Thursday, June 30, 2011

Raising a daughter

I was sitting on our front steps with Luca.  She was in her stroller, babbling, playing with a couple toys, looking up at the sky periodically, smiling when the wind would hit her face and make her hair stand up straight. 

I heard kids from down the street.  As they got closer, I saw that they were about high school age.  And one of the guys was yelling at the girl he was with.  Luca noticed them too, very curious about anyone who she can see.  They walked by, and with complete disregard for me sitting with my curious baby, the boy yelled at the girl to "go f*$# yourself, bitch", to which she responded for him to "go f*$#" himself.  Luca looked back and forth from me, to the kids several times.  She is looking at me for reassurance when new people are nearby.  I just smiled at her and distracted her with one of her toys.

After they were out of earshot range, she looked up at me, and while I know she cannot comprehend what I said next, I felt it was necessary to say, "do not ever let a boy say that to you."

It got me thinking about raising a daughter.  I want her to know that boys should be gentlemen, and always treat her with respect.  I want her to know how to stand up for herself to put a boy in his place, but then know better than to ever hang out with him again.  I want her to know, too, that she should treat guys with respect.

I did not always date or hang around the best of guys growing up.  But ultimately, the man I chose to spend my life with, is the epitome of being a gentleman.  I hope she learns from us, and especially from Ian, how she should be treated.  I think it also helps that I was raised to be a strong girl.  I think it partly explains why I have a sharp tongue sometimes.  And it helps that I had a brother who was super overprotective.

But raising a girl to be a strong, independent, classy girl is a tough job today.  And while I know she didn't understand what I told her, I felt it was appropriate to start explaining things to her the second she witnessed that. 

How do you help raise your girls to demand respect?  And how do you teach your sons the same?

1 comment:

  1. I think about that stuff too. There was some article on the Huffington Post that got some flack about a woman who said she conscientiously avoids starting conversations with little girls around their appearance ("You look so pretty!") but instead asks them about their favorite books. She said she is trying to get little girls to realize that they're more than just their looks (or something like that).

    So now it got ME thinking that perhaps I should not emphasize the "pretty" as much as the "smart". (although Jeremy is pushing really hard for AM to be a tomboy so I feel like I need to insert some girliness).


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