strange to discover that when they're born, because of course you've "known" them for 9 months.

        But they arrive and BAM they are who they are. It is amazing.

        Not that their lives aren't shaped and formed by parenting. But their essential self is pretty astounding - before they can talk or really do anything other than just BE their essential selves!

  •  The job of feminism will never be done (13+ / 0-)

    as long as we continue to perpetuate gender stereotypes.

    When we create a child (by "we" I mean both the father and the mother), we create a whole new unique individual with a unique personality. I think we can do that new individual quite a bit of harm if we approach that child with preconceived notions about how that child should or might behave based solely on the external manifestation of genitalia.

    Every child should be free to be herself/himself or other/self.

  •  I completely relate ... (11+ / 0-)

    ... except I was never blessed with children.

    The "I'm 34" story cracked me up.  When I was 17 I was at a bar with a friend (who had her older sister's ID), and when the bartender asked me for ID, I sighed with exasperation and said, "You guys card me every time I come in here!  I'm 22 -- enough already!"  

    I think I was much worse behaved than you (cut classes, forged notes from home, got suspended), but I started taking birth control pills as soon as I became sexually active.  Thank you, Planned Parenthood!

    My mother told me years later she was horrified to find them in my purse (yes, she confessed to looking through my purse) but then realized how much more horrified  she would have been if I have gotten pregnant.

    You're doing a great job.  All daughters should have the confidence yours has!

    "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

    by JBL55 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 10:45:51 AM PST

    •  LOL! (7+ / 0-)

      I had to come up with something that was outrageous enough :)

      Nah, I never had trouble at school. Only cut classes once, at the end of senior year. That was a funny story :) As I said, my parents were STRICT. The nights we didn't go clubbing, I was home by midnight or 12:30. One minute late meant -10 minutes the next time.

      •  My time was 10 pm ... (7+ / 0-)

        ... and I spent most of my HS years grounded for one reason or another.  Naturally it made me all the more restless and rebellious.

        So (not that you asked, but), my advice is: keep doing what you're doing.  :-)

        "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

        by JBL55 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:45:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, I was in NY :) (8+ / 0-)

          I think my curfew at 14 and 15 was 10 or 10:30. We used to go to Drake's Drum, Dorrian's, or The Wicked Wolf and drink. I don't think anyone older than 17 ever went to those places! Curfew was raised to 12 or 12:30 when I was 16. But...that wasn't any fun! It was barely enough time to get downtown!

          And thank you :) I'm enjoying all the comments :)

          •  I went to punk clubs in LA in the late 70s (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ( these places often didn't have "bars" in them anyway: think abandoned building), but I was a very straight arrow in terms of substance abuse and didn't drink or do drugs; just hung out with crowds of amazingly wasted people. You learn a lot watching them! The girl with her coat on fire was a lesson.

            It flipped my parents out, but they did know I was going. And they raised me to make pretty good decisions about stuff. And raised me with alcohol as part of our daily life ("European attitude") so booze was no big deal and there was no rebellion in it, only enjoyment of an epicurean kind, so it was very much under my locus of control.

            My 19-year-old daughter is a control freak and pretty level-headed, but things to happen outside one's locus of control, and girls often bear the brunt of that awful stuff (and are doubly victimized by it). So one worries anyway!

            •  YES!!! European attitude! (5+ / 0-)

              That's how I was raised! Had my first sip of wine at Thanksgiving or Christmas, age 7, for the toast. Was allowed a half glass at 12. Had wine with dinner at home at 16. Parents knew we drank when we went out, but due to allowance restrictions and lectures on self-control and being ladylike, I never got drunk. Would have a glass of water in between drinks to have something in my hand, also to keep sober-ish.

              Had my first beer at the end of 8th grade. We all went to a classmate's house in Southampton, armed with beer or cigarettes. Lmao. Hated the taste, still do.

              But...I cannot bring myself to give my kids wine. Weird, huh? Maybe because DH not raised as I was? Times have changed? But i do want them to grow up with a relaxed attitude, as I did. I don't want them to think that booze is something forbidden that must be consumed sneakily in great quantities. I need to talk to my mother about this.

              •  Re. the European attitude... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                The Marti, BadKitties

                sounds like your kids are still pretty young.  Age 12 or so is plenty early to start allowing a sip of wine at dinner, at least for special occasions.  That may be something DH might be comfortable with and is still in plenty of time to instill self-control and healthy attitudes toward social drinking.

                Some people fight fire with fire. Professionals use water.

                by Happy Days on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:11:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Our kids may have small drinks with us (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BadKitties, Mr Robert

                if they choose (not spirits, but we have let them taste whiskey, which was not popular at the children's table!), and usually they choose not to, at mealtime when we have wine or something.

