I am someone who thinks deeply about things and parenting my two children is no exception.
Everyone says that the teenage years are the most difficult and because my daughter is the first to go through these tender years, I'm finding my footing with her as I go.
As her mother, I've really needed to get clear about my own boundaries as it relates to her choices, requests, and behavior and I strive to parent her while also trying to maintain a sense of perspective when it comes to unintended impact.
For example: I want her to grow up to be a strong woman in the world with a healthy sense of self. I want her to be able to use her voice in all aspects of her personhood without apology AND, be able to clean up her messes when she makes them with others because let's face it people, relationships get messy. So my last sentence might seem contradictory, which is the dance I'm referring to in raising my daughter to be strong, while also a woman of tenderness and compassion for others.
"Strong" as in: take no shit.
"Strong" as in: I use my voice to speak my truth and declare healthy boundaries.
"Strong" as in : I can do anything I set my mind to do and I am a human being with my own mind, body & spirit and with my own individual expression of those.
"Strong" as in: When life gets messy, I am capable of cleaning things up with integrity and heart.
Strong does not mean aggressive or rude or insensitive.
So for me, as her Mother, parenting her is about being very clear about what strength is and what it is not and modeling it to her, with her, and for her, until she gets it.
This morning it was about her using her strongest tone with me and crossing my own personal boundary around how she speaks to me.
Instead, I want her to use that tone when she is a "NO!" to something happening that is not ok. I want her to use that tone when someone is treading on her or on someone else. Her tone this morning was directed at me based on a very full week of balancing school & social engagements & chores and of being overwhelmed while "asking me" to meet her needs around getting a ride somewhere. While I gently reminded her that I was not enjoying how she was speaking to me the first couple of times, It became apparent that I needed to bring more force and clarity to our dialog.
It's important to me that I don't just focus on her losing her tone, because it's IMPORTANT that she keep it strong. My job as her parent is to point out where it should be used and where it should not.
I want my daughter to be a strong women in the world. I want to keep the dragon in her alive and strong so that she knows where to direct her fire. As I see it, my job is to direct her fire, not extinguish it.
Right before she left the house, she apologized, and then later.. a text.