Marcelle's picture

Generational mistakes

I was brought up by a very controlling mother who gave me close to no affection at all. I hated it, rebelled, took my own decisions, and put up many fights. However the extended family(my parents included) and community helped me keep many values in my life. Let us say I feel proud of myself for having pursued a career and married a very considerate man.
I tried to raise my three children differently...that is to give them affection, confidence and more liberty in decision making. However since my daughter turned 13 I am seeing many traits in myself that I hated in my mother. One of the rules we put with my daughter was that we don't allow dating at this age. We explained that the body grows at a fast rate at this age, but psychologically and emotionally it has not developed enough to form stable and secure relationships. We warned her that many times teenagers who start early relationships end up having to cope with heartbreaks or breaking someone else.
However what I feared happened, and I found out my daughter was 'dating' someone a year older than her. Although she had planned to tell me, untl the day I found out she had denied she liked that person.
The incident broke our trust in her, especially mine. I became afraid and started limiting the type of environment I had allowed her to be in. I did explain that this was not a punishment for what she had done, but because what happened showed that she could not handle it. I took her mobile for 3 months and she was not allowed on the PC for 3 months also. Again this was not as a punishment, but because the guy used these gadgets to get through to her and get response. I got to know he had been trying for a very long time, but our methods of simply talking to our daughter did not work.
I spoke to him and his parents and yold him we don't allow our daughter to date at this age. I am very convinced about this. I have been taking psychology courses this year and I am even more convinced about the dangers of early dating.
We parents can't expect perfection or total understanding. However we are truly the keepers of our children, even before the law and society. My role is not just to watch over them because I love them, but to be responsible socially for them. it is a bit like driving. You can do all things perfectly right, but cars can come crashing into you, sometimes without fault, other times because of irresponsibility. I'm not going to let anyone's child experiment on my daughter and that person must know he will be in trouble with us if they don't respect our family. If my daughter rebels or hates me for it, or rejects me, that is not going to prevent me from being a socially responsible parent. I have to find alternative methods to get through to her, but I cannot forsake ny God-given responsibility.
I am a Christian and I pray a lot for my children. Sometimes it just helps me to open my heart and mind, and to be a creative parent who finds ways of sowing good seeds in their life. I read an article yesterday on this site that said that to improve relationship a parent can show tolerance, be open, practice humility, abandon self defense and employ a giving mode. These were words I was looking for, and they sent me going to sleep already thinking of positive things I can do. Sometimes we only tackle problems. It is like a manager who is always solving problems. Sometimes workers need fresh air, they need a manager who comes with a positive creative plan. I lead a music team in our church. They come from 6 different nations and sometimes it is hard to communicate effectively. Lately I started looking up resources for team building. I came up with some funny fun games. Doesn't look professional, but in fact it is actually building our team and laying foundation for more understanding, where people are quicker to forgive and more open to understand.
What I need to work on personally is not to let the effect of my what happened with my mother take a toll on how I relaste with my daughter.
Any ideas?

2xstepmom's picture

You are doing the right thing. Your daughter may be upset with you now but at 13 is too young to know the repercussions of having a boyfriend at such a young age. Your chosen consequences are appropriate, though allowing any child under 16 to have a mobile phone and unsupervised access to a computer should not be allowed at all.

When my now 25 y/o daughter was a young teen, many of her peers were allowed to have boyfriends and "date" when she was not allowed to do so until 18 years of age. We had many open discussions about our reasoning and we were fortunate she chose to comply with our rules. As she got older, she saw her peers begin to engage in risky behaviors and some became pregnant. She then saw the reasoning behind our rules and thanked me for protecting her. You are so right that our job as parents is to protect our children from harm.

acitez's picture

A cell phone with parental controls is good. I seem to remember that you can restrict the numbers the child can call and the numbers that can call the child.

I'm curious, what do you mean by "dating?"

kryan8574's picture

This is the first time that I have logged onto this website and when I read what you wrote, I completely understood what you said about the controlling mother. I am a mother of a 18 and 21 year old boys. And to this day and always, I never wanted to be like my mother. She had traits in her that I never wanted, and I told myself that I would never, ever do that to my children. Funny thing is, that when you mentioned that it is genetically inside of you, for some reason, it is still there. The one thing that I have changed is I tell my boys, still living at my house is that "I love them" every, every single night, because that is something that I didnt't hear when I grew up. To me that means a lot! I am having problems with my boys now, but they are manageable. My oldest son has seizures which are under control. My younger son has a job, finally found a girlfriend, not so sure if that is a good thing, because he's getting defiant, but then again, it's the controllig mother in me that I didn't want to ever be. I'm a younger mother and I want to change! So, I understand what you're saying. Please stay in thee for the long haul, just like we all try to.