I continued in Georgia Bulldogs daisy flower shirt my persuit of sports and more outdoorsy activities, rather than home-based interests. I have never liked cooking, baking, cleaning, or typically housewife/homemaking types of activities. My mom would frequently make comments to me or about me, such as, if you don’t learn/do XYZ, you’ll never find someone to marry you,” or “how will you ever find a husband if you don’t like to cook/clean/iron, etc.? And for a long time, I felt that I wasn’t worthy of men’s attention and affection, and that I could never be “wife material” to them. Sometimes I entered into or stayed in relationships with men because, how could I be so lucky to find someone willing to love me, when I have nothing to offer that a “good wife” offers her man? Who else would ever want me?
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So growing up, I walked a Georgia Bulldogs daisy flower shirt fine line I remember begging her, just once, to let me go to a school dance alone with just my friends, without her there, and her asking me accusingly, “Why? What are you planning to do that you don’t want me to be there for? Even something as simple as, “Can I start shaving my legs?” at the age of 12 was enough for my mom to question who I was hanging around with and where was I getting these ideas, and maybe I need to find new friends, etc. Mind you, we were/are a typical western family living in the US Midwest in a midsize city- not particularly religious or anything. But these specific, pervasive, and continual comments and behavior by her have had a cumulatively negative effect on my own views of myself as a young adult.
I frequently struggle with feelings of Georgia Bulldogs daisy flower shirt inadequacy, worthlessness, and that I don’t deserve what I have (which, maybe I don’t? What upper-middle-class American really does deserve all they have?). It’s taken me some time to be able to reflect on this aspect of my upbringing and begin to understand and grow from it. At the end of the day, all parents make mistakes- I know I make mistakes in raising my children which they’ll probably have to deal with when they become adults. But if you want my advice, based on my experiences: Parents- dont devalue your children. They need to know that they bring value to the world and their fellow humankind in whatever way they are. There are many more ways to be a worthy person than by simply adhering to standards that define a “good husband” or a “good wife.” They need to know that their dreams are legitimate and that they deserve whatever they work to achieve.
But please, teach every child that they have value. I was not taught this about myself, so it’s so important for me to teach my own kids this now. Raising my autistic daughter taught me many strategies that I used with my non-disabled kids and with my middle school students as a teacher. Rule number one is not to take what they say or do personally. Kids express frustration and anger and sadness and other strong feelings through their behavior and you are the adult and need to react in a logical, rational way without feeling anger and embarrassment for yourself. Focus on behavior. You can’t tell your kids often enough that you love them but their behavior is unacceptable. Then rule two is to constantly do what the pros called “preference assessment.” What do they care about or want? Use that to get the behavior you want.
I have another child who went through every parent’s nightmare of teenage out of control behavior, only to end up in her twenties saying that my tough love was exactly what she needed. Told her over and over that I’d love her no matter what, but would not do anything to enable her bad choices and poor decision-making. When she started turning things around she knew where to turn for support. This is what worked for me. This answer contains insanely graphic material that will disturb some people. I never put trigger warnings in my writing, but in the name of protecting kids from the embrace of hellfire by showing how hot the flames can burn, some of you parents just need to fully grasp what’s out there. They are led by a beautiful young noblewoman beautiful, if not alarmingly childlike in her physical appearance.