                In Wisconsin, kids under 18 (I think) can drink from their parent's glass in a restaurant (very powerful tavern lobby) which I think is pretty cool! We have enjoyed that law.

                My parents let us try anything. They lived to regret letting the toddlers try lobster, lamb chops, quiche, etc. because then we wanted our fair share at the table.

          •  Have you read Joyce Johnson's (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BadKitties, The Marti

            Minor Characters? It's a memoir (ostensibly about her relationship with Jack Kerouac but much much more than that).

            Your New York Stories made me think of her. Wonderful book.

  •  Daughters.. (12+ / 0-)

    Great article!

    Don't know about boys.  We got 2 girls.  Someone 'up there' has a sense of humor....we got girls.  Ours are older now -24 and 19.  We had some struggles with #1 in high school, more with who her friends were, etc...she still ended up on the Deans List and is a University of Wisconsin alumni, and even found a job in her degree!  Both of our daughters are intelligent, fun, inquisitive, and have their heads on right.  We're very proud of both of them. #2 is at The Ohio State University, and will graduate early (we think).  It's not to say that they're perfect... but as kids go, even with the fact that they're both strong willed, and whip smart, we really had a pretty easy time with them.

    We have no clue how my wife and I did this..I'm convinced that it was sheer dumb luck they're turning out to be such great people.

    We thought, watching our friends with 2 boys around the same age, difference between the kids, etc that boys would have been tougher than girls.  We still think so, even after our two girls are out, one with a real life/job, and the other one a college sophomore...

    Not completely sure about that, but, man, we blinked, and they're both out of the house and on the way!

  •  I've got daughters. Fantastic diary! (10+ / 0-)

    Mmmmm.  Power Tools.  

    Will definitely have to teach them about that!


    Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
    I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
    —Spike Milligan

    by polecat on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 11:17:52 AM PST

  •  Daughters; the next trap (9+ / 0-)

    The meanest person in the world is the 5th grade girl who rules.  She decides who is in or out.  It was a horror for our second daughter.  She survived, now with a PHD at 34 and her tormentors with kids in the old neighborhood.
    The main thing is to be constant with your rules, its a security thing.
    Have the best of luck and enjoy your children.

    •  Oooh, mean girls (8+ / 0-)

      Funny, I don't remember any, really. The nuns were quite strict, and my first school was all girls. I had my best friends, and the same in high school and college. I may have just ignored them or delivered a devastating enough retort that they never bothered me again. I DID think of teaching my daughter insults in Latin, but quickly changed my mind and went with the silent treatment.

      Kudos to you and your daughter :) I can see my daughter getting picked on by mean girls. She's a little softie sometimes. But, like me, she has a temper. Control of it is very important.

      I realized today that my father NEVER treated me "like a princess" (except once when he bought me a ball gown at 17) but rather spent his time toughening me up. I need to do more of that, as well. Yes. Rules are very important.

  •  My daughters (14 and 11) will be allowed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, NonnyO, The Marti, Mr Robert

    to date when they turn 30! Just after they've completed a couple of tours in the convent!

    I may find a friend who's an NRA member so I can put a sticker on the window by the front door to let any boys coming to pick them up for a date what could happen if I get a bad report! GPS trackers are also a part of my plan. Skype and FaceTime may also be employed at dates!

    I can dream, can't I? Or maybe they can just put me into a temporary coma for a few years.

    In an insane society, the sane man would appear insane

    by TampaCPA on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 01:49:13 PM PST

    •  Hahaha! (6+ / 0-)

      My father gave me a choice of A) closed-circuit camera in my room or B) Door to remain open at ALL times when I had a boy over. I chose B.

      Daddy was 6'3" and terrifying. Black hair, blue-grey eyes. So...I only dated boys over 6'4" for YEARS. He still scared them. Also, there were guns, a mace, a crossbow, knives, and trophies all over the apartment and beach house. So, good luck to you :)

      •  Damn, sounds like my FIL's house. (6+ / 0-)

        My SO spent nearly an hour, first time I visited there, showing me all the weapons his dad had ... and considering that I had, ahem, designs on my SO by then, it was a little unnerving.

        Then came the day at a rock show his dad told somebody, "She's not my daughter yet" that I knew things were gonna be fine ...

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 03:45:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aw :) (5+ / 0-)

          That is really sweet :) I am amazed how many old boyfriends and male friends from high school remember Daddy and all the weapons! They would sit in his library and talk to him for hours. He treated them all with respect and a grave kindness. He was a collector, and a marksmanship and sharpshooting instructor in the USAR. We had a 50' pistol range in the basement of the beach house. Oddly, we were allowed to fire pistols, but NEVER to touch his bow and arrows. I think because none of us were strong enough.

