Oh moms. What a treasure I have for you today. It strikes at the heart of mentoring for me because two kind blogging friends from Mothering From Scratch (where I was a MOMtor a few weeks back) are addressing an issue I haven’t encountered yet. Bask in their wisdom ladies. Put away any fears. And then store these tips somewhere for when you need them.
by Melinda Means and Kathy Helgemo
Imagine being a fly on the wall in a room filled with teenage boys. We’ve had this experience many times in our homes, minivans and dugouts. Their conversations are at times sweet or horrifying, but always enlightening — especially when they start talking about girls.
As moms to both teenage boys and girls, we’ve received quite an education. The bottom line is this: In the midst of raging male hormones, your girl earn respect from the boys in her life.
Lesson #1: Virtue deserves protection.Please. For as long as you can. We understand that there are limitations to our influence eventually, but let’s fight hard to keep her covered. Don’t let her be like one of my (Kathy) son’s girlfriends who came over to “meet his family” for dinner. By the end of the meal I knew what color bra she was wearing.
Boys are assaulted with images left and right of scantily clad girls and women. Our daughters’ can wield their femininity as a weapon against their own virtue. As moms, we need to make our daughter’s smile the first thing boys notice about her appearance — not her blossoming body.
It’s important to cultivate this mindset from the time they are preschoolers. Our culture will constantly oversexualize them. When my (Melinda) daughter was little, she begged for Bratz dolls. I wouldn’t buy them — or anything similar to them — because I didn’t want to encourage or idealize the image that they projected.
Lesson #2: Men and fathers are valuable. How are we relating to the men in our lives? If we primarily communicate negativity and a dismissive attitude, we undermine her respect for men. Her view of them becomes tainted and expectations become lowered. She’s more likely to accept behavior and treatment from them that is unacceptable.
Lesson #3: Teach them that they are worth being pursued.Trust us when we say that our teenage daughters are not wallflowers. But we’re trying to teach them that there’s a difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Boy-catching type behavior isn’t viewed positively among our sons. They may be flattered by the attention, but they’re not impressed by it.We don’t want our daughters to become the subject of boy conversations about those girls who seem desperate. We’ve overhead this kind of chatter. It’s not pretty.
Lesson #4: High standards command respect. As they get older, our daughters often fight our rules and protection. I (Melinda) have experienced this recently as my daughters’ friends — including boys — have started driving. I’ve embarrassed her more than once with my interrogations. (It’s great practice for the grilling of potential boyfriends.) Our high standards command respect for her company. Too much freedom tells boys her parents don’t care. Our daughters will thank us later that we didn’t hand them over to just anyone.
Lesson #5: You enjoy their company. Our time and willingness to make sacrifices to be with them, speaks volumes. If our daughters feel valued and appreciated in our households, they’re less likely to look for validation and attention outside of it.
Okay, moms, class is over. But, remember, the real work begins once you get home.
Kathy and Melinda met on a Little League baseball field. The coach — Melinda’s kids’ pediatrician — also happened to be Kathy’s husband. They discovered their shared passion for writing, as well as a common desire to serve and encourage other mothers.
Kathy(the redhead)mothers four kids ranging in age from late teens to early elementary years. Melinda (the brunette) is mother to an adorable middle-school-aged son and a beautiful and entertaining teenage daughter.
They blog at http://motheringfromscratch.