How to give them the confidence to stand tall in the face of it all.
My daughter at 10 has always been awfully independent. When other kids were hiding behind their parents legs, she wasn’t. In fact, I was a little envious of the way those kids needed their mom. My little one just seemed to be entirely comfortable heading out there on her own, chatting to new people, learning life lessons as they came.
Lately though, she has started asking me to come cuddle with her and help her fall asleep.
In the past, I would have told her that she is strong, that she can put herself to bed in fear of creating a “habit” that she might expect me to come cuddle every night. We have always wanted our kids to be capable enough to self-sooth and not become reliant on our help to fall asleep.
Only this time things are different.
This time I sense that she is in real need of some mom time. I’m not sure what it is but I can FEEL how quickly time is passing. I know that in a heartbeat, she won’t want me in her room. In fact, she will want her privacy and with that comes no part of “mom”.
When I come cuddle with her, we have a sort of deal.
This is the space that is our cone of silence. The space where we talk about things that throughout the day, she can’t (or isn’t ready to) talk about. In the quiet moments, we lay snuggled up together, and chat in soft whispers. Honestly and openly.
We talk about things that are hella hard and topics I didn’t think we were even CLOSE to talking about.
But here they are.
She has an old soul. Her ability to read a situation and develop a sense of what is going on and the deeper meanings behind them feels far beyond her years. I will give you that. But man, kids are dealing with so much more than we had to and at such an earlier age.
She is on the verge.
I will take her to women’s marches. I will talk endlessly about consent. I will enforce that her body is her own and nobody ever (EVER) has a right to touch it without her permission. I will push hard on getting her strong. Mentally over physically so that she is ready to take on the world of teenage hood. I want her to walk into that world with as much confidence as I can possibly give her. To be kind, but not railroaded. To be respectful but not suffer fools. To be ready to do battle, not give in to follow like a sheep.
Moments from now, she will enter into the Ring of Fire. The pressures of social media are so unbelievably intense that teens sense of self worth is entirely wrapped up in the “count”. How many likes, comments , valued comments, tags, stories and snapstreaks they are getting proves (in their world) just how special they are.
Never mind the countless anonymous posting apps like Sarahah, which allows you to be “HONEST” with your friends on how you truly feel about them. Seriously. Like going through life as a teenager isn’t hard enough, we have now added a cyber mean book to be passed around.
But it’s not just our daughters. It’s our sons too.
And who are we kidding, it’s us.
I have heard from so many friends countless and painful accounts of the “why’s and how’s”.
Why is their life so glamourous? How can they afford to travel like that?Why are they doing so much better than me in business? How did they get so many likes? How are they doing this/going there/getting invited to that?
FOMO, YOLO, hashtag hash-holes and all kinds of content gets them up in arms. Feck. It is there for all of us, but imagine not having the capacity as a teen to work through the real/not real in your head. I have seen people play dirty on social and I have seen them be oh so mean.
It is as much our responsibility as grown adults to let go of the self-worth game we create because of social media as it is to teach our kids to do the same.
“You Do You”, as my husband always says and it is something we are trying to engrain in our kids.
Let your self worth be measured by you and you alone. Nobody else needs to comment or like for you to love who you are. I think we need to keep enforcing that message to our ourselves and to our kids.
YOU are the only one that matters.