  •  You sound like a wonderful mother! (12+ / 0-)

    Thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable essay.

    My daughter has not left anything to chance with her two children.  She started giving them sex education at an early age, including telling them about condoms.  She even demonstrated their use on a banana.  She also told them, "I am LIVING PROOF that you can get pregnant the first time you have sex!"

    And she is.  I got pregnant the first and only time I had sex at age 17, had to go away and hide in a maternity home for six months, and then relinquish my daughter for adoption. This was the norm for 1962.  What wasn't the norm was that my mother told the woman who ran the home that we were keeping the baby.  Well, we left with her but only to hand her over to my aunt, who was childless.  My aunt and uncle adopted her and brought her up.

    My 18-year-old granddaughter has seen so much teen-age misery in the girls around her in high school that I think she's averse to premature or irresponsible sex.  She knows what to do if she does decide to embark on such a relationship.  I sincerely hope she does not get pregnant.  She is trying to get through college in three years so as to be less of a financial burden on the people who are paying for her education--her adoptive grandparents.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 02:46:12 PM PST

  •  Daughters... (11+ / 0-)

    ...get a bad rap.  

    I, myself, never had kids because I never wanted to be a parent but I listen to parents at work say how bad daughters are.  One said that daughters are the worst because hers had to be a little fashion queen every time they went out.  Yet I remember my dad telling me that daughters were the worst in part because I was not interested in being anything but a tomboy.  You're damned if you do or damned if you don't.  

    Don't let anyone tell you or her jack shit.  Love her for who she is.


    I promote fear of me because I am a coward; I promote equality because I know there's nothing to fear.

    by bristlecone77 on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 04:55:39 PM PST

  •  Lord help me... (7+ / 0-)

    Nice story. I have a daughter. She was a perfect angel, daddy's girl... until she turned 15. I nurtured (even demanded) self reliance, self esteem, strength. She's a high achiever, almost straight A's in honors and AP classes - even though she's a year younger than all her classmates (she's a HS junior at 15).

    Nonetheless, the rebellion started this year. As an only child she's a bit more "entitled" than I ever was. I also have a huge stubborn streak, and she's got that too. My wife is argumentative- she's got that too. LOL. So lets see what have we been through this year: shoplifting, sneaking out and drinking, sneaking out and driving, fits of screaming and cussing and running away when she's angry, a 19 year old boyfriend. Lord knows what I don't know. LOL.

    I think she'll be okay. I don't know if I will be though. Uggghhh. Worst thing... I really miss daddy's little girl!

    •  Oof... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LSophia, NonnyO, The Marti, Mr Robert

      I think she'll be okay, too. I was completely calm in college, having gotten the wildness out. Had a couple of serious long- term boyfriends, no drunken episodes. Not sure exactly how I arrived there. Maybe realizing I was responsible for myself? Maybe thinking this was the beginning of adulthood, at last, and I couldn't mess it up? Maybe the knowledge that I could not fail or disappoint my parents?

      I wish her--and both of you!--the best!

  •  I have two girls that... (5+ / 0-)

    are now 5 and 7 years old. They are already showing themselves to be far more rebellious than I ever was. (Must take after Dad!) Hopefully we will all survive the teenage years.

    Having not grown up very confident I know how important it is. One thing I have always tried to do is to praise effort so they learn to connect hard work with results.

  •  I've got two girls and I'm thrilled. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, NonnyO, BadKitties, The Marti

    I can't wait to see them grow into strong confident women.  That truly is a gift to society.

    You may have been trouble, but it seems you did just fine for your self!

    Corporations are driven by the bottom line, not by concerns for health, safety or the environment. This is why we need government regulations.

    by the dogs sockpuppet on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 05:13:41 PM PST

  •  Don't overthink it (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BadKitties, Dretutz, LSophia, NonnyO, The Marti

    Be yourself - kids can spot a fake more easily than most adults.  

    Don't let magazines or the latest craze change the way you raise your kids - lots of love, some common sense discipline, and a large dose of forgiveness (even to yourself), is the only recipe you need.

  •  They'll Try To Shock You Or Test You (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, NonnyO, The Marti

    My daughter was about 11 when Christina Aguilera kissed Madonna and my daughter told me about it.

    I said "Kiss Madonna? I'd rather lick a dog's ass 'til it bleeds!"  that was actually a very good dad moment, because it told her that she couldn't paralyze me by saying something shocking.

