Now let me start this off by saying that I am not a parent.
But….I thought it would be interesting for you parents out there to hear from the child’s perspective just what helps make us well adjusted, confident women. I can only speak from a girl’s perspective, although I think these things apply to the boys in reverse order.
Just to give you a little background, I grew up in a two parent home until I was eleven and my parents separated and divorced. That time was a rocky period but it’s the times before and after that have shaped me into the woman I am today.
First let me speak to the dad’s out there, because truly it’s not all a woman’s job to raise the kids, your input is just as important if not more so. Girls by nature are usually daddy’s girls (this makes my mom sooo jealous 🙂 hi mommy!) unless their dad is not around, and in the forming of that bond is where little girls begin to understand what male affection is.
My dad used to take me out on dates, buy me gifts (on holidays/birthdays and just because), wash and do my hair (yes I said wash AND do, like the little twists and barrettes and all!), cook (he did all the cooking actually, and my mom didn’t mind since she doesn’t particularly like to), helped me with my homework, told me I was beautiful (even though we had our silly name calling game always running) and walked me home from pre-school when he could have driven. Over the years, that care my dad showed me has never stopped, some, well most would call that being spoiled and I humbly agree that I am spoiled!
Now, I was never that spoiled rotten child that fell on the floor and had tantrums and demanded things go my way because my parents weren’t having it for one and two because my dad usually took the time to talk me off whatever limb I thought I was about to climb out on. My dad is unusually patient. In his mind he did the things his dad never did for him and his siblings, to me, he did what every dad should be doing. He used to tell me I didn’t need a boyfriend because I had him (insert eye roll) as a child, and the things he did were what any man I ever dated should be doing as I got older.
Well, let me tell you it stuck! Some may say I’m picky but I call it having big shoes to fill. Think about it, if your child knows what being treated well feels like they are less likely to want to deal with someone who treats them like trash.
Now on to the moms! Dads may teach us how we should be treated, but moms teach us how to treat ourselves and also how we should be treated.
My mom is what you would call a girly girl, I am too to a certain extent. We went to the hair salon every two weeks, we had closets full of clothes and shoes, drawers full of underwear and bras, perfumes and lotions galore, and the highest thread count sheets that felt like heaven. My friends would come over and look around in awe. To them I had a lot of stuff and really nice stuff at that, to me it was normal because that is just how it was in my house. Our entire house was nice! Even though my mom could get a little cray-cray about it looking like a showpiece and making sure the pillows were constantly fluffed (insert eye roll) we always had nice things.
That carried over to my life as I grew older, there is a certain standard that I live by because it is what I am used to and what I grew up with. I learned the value of self-care. I am always making sure I look and smell good and keep my surroundings as nice as possible, because ladies those things have an affect on your mental well-being whether you know it or not.
On top off all of this my mom used to tell me I was beautiful and do all of the same things my dad did. This only reinforced in my mind that I was beautiful and deserving of all of the things that I got on a regular basis and wanted. You may think I’m spoiled after having read up to this point but my mom is worse than me! My dad spoiled me but he also spoiled her just as much. So I knew it wasn’t a scam! All of the things that my dad did for me, he did for her as well and she accepted no less! Little girls pay attention to that. You can tell us all day long what we should and should not accept, but when we are getting the proof of it, through your actions, it makes it real to us.
I had a boyfriend in high school and unbeknownst to him, he was about to get exed (by my mom) if he didn’t show up with two gifts at Christmas time, one for my birthday (December 23rd) and one for Christmas. I literally died laughing when he came downstairs on Christmas (since I already had my birthday gift) and my mom said: Good he has a gift bag, he was getting left if he came down empty handed!
Even though my parents divorced, they still did all of the same things for me like when we all lived together. They were consistent. Both my parents tell me often how much they love me, how proud they are of me, and even how they wish they could be more like me. But what they don’t realize is that they are the reason I am who I am. They’ve given me so much love and affection and praise that I am more confident in who I am. Don’t get me wrong, they can BOTH be royal pains, but I am super appreciative of the parents I have and wouldn’t change them for the world (even though I do try to give them away when they are being pains ;-)).
Parents love your children like you want to be loved. If you didn’t get it as a child, give it to your child, because I’m sure you know how it feels to not have it. I am not saying overdo it and make them spoiled rotten, but there is a balance that works best, just figure out what that is for you and your kids.
Be consistent, be patient, be an example, don’t be afraid to say no (I mean it, this kept me grounded), and watch how they grow.