Here's a post from our partners at BabyCenter! Every week, we bring you the best parenting and lifestyle stories from the experts at BabyCenter, including this post from Erin Lane about raising girls.
Last week I wrote about the five things that worry me about raising my son. This week I’m spilling my guts about what scares me about raising my daughter. There is definitely some overlap. Let's face it; parenting is scary whether you have a boy or a girl.
With my daughter, I think I find it more worrisome because I know exactly what I did growing up…and I want her to just skip all that. Pretty please? In reality, I was a pretty good kid, but I drank in high school and that alone has me screaming oh no she won't.
So here it is…the top five things I worry about raising my daughter.
- Body Image: First off, I want to point out that I know boys have body image issues too, but I do worry about it more with my daughter. Fake perfection permeates the media and I know how much she's going to be exposed to. I want her to love her body as it is and to not feel that it's too big or too small. I remember feeling fat in early high school and taking diet pills just to see what they would do. I don't want that for her. I want her to be comfortable in her own skin and will do my best to help her feel that way.
- Puberty: Oh lawdy me! I read Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret in 4th grade so I know what's coming at me. The whole first menstruation, buying a bra, shaving her legs, needing deodorant, skin problems era is taunting me already and E. just turned one. I worry that it'll happen too early or too late. I worry about the hormones and the impending attitude. I worry about boys (or girls!) taunting her if it doesn't happen exactly along the lines of everyone else. I worry about the icky men who started cat calling me when I was in middle school. It all just plain frightens me. I don't know how my mom did it alone with two of us.
- SEX!: Puberty inevitably leads to sex — learning about sex, talking about sex, thinking about sex and (god forbid) having sex. While I prefer to believe my daughter will stay chaste forever, I know that is simply not the case. I pray that my husband and I do a good job in teaching her self-respect and understanding the consequences of her actions. I pray she only encounters nice boys, who will respect what she wants and doesn't want. I pray that if she has questions and is ever unsure, that she feels safe enough to come and talk with me. I pray that whenever her first time comes, that it's on her terms and is based purely on love.
- Mean Girls: Uggggg! This may be my top worry. I've been here. I think every woman alive can associate with being both a mean girl and having experienced a mean girl. I have certainly been both. I don't know why it happens, but it seems to be happening earlier and earlier. I thought mean girls started in middle school but a friend today actually said she's seen it with six-year-olds. A best friend suddenly doesn't like you anymore. You're ostracized from the school lunch table with no warning. A group of girls deems you unworthy. I hate that this is coming. I just want to wrap my arms around my sweet girl and tell her she will always be loved, she will always be beautiful no matter what anyone else says. I wish what I said was all that mattered, but we are quickly coming upon the days when that won't be true. I want her to stay sweet, to be friendly to everyone. I'm being unrealistic I know, but one can hope.
- Peer Pressure: This one encompasses all of the above. No matter the situation my daughter finds herself in, I want her to be comfortable enough in her own skin to stand up for what she believes in. I want her to feel OK being the odd ball out (that's a tall order, I know!) I definitely caved to the pressure on a few occasions and know she will too. But I want her to know that most of her friends will be just as uncomfortable as she is..no matter the situation. And sometimes, it just takes one person to say "no thank you" to give the rest of the crowd permission to say the same. I hope I raise that child. If not, that's ok too. She'll live and learn, but I hope that I can give her that confidence in herself.
BabyCenter has some great tips for raising a confident girl. Check them out and tell me what worries you. We can commiserate together.
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