    We also used to rough-house when she instigated it.  When I could lay my foot on her shoulder, or I left a foot print on her knee, or tossed her her head over heels using technique rather than strength, she knew she lost.  I looked at her, and she'd back up.  "What?" I'd say all innocent, and she'd say say "You're measuring the distance to kick me in the head!"  But when she was about 18 I put her in an arm bar and she whipped around and put a knot under my ear with a roundhouse.  I let her feel the knot, and gave her a pat on the back.

    It's important to join a club or have some other activity where the incentive comes from peers rather than parents.  We were in a outdoors club with other families.  She brushed some "fireweed" with her hand, which immediately produced several tiny blisters.  She looked at her hand, looked at the kids rushing off to look at the next thing they'd found, and decided this was not the time to say "I want to go home!"   I could see her decide to ignore the blisters, and she ran after the other kids.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 07:16:37 PM PST

  •  My 16-year-old daughter has a boyfriend... (10+ / 0-)

    ...which is a great lever for getting things done around the house: 'you can see Jader when the bathroom is clean,' and other extortions. I don't restrict her freedom; I only condition it. So far, it works.

    I'm a single Dad, and I've been the luckiest with my daughter. She is an independent, choice-driven person. Collecting high school credits since the 7th grade, she's had enough air in her schedule to also collect college credits since the 10th. She'll have her AA degree a month before her HS diploma. She's got a summer's worth of volunteer experience in the 9th grade, and another summer's worth of full-time paid experience with a municipality in the 10th. This summer, we'll be shooting for a paid internship with the local port authority.

    She's also trying to get her boyfriend (a year older, a senior in HS) to get a job and a driver's license -- heh. I won't interfere, but good luck with that, dear daughter. At least you're also learning that experience young, too, before it damages your own prospects.

  •  You'll have to take a lot of deep breaths. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, NonnyO, BadKitties, The Marti

    I did. I have felt that anxiety too. My daughter is 17, beautiful in spirit and face, smart, strong, steel-willed but easy to get along with, independent, glorious. She went through all of the "girl" stuff, with make-up, clothes, and boys. And brightly colored hair -- pink and turquoise were (and are) her favorites. The thing is, you can't escape the culture. You live in the middle of it. And your daughter is going to have to deal with it. I think the trick to mothering is to let go just a little bit at a time. We can't control our kids. As they get older, they're going to want to do things, and own things, that make us uncomfortable. But that's how they learn. They're a lot like us: they make mistakes and they learn from them. It can be uncomfortable to watch, but that's where the deep breaths come in.

    "Life and death, dispensed on a dollar basis. How ridiculous and fatally stupid, in what is still the richest country on earth?" Exmearden

    by burana on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 08:21:22 PM PST

  •  My daughter is 31, accomplished beyond my hopes (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javan, LSophia, NonnyO, BadKitties, The Marti

    and married to a genuinely good man.  We had two hard years--I did and she did.  Those were her senior year in HS and freshman year in college.  I was freaked out at her choices.  She had put herself in danger.

    On the advice of a dear friend: "just continue loving her no matter what, but don't support her in bad lifestyle choices," we weathered that growth period.  My main strategy was to treat her with respect due to any human being. Tell the truth as I knew it despite it being inconvenient or socially unacceptable.  Shower her with love and expect much.
    I could not be happier or more proud of the result.  

  •  Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!! (4+ / 0-)
    ... my mother said, "Is there anything you can't do?" I was completely surprised. I looked at her, and said, "I don't know. Never occurred to me that I couldn't do anything I wanted. I got that from you and Daddy!" My mother shook her head. What a gift from my parents: confidence.
    I'm thrilled spitless that you're teaching your daughter confidence!  That's what every girl needs!  [That is my attitude:  "It never occurred to me that I couldn't do anything I wanted."  No one ever actually taught me that, but that's how I've conducted my entire life from before I could verbalize the notion.]

    My first love was reading from the get-go, and I had a fantastic teacher in first through third grade (the next two were useless).  In first grade when I finished my assignments I taught myself cursive by looking at the examples above the chalk board.  Two room school house [Dad & his siblings had attended the same school].  I had two or three classmates in first grade, they were bussed to other schools by second grade, so I was the only student in my grade from second through sixth grade.  I had no peers, so learned my independence early.  Seventh grade through senior year I had classmates in another school, but I still always felt like a fifth wheel.

    As part of an experimental program, when I was a sophomore the shop and home ec classes exchanged..., and unbeknownst to me, the shop teacher sent my Tom Thumb leather purse and ceramic tray to an industrial arts fair.  As myself and other sophomores were setting up for the junior and senior high school prom banquet in half the gym, I was told my little leather tooled purse won second place and the ceramic dish won honorable mention (the info is now in my scrap books from high school years).  Throughout my adult life, I've done one kind of artsy-fartsy thing or other.  I'm disgustingly creative in multiple ways, and have three tool chests, can sew, and community and summer theatre were my favorite hobbies when I was young.

