As I get further into the life of raising a teenager, there is a lot of things that come to mind. For instance, while I feel I raised her pretty darn well and so far she has a great head on her shoulders and doesn’t fall prey to peer pressure, there are some things I wish I had taught her. I covered the basics like using your manners, folding laundry, washing dishes, being a kind soul and learning how to read a person based on energy to determine if they are good or bad. I raised her to have hope beyond anything else and to know that hope sometimes is all we have to move forward and remain positive. Sure I taught her a lot that I am proud of but here are just a few things that I wish I had taught her and hope time has not run out for them.
Chivalry Is Good
For a majority of my daughter’s life I was a single mom. I started off on state assistance as a 21 year old single mom when she was about four months of age. I had no money, I had no job and I wasn’t even sure how I was going to survive, I ended up in subsidized housing and I was on state assistance for a period of time. With that being said, my daughter never learned that chivalry is good. She instead learned that being a strong, independent woman means that men can’t offer anything. That having a man hold the door open for you is a sign of weakness. That having a man do things to help you is a sign of weakness. There are many things about my inability to teach her that chivalry is good due to the circumstances of her upbringing that I now wish I had been able to teach her.
Crying is Okay
For many years I held back tears, if I had to cry I would do so behind closed doors and away from her seeing me cry. This daughter of mine grew up seeing my strengths but rarely my weaknesses. Sure she saw me when I lost patience and she saw me make some mistakes but she rarely saw me cry. I fear that I never showed her that crying is okay and doesn’t make you weak. I find myself now telling her to cry it out, just let those tears flow because while she didn’t grow up seeing me cry much, I did cry a lot. I use crying as a means to move on from emotional situations and it helps refresh my soul. I hope that I am not too late to teach her that crying is a safe way to release emotions.
Getting Help is Okay
I rarely had help with her growing up, this is not to say she didn’t have an involved Dad, for we share custody of her, but when she was with me the idea of me getting help was something I rarely asked for. I am and was more of an independent soul who knew I could do it all, even at the risk of feeling drained. I fear I didn’t teach her that accepting help or admitting defeat is okay and isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, getting help is okay because it shows that you can let go of ego and stubborn pride to get help from those who care about you without judgment.
It’s Okay to Speak Up
As my daughter gets older and I see that I still struggle with this concept for I hate confrontation, I realize that I didn’t teach her it’s okay to speak up respectfully for something you believe to be wrong. If you are in a situation where you feel you should speak up, then do so and do so in a way that doesn’t engage an argument. This is a skill I am still trying to master at 35 years of age, but I hope I have just enough time to be the example to her that she needs to learn how to speak up for herself and defend her rights to adults and peers alike.
There are many things I have taught my daughter that make me proud, there are many things that she has also taught me that make me proud. Being a mom is such a difficult task because you think you are doing things right only to find that you missed out on some moments to teach valuable lessons. It is never too late to try again and to morph these things that you didn’t teach your child into today’s life. If you too are faced with the realization that you didn’t teach your child something that was important, try to set the example now. They will learn best when they see these things in action through you rather than lecturing them about the lessons you never taught.