I didn’t write the FIRST 10 of the following list, but earlier today Bethany reposted it on Facebook and stated that I tell her this stuff every day. It’s true: I say these things to her all of the time, so close in verbiage that I may as well have written this, and I’m not always nice about the way I deliver the message, depending on the circumstances. I did modify a few of the first ten to sound even more like what I’d say. I added 5 more to the list, and will probably add more later as they come to mind, so if you are reading this and find more than 15, that’s why.
My rule with the girls is that both Bethany and Catie have to LISTEN TO my opinions, but are then allowed to make their own choices. I often don’t agree with their decisions, but once I’ve said my piece, they get to use their free will.
Every teen age girl should be regularly told these things by the FATHER FIGURE in her life. Men, you’re important. And you need to make things crystal clear.
15 THINGS TO SAY TO YOUR TEENAGE DAUGHTER/NIECE/GIRL:
- If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys. To be more specific, you will attract the kind of boys that like to look down girls’ shirts. If you want to date a guy who likes to look at other girls’ boobs and chase skirts, then great job; keep it up. If you don’t want to date a guy who ogles at the breasts of other women, then maybe you should stop offering your own breasts up for the ogling. All attention is not equal. You think you want attention, but you don’t. You want respect. All attention is not equal.
- Don’t go to the tanning bed. You’ll thank me when you go to your high school reunion and you look like you’ve been airbrushed and then photoshopped compared to the tanning bed train wrecks formerly known as classmates – well, at least next to the ones that haven’t died from skin cancer.
- When you talk about your friends “anonymously” on Facebook, we know exactly who you’re talking about. People are smarter than you think they are. Stop posting passive-aggressive statuses about the myriad of ways your friends disappoint you.
- Newsflash: the number of times you say “I hate drama” is a pretty good indicator of how much you love drama. Non-dramatic people don’t feel the need to discuss all the drama they didn’t start and aren’t involved in.
- “Follow your heart” is probably the worst advice ever.
- Never let a man make you feel weak or inferior because you are an emotional being. Emotion is good; it is nothing to be ashamed of. Emotion makes us better – so long as it remains in it’s proper place: subject to truth and reason.
- Smoking is not cool. Neither are tattoos. Neither are a bunch of random, “I want attention so badly” piercings.
- Stop saying things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.” First of all, that’s not true. And second of all, if it is true, you need a perspective shift. Your reputation matters – greatly. You should care what people think of you.
- Don’t play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention. Don’t pretend something is too heavy so that a boy will carry it for you. Don’t play dumb to stroke someone’s ego. Don’t bat your eyelashes in exchange for attention and expect to be taken seriously, ever. You can’t have it both ways. Either you show the world that you have a brain and passions and skills, or you don’t. There are no damsels in distress managing corporations, running countries, or managing households. The minute you start batting eyelashes, eyelashes is all you’ve got.
- You are beautiful. You are enough. The world we live in is twisted and broken and for your entire life you will be subjected to all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough: You are not thin enough. You are not tan enough. You are not smooth, soft, shiny, firm, tight, fit, silky, blonde, hairless enough. Your teeth are not white enough. Your legs are not long enough. Your clothes are not stylish enough. You are not educated enough. You don’t have enough experience. You are not creative enough.
There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, and unfortunately a pornography industry: and all of these have unique ways of communicating to bright young women that you are not beautiful, sexy, smart or valuable enough. You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true. None of it. You were created for a purpose. You have innate value. You are loved more than you could ever comprehend; it is mind-boggling how much you are adored. You make MY life a brighter place. There has never been, and there will never be another you. Therefore, you have unique thoughts to offer the world. They are only yours, and we all lose out if you are too fearful to share them. You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
- Wanting to be desired is normal. Wanting to have sex is normal. There is nothing wrong with these things. God made you with these drives. But you are not an animal. Giving in to these desires robs you. Anything that you have to fight for is valuable. Fight for your purity and you’ll have a treasure to give to the man of your dreams, when he comes along and marries you.
- You’re not likely to find said “man of your dreams” at your age. I know teenage emotions lead you to believe you’ve found him every other week, but you haven’t. Just trust me on this. How many adults do you know who have married a person they dated at your age? Yes, there are some, but they are in the extreme minority. It is very rare for you to find “the one” while you’re still in high school.
- Who wants to be boyfriend number 753? How special is that? STOP DATING just to be like everyone else, simply able to say you have a boyfriend. Wouldn’t it be so much better to be able to tell the eventual man of your dreams, “I’ve been fighting so hard for you, without even knowing you yet!” THAT would be romantic. I’ll tell you this: being just the next in a line of a bazillion boyfriends is NOT romantic. At all. Stop smirking.
- Normal is overrated. Decide not to be so self-conscious. Be your silly self. I get to see it here at home, your sister gets to see it here at home, members of our family get to see it. The world is really missing out if they don’t get to know the real you. It’s okay to be goofy. Your goofiness is extremely heartwarming and endearing.
- Go change. Yes, I know this repeats number 1, but apparently you need me to repeat it. What you are wearing shows way too much of you. No, I am NOT saying you’re a slut and do NOT ever think I’m saying anything remotely close to that. Remember, I said it’s okay to want to be desired, but also remember this: NOBODY DESERVES TO SEE THAT MUCH OF YOU! You are a Princess. The common man doesn’t get to see a princess like that. Only your prince should see you like that.
- Yes, Catie, we butt heads all the time. This doesn’t mean I dislike you in any way. Remember when I mentioned that the harder a person has to work at something, the more value it holds? That applies to our relationship. No matter how much we’ve been arguing or how frustrated I seem to be with you, never doubt that I LOVE YOU. I wouldn’t fight so hard for you if I didn’t.