    As a first-year Baby Boomer, I also had occupations in non-traditional fields dominated by men (law enforcement).

    I could change a tire by myself, add water to the radiator, check and add oil, figure out mileage (my first car was a little '60/61 VW without a gas gauge and a ten gallon tank with a one gallon reserve tank, so I had to figure it out all the time, especially for long trips, so I could be in large towns to gas up when stations were open), and add air to the tires.

    Plus, of course, I was head of my own household, did all my own housework, managed my own finances, etc., and was a single mother, on top of later managing offices, etc.

    About the time guys I dated started telling me how to spend my money or that I should use my talents for x,y,z ideas they had (which would benefit them, not me), I broke off the relationship.  [Naturally, I've arrived at old age still single.  I will NOT be talked down to like I'm a child!  That subject is not open for compromise.]

    Whether male or female, every child-emerging-to-teen-years-and-adulthood should learn the things it takes to manage one's own household without assistance.  One can hope they'll be happily partnered with someone, but what if the other partner dies or their marriage ends in divorce?  It happens.  Someone still has to cook (at least basic, healthy food, even if not gourmet meals), vacuum, sweep, dust, wash and iron clothes, clean the bathroom, change sheets, pick up all the things that make a place look messy, do dishes, how to do minor repairs around the house or hang a picture or a clock (hence, one needs a few basic tools), how to sew on a button or mend a ripped seam by a simple whip stitch, or use a basic sewing machine, know how to make out a check to pay the bills, balance the checking account, make and keep doctor and dentist (or whatever) appointments, keep a car in good repair and serviced (which means dealing with mechanics, so learn the elementary things for vehicle upkeep), how/where to purchase vehicle registration, license tabs, renew a driver's license, how to use a credit card responsibly, or, better yet, how to manage a debit card and not go in debt with credit cards.

    You get the idea.  All the things one must do to be the head of one's own household with no one to rely on to do things for one.

    Hooray to any parent(s) who realize basic knowledge and how to do basic things are important for each of their offspring to learn!

    [P.S.  Your daughter will do just fine.  She has you for a mother...!]


    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:52:31 PM PST

  •  No daughters, alas, but a small niece (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, ssundstoel, The Marti

    with a will of granite and a personality approximately 100x of her tiny frame.

    She attempts to run roughshod over her parents on a regular basis, and, for the most part, they do an admirable job of civilizing her - redirecting without breaking her spirit.

    Interestingly, she remains eager to retain auntie's good opinion, even to the point of calming down when asked to do so.  We will see how long that lasts.  :)

  •  I'm raising a son (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MaikeH, The Marti, FindingMyVoice

    and though I'm in a much more enlightened country (Norway) there are still challenges when it comes to gender roles.  I don't know what the future will hold with these things.  However, at his kindergarten (he is 2) the boys play with baby dolls just as much as girls do, and I've been told that he is very gentle and caring with his "baby" and it's not unusual to come in and see the little boys wearing dress-up dresses and carrying purses while the girls race around with toy cars.  So the groundwork is being laid.  

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."-- Isaac Asimov.

    by ssundstoel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:55:44 AM PST

  •  after reading this i'm shocked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Marti

    that people still think this way...

    truth is usually boys are much more rebellious/aggressive and actually are more likely to get into trouble...

  •  I know I raised my daughter right when (5+ / 0-)

    she gave ME a lecture on why the republicans suck.  I was struck with joy.   She's a wonderful woman and I could not be happier.   I wish my beloved daughter the absolute best luck today - she is going for the interview of a life time, and she's ready.  I'm so very, very proud of her!

    Raising children isn't easy - but being brutally honest and loving was the best recipe.  

    :-)  Melissa

    Dissent is Patriotic

    by mwjeepster on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 03:19:44 AM PST

  •  We were glad our daughter was born first; she got (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, The Marti, kurt

    ...the benefits of first-born unwarranted self-confidence, and she neatly internalized our insistence that she could always do whatever she felt like tackling. She has carried that into her career and went from intern to editor in 7 years. And still has basically no idea how very unusual her skill-set and self-confidence really are.

    As a dad, I would readily concede that I'm closer to my daughter than to my two sons. And I'd also have to confess that the stereotype about teenage girls and drama was certainly true in our case. But so worth it!

