The future of our daughters...
I am not a mother of a daughter, but I watched my mom raise three girls. Three girls who are now women, that are respected, educated and thoughtful.
We, my sisters and I, are aware/conscious and actively moderate how we are perceived in this world, because our mom was thoughtful enough to educate us and encourage us to pay attention to our surroundings. She told us to make sure to be aware that everyone will not like you, accept you or want to see us succeed. And that if we knew this, we would know how to identify and address their expectations.
When you're aware that individuals have different expectations and make assumptions about you based on your behavior, you learn how to adjust your behavior, address those people according to their expectations and/or assumptions. You learn to understand that not everyone views you in the same light. You learn to accept that not everyone looks at you the same.
But regardless to how they look at you, you have the power to influence otherwise. You know that you have the power to moderate their perception, to how you want them to perceive you, by moderating your behavior. So never give someone else the power to devalue you or make you be or do something that you wish not to be. Also never give someone the power to alter people's perception of you into anything that you do not wish.
Learning this was super empowering for me as a young lady. Now while not in her (my mother's) exact words, the message was the same. And when I became into my own, those words fueled my individualism. They made me comfortable in my own skin and gave me confidence to moderate how I am perceived in this world. So because of this, I feel that it is important that women and mothers of daughters, teach them to identify with their worth. Teach them to understand how their actions allow them to be perceived. Teach them to become confident and comfortable with themselves, not self centered or attention seekers.
However, there are too many teen girls who lack self-confidence, yet have no fear. Imagine that, insecure, fearless individuals...
Sounds outrageous, but they really are. They seek affirmation from the wrong spaces, e.g. social media, because they're not receiving it from home. And it's unfortunate that as women, we are "hands off" to young ladies who are not our own. We accept little to no responsibility for the future of our daughters. When we should try to do more,instead of making it ok for them to see so much; too much of things they don't understand.
So now if I'm going to ask the daughterless women to not be so "hands off", it's only right that I ask the women with daughters to be open to the idea that there is another women in this world with good intention for your daughters.
Stop sending your daughters to school with "no one can tell you anything, they aren't your mother" attitude. Because that is not true. And you are also encouraging your daughter to disrespect a woman/an adult whose values do not align with your own. Regardless to who or what a woman says to your child, she should always be RESPECTFUL. To this day I say "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am" to any woman I recognize as being older than me. I do not outwardly challenge the wisdom of any woman I consider my elder. Because while you do not always agree, you still must practice respect.
Therefore, your daughter should be just as receptive to respecting
and learning from a female teacher as she is respectful in all her interactions with you (her mother).
It kills me to hear young ladies say that her female teachers/older women (she may have encountered) are jealous of or were disrespectful to her.
No grown woman in her right mind would ever be disrespectful to or jealous of a teen girl. As a child, it is hard for your daughter to decipher disrespect, from tough love. And just because a teacher recognizes your daughter's capability and wants/expects more from her, that is NOT antagonizing or mistreating your child.
It should be ok for a fellow woman or educator, to tell/call you and let you know your daughter can be/do better than what she is doing and/or she shouldn't be so gullible (follower). And your response should be of thanks, rather than disdain.
That's why it is super important to not allow your daughters to here adult to adult conversations. They tend to assume your behavior and believe that they can do something, because their mom did it, when in fact it takes away from them staying in a child's place and recognizing that they are not an adult.
Unfortunately another issue with our daughters is that it has become popular to be a follower. And it's crazy that we either don't realize or care to acknowledge that by allowing our daughters to "beat" their faces or wear clothes that are not appropriate for their age group, but considered the "new style", that we are allowing them to be diminished to attributes with no purpose. And ultimately allowing them to be confused with grown women and obtain male attention that they are not ready for.
And because they may have never received that attention, it becomes something (due to lack of maturity and self-awareness and self-development) that once they acquire that attention she will wish to seek it more and more. Which yields to her wearing skimpy/sexy clothes, with hopes to get male attention. They begin to shape their motivation solely on that.
Now this is not the only thing that our young ladies are subject to, but this is one example of how they are losing themselves by becoming an object of this world.
It's unfortunate, but this is our reality. I know for me it is disheartening to see 16 year olds who I believe to be at least 21 years or older because of the amount of make-up they apply to their faces and the way they dress.
Now I'm not saying that young ladies cannot be fashionable or trendy, because they can be trendy and conservative. They can be fashionable without revealing too much. But they mimic all things they see. They mimic the dress of adult women and we allow it. And they don't seem to understand that by doing something as simple as wearing make-up, even though it maybe popular or the norm, they are subjecting themselves to becoming followers. They are not giving themselves a chance to fall in love with their individuality. They adopt the practice of enhancing themselves before they get to know themselves.
I am 31 years old, and while I was in school I couldn't wear make-up. Not only could I not wear make-up, I had to explain why I couldn't to all of my friends that could. So I know what it feels like to not be able to "fit in". But I also know what it feels like to not follow.
And while I felt like an outsider for a moment, I gained a sense of individuality and learned to understand that I didn't have to do everything everyone else did. I learned to think on my own and was able to decifer between behavior of following and behavior of doing things you actually like. And I believe a lot of these teens will never know what that feels like.
It's unfortunate but they will never know how to explain to their peers why they are not capable of doing something, because even those young ladies who can't, seem to find ways to do things, regardless to if she is disobedience of her parent(s). Which brings me back to my point that these teens have no fear of authority. No concern for the consequence of their mother or parent(s) finding out they are doing things they shouldn't be doing. They only want to do things because they are in and popular. They fear being left out more than they do being chastised.
My mother had a hold on me, I feared her raft. As a child and teen I felt that she was omniscient. So, I followed the rules and I allowed her to moderate what I experienced and the rate at which I experienced it. Now don't get me wrong, I did try things, but I was reprimanded, righfully so. But nonetheless, I made sure that I learned it didn't matter what everyone else did, I was responsible for following what she said.
Ultimately it made me a better person. I appreciate it now more than anything because I'm not afraid to be me... I know and love me. I was given an opportunity to be me in the absence of being a "follower". She gave me the tools I needed to be an independent thinker. She loved me in a way that allowed me to love myself.
I fear that these teen girls will not get these experiences, because they want to know more than they should. They want to be exposed to more than they can handle. And unfortunately, our lack of desire to moderate their social media intake hinders their individualism. Our lack of desire to help these young ladies understand the importance of modesty is turning them into damaged, insecure and confused women. Not educating them or loving them enough to tell them to wait their turn because we don't want to "sadden" them, takes away from their innocence.
And it's sad that these teens fear losing the internet more than they do their parents being upset. They are motivated to do things for likes, in search of acceptance. Desiring acceptance from everyone but themselves. But then it's up to us to make sure they understand how to take criticism, and be aware that everyone will not like them, accept them or want to see them succeed. Knowing this gives them the ability to moderate their expectations of others, and learn to seek approval from only themselves. They become independent thinkers. They become women who love themselves, know themselves and value
We have a long way to go to impact change. But we will never impact change if we don't acknowledge how we, as women, fail our daughters.