Growing up with Love

This is a hard one, isn’t it?  Your daughter is 18 and diving headlong into a situation that you can foresee as difficult if not emotionally dangerous.  What’s a father to do?  The perils of dating older men at this age are frightening to contemplate.

I don’t know the answers…but I have some thoughts…

Your girl prides herself on being a “good kid”.  She believes (probably rightly so) that she has made good decisions for herself as she has matured; that she gives you no reason to distrust her; and that she could and should take charge of her own life.

Scary, I know.  You realize her inexperience.  You have the inside knowledge of the things she HASN’T done, the decisions she has ignored and the overall havoc she can wreak in the lives of those around her by her procrastination and her failure to take responsibility for her own actions.

But she is young.  And she is a good kid.  She wants to do right, she is just trying to discover what “right” is for her.  And so…

I hope you can embrace your finest sense of her history and let her know that you trust her to make good choices.  Pave the way toward being her gentle advisor.  Give her the certainty that she can come to you with ANYTHING knowing that you will respect her decisions if you don’t agree with them and give your honest opinions without being judgmental.  I am confident that the more trust you have in her, the more she will try to live up to that trust; not necessarily by doing what you want, but by living her life in the way that is a pleasure for you to watch.

I hope you can remember that no matter how intelligent she is, no matter what you believe her life should be; that she has the final word on her own path.  She may choose a bumpy side road or she may choose the highway, but either way, that particular choice is out of your hands.

And the older you get, the more you will realize that it is hard to make your own decisions, let alone someone else’s.  If she chooses to be a ski bum, or a rock star, or an environmental attorney, it doesn’t really matter.  It’s who she is, not what she is, that will make you smile in your old age.

I hope you can keep trying to make her believe in herself as a woman.  A deep sense of self-worth is an armor that she can wear throughout her life, shielding her and preparing her for all situations.    It will help her accomplish her life purpose.  Or if her path winds through pain and heartache, she will retain that core of confidence that leads her back to joy and contentment.  (Well, maybe she’ll always be a malcontent.   It’s genetic! 🙂

I hope that you can always be there for her.  I know you want to be.  I know for sure that if you strip away all of the plans, expectations and frustrations, you are left with pure love and acceptance that (after many a long walk and much meditation) will let you be on her side forever.

I’m here.

xxoo

July 11, 2010

Comments

  1. It’s nice to know that some moms out there understand the way you do. I plan on trying to be supportive the way you are for my daughter. I especially have wanted to do so since my own mother cannot grasp that my life is mine to live, and I’m married with a baby on the way and she still tries to direct my life for me. :/ I think a supportive attitude that doesn’t become controlling is essential to building a strong and healthy relationship between parents and children, and to her living a more full life that makes the mother proud. Thank you for sharing.

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