  •  I became a parent later in life (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BadKitties, The Marti, kurt

    We had our first daughter when I was 43 and my second daughter at 45. They're now 9 and 7 and let me tell ya...I'm  still wondering if I'm growed up enough to handle parenting...but so far, so good.
    The main challenge for me is to not try to drag my childhood "issues" into there life or try to overcompensate for some perceived "lack" that I suffered as a kid.

    In the beginning there was nothing...which exploded.

    by lucysdad on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:37:57 AM PST

  •  My biggest concern as a father of a little girl (6+ / 0-)

    is the way that society chews up and spits out little girls. Awful "fashion" magazines.  Body image issues.  People who believe girls should just flirt to get by even at a very young age.  Ugh. What a horror show.

    I'm especially concerned about weight/body image issues since I've know women with eating disorders. Any time her mother makes a comment to her about how much she's eating, whether her belly is sticking out, etc. I launch into a full blown argument against her for making the comment.   I make it very clear to my beautiful (and very athletic) daughter that the whole point of eating right is to get good nutrition and to make your body strong.  I take the focus off of the superficiality of weight and image, and instead re-focus the topic on athletic performance, strength, and health.

    Of course, I'm a Stupid Man, so maybe I'm approaching this all wrong.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:53:02 AM PST

    •  You've got it just right! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, FindingMyVoice

      Little girls take cues from their daddies, so you are the very first model for her of how men behave.  Women often seek men in a relationship who resemble their fathers.

      We women tend to criticize our daughters because we see so much of ourselves in them.  It is our (un)natural desire to make them better than we perceive ourselves.  Just remind your wife when she makes comments like that how much it means to your daughter.

      Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

      by VeloVixen on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:50:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, perfect :) (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Marti, FindingMyVoice

      We emphasize healthy eating and exercise. You are doing EXACTLY the right thing!

  •  Wait a tick. "She has porn star lips?!" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MaikeH, The Marti, harchickgirl1, kurt

    What kind of fucking weirdo would 1) think, and then 2) actually say out loud, something so creepy about a a baby for fuckssake?!

    Sorry for the digression.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:01:44 AM PST

  •  We are kindred spirits, and you will be (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BadKitties, The Marti, Mr Robert, kurt

    successful in raising an accomplished, strong, and confident woman because you are too.  Like you, I was very close to my Dad.  He taught me how to do so many things, including changing a tire and using power tools.  He taught me to be independent and strong.

    I have a daughter and two sons.  She is the oldest, and so I was the hardest on her.  But now, as I reflect, I'm not sure if I was hard on her because she was the first or because she is a girl.  She is very strong, independent, and accomplished. (She is a chief resident in Internal Medicine headed to do a cardiology fellowship next summer).  And yes, she did some of those badass things as a teenager that I was terrified she would do (like sneak out to parties, drink too much, etc):  but she is doing just fine now.

    So relax, badkitties, and enjoy the ride!

    Know what you believe, why you believe it, who believes with you, and how it matters. Stand for what you believe, believe what you stand for.

    by VeloVixen on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 07:41:05 AM PST

  •  I taught my daughter: (5+ / 0-)

    First, understand, I'm a man.  I taught my daughter:

    -- How to use every power tool and hand tool in my workshop and tool box.

    -- How to work on her car:  Check fluids and tire pressure; add oil, coolant, air in tires; recognize when something's wrong; change a tire.

    -- How to shoot -- pistol, shotgun, rifle.

    -- How to build a house.  As a teenager, she was with me every step of the way from clearing the lot to final inspection when we built our first house.  She can frame, install siding, install roofing, wiring, plumbing, flooring, tile, drywall, paint, trim.

    -- How to garden.

    -- How to bathe a cat.

    -- How to sight in a .22 rifle and shoot groundhogs.

    Now she's a high-powered DC attorney who bills $XXX and hour and knocks down an obscene amount of money plus bonuses.  She still drives her 12 year old truck.

    Never taught her to fish.

  •  I have tears in my eyes!! Thank you! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You are blessed to have had the upbringing you did, but more, to appreciate it and pass it on to your own child!

    She, in turn, will be an inspiration to others--both boys and girls, men and women, and all the variations thereof.

    I applaud your efforts and wish you a long and happy life as the mother of an awesome girlchild!  

    Next diary, please write about your son.  I have a feeling you're raising a feminist, there, too.  And many of us would love to read about how you're raising a boy in this culture.

    Hugs and blessings,

    We cannot call ourselves a civilised society if we refuse to protect the weakest among us.

    by The Marti on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:55:10 AM PST

  •  I raised two daughters..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badscience, The Marti, kurt

    Life led me to be the at home parent. That meant I did most of the parenting. And the cooking. And the soccer coaching. The girl scout leading. The room parenting. The homework. The driving. The dance school, even dancing in the recital a couple times.

