Thursday, November 11, 2010
WEEK 25 QUOTE 25
"My father died when I was three, leaving my mother to raise three kids on her own. My mother was adamant about raising her kids to be independent, self-sufficient members of society. . .
My mother would punctuate each comment with the reminder that she had to figure it out after my father died. She did not want her children to face the same fate . . . She felt cheated because he had left so soon. I knew. . . that my mother had filled me with her anger and sadness over losing my father. I realized I had never been told by my mother what to expect from a man, so all this time I had been flying blind.
What about these women who had to grow up hearing complaints that their father was never around. What about these mothers who have faced a bitter divorce? Are they projecting all their drama on their kids as well? Has this created a generation of hurt, angry women who only know how to be single?. . . ."
"Mothers Raising Girls to be Single" : Audrey Irvine. May 6 2010.
This post is PART 4 of "WHAT DAUGHTERS NEED FROM THEIR MOTHERS".
4. EQUIPPING FOR THE FUTURE.
A. Attitude to Men
Audrey Irvine's account describes how her mother's experience and attitude towards her husband, affected Audrey's attitude to men. Later in this article she speaks of the change in her attitude to men that came three weeks before her mother's death, when she talked at length about her husband's great humor and good nature. For the first time Audrey realized her mother's fears, caused by the loss of her husband as a young mum, had affected how she represented men to her daughter. Mum's fears and disappointments had been transferred to daughter Audrey.
A mother sends clear information to her daughter about the importance, the value and her personal attitude about men. It is communicated through her actions, her words, her looks, her behaviour, her priorities towards her husband, her sons, and men and boys who regularly are a part of their life.
These sometimes subtle, unconscious actions are powerful directives to a watching daughter.
Of course there are times when all husbands disappoint, irritate or annoy their wives, just as we do likewise to them. The point is as Audrey Irvine made, that as mothers we need to be sure to communicate to our daughter, the full picture of who their father is. The constant put-down, criticism and registration of irritation through body language, facial expressions, behaviour and words, give a complete negative about men to our daughters. (You may like to read William Leith's comments on dads being represented in children's literature as hopeless and useless, in my post "Absent Fathers" WEEK 14 QUOTE 14)
Daughters need to see, hear and observe the full story of who their dad is through our reactions to him, which form her future attitude to men in general.
If you find you are prone to too much criticism of your daughter's father, you can work at adding a true positive comment about him to the conversation.
B. Flexibility for Multi - 'Occupations'
Women of most cultures through out history have lived through the changing sequence of 'occupations' or 'seasons'. A woman's life does not stand still. Along with these changing occupations, her life has several parts or strands simultaneously moving along, merging and diverging all at the same time. Some women are very successful in living a full, busy and humming-along lifestyle, while others of us feel it is more like a chaotic traffic-jam.
How can a mother equip her daughter to be flexibly prepared for the multi-occupations and the several stranded life that is ahead for her?
It is through teaching life skills to her from childhood and through their teenage years.
~ how to plan, grow, shop for and cook food - from small beginnings to the real deal. . .
~ how to organize, maintain, tidy and clean - a drawer, a cupboard, a room, the house. . .
~ how to learn about a new job, to assist someone doing the job, to independently do the job, to
teach the job to another. . .
~ how to choose, buy, mend, wash and care for clothes. . .
~ how to earn, save, invest, spend and give away money. . .
In teaching these things to our girls, we give them a great asset whatever they become in the future.
The regular practice of multi tasking, the awareness of several things going on at once and learning discernment to decide what IS important or needs attention now, are rare but much-needed skills.
A girl brought up fully involved in real-life jobs and responsibilities of a family, learns such skills.
Here she can practice and develop the flexibility to adjust to the many aspects of her future role as a career woman, a wife, a woman that works, a mother, a voluntary aid worker, a support person, a combination of any of the above and MORE.
C. Learning About Sex.
Generally speaking women seem to be more open in discussing sex with their daughters, than are dads with their sons. Our culture is obsessed with the subject and unfortunately sex seems to be made a part of things that actually have nothing to do with it. As a result the intended beauty of sex is daily being perverted to young and old alike.
As a mother don't leave it all to your daughter's school to do the 'educating' in this important area of life. (If you need reasons why, read my last post, on Modesty WEEK 24 QUOTE 24)
I am personally not incredibly gifted in mathematics, so I would never attempt to educate my daughter in maths without buying a math textbook I felt would equip me to do the task. The same with talking with my daughter about sex.
Here's some suggestions ~
"The Story of Me" : Stan and Brenna Jones
"Before I was Born" : Carolyn Nystrom
"What's the Big Deal" : Stan and Brenna Jones
"Facing the Facts" : Stan and Brenna Jones
All of the books in the ATTITUDE series are great. www.attitude.org.nz
"Sex with Attitude, A Relationship Handbook"
"Hardwired, A Handbook for Growing, Inhaling and Injecting Life"
"Attitude, A Handbook for Your Head"
The book "Ten Talks Parents Must Have with Their Children About Sex and Character" :Pepper Schwartz and Dominic Cappella, seems to be an extremely useful and popular book. It asks parents to identify their own values and views on religion and ethics and then assists you to teach these in the context of sex education with your children.
Whatever you do, DON'T neglect being personally involved in this part of your daughter's life - she needs you there with her. The intimacy and closeness of the subject requires a mum to be prepared to lovingly discuss it with honesty and openness. In the future both you and she will be grateful for the time you invested.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS teach your daughter a new home skill while chatting about dad in a positive way, and if age appropriate you could talk about sex, too.