Raising Daughters

To be honest, raising a daughter is something I never thought I'd be doing when I married Island Dad. He comes from a family with two or three generations of mostly boys. Some girls, but very few. Most women in the family have married in, like myself.

When I first became pregnant with Island Girl, I was immediately quite positive she would be a girl. I never could refer to her as anything other than "she." Of course, given the odds, I was also somewhat certain that I would be corrected at the ultrasound, and be told that she was a boy. Obviously, my motherly intuition was correct, and we were told that she was, indeed, a girl.

With finding out that she was a girl came a moment over dinner when Island Dad went as completely white as he can, and said "Ughhhh....she's going to DATE some day!" Of course, he remembered what it was like to be a teenage BOY [insert knowing look here].

Her birth and now developing personality have brought out a fairly different set of worries in me. While Island Dad remembers what teenage boys are like, I, unfortunately, remember what teenage GIRLS are like. I have, in my head, a list of things I want for her when she hits that age. It looks something like this:
  • To be as free from "drama" as possible.
  • To have good, close friends, who are supportive, not back-stabbing (note that I was fortunate enough to have such friends!)
  • To understand that not only is it acceptable, but it is BETTER to be a "smart" girl.
  • To understand that it is completely unacceptable to dumb yourself down. For anyone.
  • To learn to balance a social life and also academic life.
  • To know that even when it doesn't seem so, Island Dad and I want what is best for her, and we support her.
Of course, I want things like this for Island Boy, as well (particularly those last two). But it seems to me that many of these things are very specific to adolescent girls. What bothers me is that I honestly don't think I have the slightest idea of how to help her attain these goals. 

Yes, I realize that her teenage years are far in the future, but I'm sure that 13 will be here before I'm ready (and the teenage attitude may show up even earlier than that). I'm also sure that teaching her these things has to start before she hits that point.

Advice, please? 

Because it is hard to imagine this sweet, happy baby turning into that teenager!


  1. Well, I obviously have not raised a teenager, but here are a few things my mom did that I think helped me to be a better than average tween/teen. Of course I still could be a brat and get into trouble but I think I came out alright on the other end.

    -My mom was very vigilant in the media we (me & siblings) consumed. Only the oldies station or news in the car. Only PBS until my sister was in grade school (this meant no Full House for poor socially awkward Grace). I also didn't see The Little Mermaid until many years after its release at a friend's sleepover. I was DYING to see the movie but my mom wouldn't let me. She didn't want her daughter to get the message that you aren't a 'real' woman until you are kissed by a boy. I may not get 80's pop culture references but not watching TV sure left a lot more time for homework and free reading.
    -I always had a 'back to school clothing budget' I could spend it however I wanted, but once it was gone, it was gone. This taught budget, frugality, and I couldn't even try to keep up with the popular kids.
    -Starting when I was 14 and my sister was 10 we each had one weeknight assigned to cook dinner (and do the associated dishes). It had to include a veggie and couldn't be pizza or mac&cheese. After a few months it was decided only one kid could do pasta a week. This got us all to sit down and eat as a family, taught all three of us (bro included) cooking basics and to plan ahead (need to request ingredients the weekend before so grocery shopping could be done and time management).
    -Keep her from making friends with a trouble maker like Island Dad.

    However you end up raising the Island Kids will be right for you and your family. There will be bumps and friends/bf/gfs you don't like, but with you two as parents, they'll come out alright on the other end.

  2. Yes, but Grace, clearly the efforts at keeping you from making friends like Island Dad failed ;-D Any tips on working around that one? lol

    On the whole, that sounds like excellent advice. Island Boy does watch TV, and so Island Girl does see some, even now (more than the brother did at her age). But it's limited to things containing a specific furry red puppet. And that's about all he has any interest in now. I'll keep it that way for awhile. I listen to the litany of shows his friends/peers like, and am so, SO glad that he's only been interested in the one show. We've also all been watching a lot less TV since our arrival on the Island. We kind of stopped while we were en route to here, and that broke us all of the habit. Even I only watch maybe one show during nap time, and Island Dad and I will watch an hour-ish of whatever after they go to bed.