    Best thing I ever did. Not sure about them, but I had a blast. Second childhood.

    They had someone put them on the bus. Waiting for them when they got off the bus. Homecooked meals. Homemade bread. Homemade other foods. Get the homework done.

    They're both in college now. A couple bumps on takeoff, but nothing unexpected. I just made cookies for the exam care packages.

    My wife handled most of the "girl" stuff. Clothes, hair, guys. Between the two of us I think we did alright, they're both Democrats anyway.

    We taught them to think for themselves. To stand up for themselves. To make decision, and deal with the consequences of bad decisions.

    So far, so good. But they're OK so far.

    Good luck.

    There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? - Robert Kennedy

    by BobBlueMass on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:58:42 AM PST

  •  On Raising a Daughter (5+ / 0-)

    I enjoyed your viewpoint from the other side. I was the oldest of 5 boys and my daughter is the 1st female on my side of the family in 96 years. Mys son is 18 and in his 1st year of college and my daughter is 14 in her first year of high school. Both are red heads, intelligent, witty and caring and that's where the similarities stop. My daughter is focused and organized while my son is driven but lazy and unorganized.

    My wife and I adopted a policy in the house at the time that our daughter was born that if you are old enough to ask the question then you are old enough for the answer. Both my wife and I were raised either conservatively or repressed. Consequently there weren't many conversations that got deep and we were wild heathens of the '70's. Our kids have the benefit of our experience as we've been quite open about what we've done and how it impacted our lives. I was voted most likely NOT to make it the age of 25 and my wife explored the darker side of the drug world for a short time. Clearly we're not saints but both of us have solid jobs and are respected in our positions.

     There have been many conversations about drugs, politics,sex, religion and music. Oddly music is the topic that gets the most disagreement.

    I love my kids and I think that they are my strongest and best accomplishment to date. My daughter and I have a great relationship and go on a long walk through Old Town at least once a month. I find with both kids it's not what I say that makes a difference but what I hear or understand. Too often I see parents wonder why they can't talk to their kids. The answer is simple; it begins at birth the whole listening and talking. Your tone of voice resonates and they pick up on that throughout their lives. Raising kids is one of the hardest but most rewarding jobs any human can undertake if you put your heart into it.

    •  Wonderful policy! (5+ / 0-)

      My parents did that, too, and so do I. My mother had an argument with a librarian when I wanted to read "Lolita" at age 9. The librarian refused to let me check it out. My mother said, "We let the children read anything they want," and checked it out herself under the disapproving stare of the librarian. Of course, I didn't understand it. Read it years later and said, "Ack!"

      IMO that is the BEST way to raise kids--open lines of communication.

      Congrats to you and your wife on being great parents!

  •  Two gratuitous pix of me and DD :) (5+ / 0-)

    DD at age 2. My father's favorite picture of her.

    Me, in my late 20's.

    •  I hope you wont be offended if I e-wolf whistle (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BadKitties, bontemps2012

      But I just did. Anyway I appreciate your diary as it seems I will be moving into single parenting a 6 year old princess. Any advice is appreciated. . .even that which is unsolicited

      An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

      by MichiganChet on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:28:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No :) Thank you :) (3+ / 0-)

        There is some absolutely amazing advice in the comments! Good luck! I'd have to say, open lines of communication. Let her know that she can talk to you about ANYTHING. Teach her to use tools. Seriously. Starting around 10 with basics--hammer, screwdriver. Drills at 12. We had giant table saws. Was thrilled and scared when allowed to use them at 12.

        And...toughen her up. Don't treat her as if she is fragile. I used to think my parents, and particularly my father, were SO MEAN. I'd come home crying that something wasn't fair, and my father would roar, "The WORLD isn't fair!"

        Constructive criticism is good. Coddling...not so good. As an adult, I can handle criticism, insults, heartbreak...whatever comes my way. I credit my parents.

        I wish you the very best of luck :)

        •  Great! 'Course that assumes I know how to use 'em (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BadKitties, Oh Mary Oh

          But I guess I can fake it. I am pretty savvy with money so I hope I can teach her financial sense.
             The criticism/coddling balance is hard. . .she likes being coddled. . .and she is about to learn how hard life can be. . .but the communication I think I got

          Best of luck for both of us!

          An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

          by MichiganChet on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 02:08:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Princess in a pink tutu with pink pistol! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BadKitties, FindingMyVoice

      my kind of gal!

    •  Reminds me of going to rob the furniture store (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BadKitties, kurt

      at roughly the same age plus two.

      Friend and I wanted to see an adult with their arms up. Get the drop on them.

      The lady at the furniture store might still be laughing.

      My friend had chaps on.

      Lovely kid you got there. And when you think that 12 is a problem, keep in mind that it (rebellion) peaks somewhere around 15/16 and then slides along till they're 30.

  •  When you're teaching her to use tools (4+ / 0-)

    please don't teach her about the eyelash curler. Dumbest tool ever invented.

  •  I was a baby having a baby (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, BadKitties, kurt

    And I had a girl baby.  All I can say is I got lucky as hell.  I never smacked her for not doing chores, because all I knew was my mother was beaten often with man-du-jour for that.  My daughter would not find that acceptable.  Neither my husband nor myself had any education, so the question was always where, not whether there would be higher education, but where.  As far as her going out, my hard rule was she set the exact time she would be home.  Not one minute late was acceptable, since she set curfew.  We told her because we trusted her absolutely.

    Many years after she was of age, she told me the pressure we put on her was extreme.  I was flabbergasted!  We NEVER pressured.  She said since we just EXPECTED good behavior, she had to give it.  As I said, we were lucky as hell.

    She is now 39, mother of a 2 year old and a 9 month old.  Professional, married 10 years, and an all around epitome of "strong progressive" woman. (AND a stay at home mom!)

  •  Don't wait to tell her about sex. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Eight is actually the perfect time to have that first talk. They still have that sense of wonder and they care about what you have to say. Later on, they'll ignore you and listen to their friends, instead.

    "Nothing happens unless first a dream. " ~ Carl Sandburg

    by davewill on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 03:58:56 PM PST

    •  Oooh... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I see your point, but she still seems so little and so innocent. It would have been the perfect opening when she said that bit about not controlling when you have a baby, but I chose not to take it. I was thinking when she got her period...? I will give it some thought. Thank you.

      •  Here's a great book that helped me a lot (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BadKitties, kurt

        when it came time to tackle that subject:

        How to Talk to Your Child About Sex

        Linda and Richard Eyre stress that it's never too soon-or too late-to start discussing sex and values with your children, and they've got proven strategies to make it easier. How to Talk to Your Child About Sex provides thoughtful, clear, specific guidance on when and, most important, how to help children begin to understand sex, love, and commitment from the most positive viewpoint possible.
        Preliminary "as needed" talks with three-to eight-year-olds
        The age eight Big Talk
        Follow-up talks with eight-to thirteen-year-olds
        Behavior discussions with eleven-to sixteen-year-olds
        Discussions of perspective and personal standards with fifteen-to nineteen-year-olds
        They do a good job of explaining how to communicate what YOU want communicated about the subject. We waited with our oldest, and it's always been harder to talk to him on this subject. The younger two (twin girls) got the "Big Eight talk" and were used to discussing the subject with us when it was needed later, and even as teens were able to do so without embarrassment.

        "Nothing happens unless first a dream. " ~ Carl Sandburg

        by davewill on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 05:51:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hard to let go sometimes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BadKitties, kurt

    My daughter was 19, I think, when she told me she was quitting college to look for a job.  She didn't like school, it was too hard, pointless, etc.  I was heartbroken.  I knew she was a bright girl, but some life events for the both of us had shaken her and she didn't have the heart for the demands of college.

    After high school I told her she could live with me as long as she was in school or had a job.  I could not afford to pay her phone, internet, etc, so a part time job while in school would probably be necessary too.

    So she lived with me while she looked for work.  I lamented to friends that I thought she was making a huge mistake, and the best advice I got was from a friend who had seen her son do the same thing: "keep your mouth shut.  You raised a smart kid, if you make this an issue you could lose this relationship.  Believe in her!"

    So I was silent.  I took her to job interviews, saw her go through a string of really crappy jobs (one where the owner deducted cleaning supply costs from her paycheck...we reported him), and saw her pay her bills and help with groceries.

    She hated it.  After about 9-10 months she said she wanted to go back to school.  She went full time, and got a job as an aide to an elderly neighbor.

    After quitting school, she went back and graduated summa cum laude.  Funny, I think I got more congratulations on that than she did!

    I'm glad I beleived in her, and believed that I had raised a strong woman.

  •  Thanks. Bittersweet reading. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Supposedly, a man becomes a feminist when he finds himself the father of a daughter who wants something.

    It was a memo my own father never got.

    My mother, for her part, was more concerned about the strain on her already-stressed marriage after I was born, than she was about reflecting back to me my own strengths, or the importance what I wanted out of life.

    The result is that I have had to spend hard years raising myself, developing a realistic self-image and realistic sense of my positive contributions to the world. I am in my 40s now and still behind. I am still catching up.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 06:25:21 PM PST

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