Rules for Parents of Daughters

I realized when I wrote my sons' piece earlier this week I titled it Rules for Mothers of Sons.  I was so wrong to just single out mothers.  These rules are for all parents.  Sorry, dads, you don't get a pass.  Kids need as much guidance as they can get!

Tonight I went out with the girls and I told them I was going to write this post so they helped me come up with some good ones!  Thanks, girls!

So here we go:  PIWTPITT 25 Rules for Parents of Daughters (because as I was making this list it seemed to me that I can screw up my daughter easier than my son so I needed more rules):

1.  Teach your daughter to be strong and give no fucks.





2.  Teach your daughter to talk about her feelings - not eat them or purge them.  Or if she doesn't want to talk, teach her to express her feelings through writing, art, music, sports, etc.  Anything but food or drugs.

3.  Teach your daughter to work with what she's got and love what she's got.  Tall, short, fat, thin, your daughter is beautiful - inside and out.  Make sure you tell her all the time and make sure she believes it.  




4.  Teach your daughter to like and respect herself and demand respect from those around her.  She might end up lonely at times, but at least she won't be a doormat.

5.  Teach your daughter that "duck face" photos are never appropriate and never attractive.


6.  Teach your daughter to value herself enough to defend herself - physically and verbally.  Let your daughter watch "The Burning Bed."  She'll never forget it and she'll always know she has "options" if she finds herself in an abusive relationship.

7.  Teach your daughter to go easy on the plastic surgery.

8.  Teach your daughter to be strong and confident in her abilities and not be afraid of failure.  Teach her that sometimes she will fail, but she can't let that fear stop her from trying something.



9.  Teach your daughter that has the right to get loud.  Make sure she knows girls can get angry, they can have opinions and they can throw "lady like" behavior out the window if necessary.



10.  Teach your daughter to never text/email/snail mail naked photos of herself to anyone.  Ever.  Ever.  Ever.

11.  Teach your daughter what a douche canoe is so she can avoid them.

12.  Teach your daughter to never steal her best friend's boyfriend.  That's just a real skank move.  What is it that our mothers always told us?  "Boys come and go, but girlfriends are forever."  Still true.

13.  Teach your daughter that having her underwear and half her ass hanging out the back of her jeans is not attracting anyone substantial nor does it make her look smart - even in the library.


14.  Never let your daughter wear clothing with sexually inappropriate "cutesy" sayings.

Her shirt says "Hooters' Girl in Training." Nice job, parents. You suck.

15.  Teach your daughter that smart girls get further in life than slutty girls.

16.  Teach your daughter to walk away from the teen magazines.  There is so much pressure put on young girls these days to look pretty or hot it's nauseating.


 859 Ways to Get Pretty for Summer and Look Hot in a Bikini??  Really?  How about 859 Tips to Ace the SATs! or 100 Books We Love! or 252 Ways to Succeed in Life Without Using Your Boobs!  ??

17.  Don't let your 9 year old dancer look like a 25 year old Pussycat Doll.



18.  Teach your daughter that bigger boobs aren't necessarily a good thing.



19.  Don't let your daughter marry young.  Encourage her to get out and see the world, live on her own and figure out who she is and what she wants in a partner before she settles down.

20.  Teach your daughter that there's nothing wrong with staying home on a Friday night and reading a good book, but try to get her to read more than just Chick Lit.  Give her The Gift of Fear.  This book really empowers women to spot danger signals.  Unfortunately in the world we live in, this is an important gift to have.

21.  Teach your daughter to beat the boys at their own games.

22.  Teach your daughter to be able to laugh at herself and have a sense of humor.  There are so many women I meet that say they have a sense of humor, but they really don't.


23.  Teach your daughter that the "Queen Bees" and "Wanna Bees" and "mean girls" are a waste of time and she should just invest in one or two great friends.

24.  Don't allow her to pierce or tattoo her body until she's on her own.

25.  Teach your daughter that her choices in life are limitless.  She really can do anything - except maybe use the Men's Restroom.

I know there are more, so let's hear them!

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457 comments:

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lenwood said...

Be careful if you throw "lady like" behavior out the window.

At that point, you are subject to the same repercussion's as a man.

Becki M. said...

To be true to yourself, never lie about yourself or try to make yourself what you think people want, even if you are gay, you should always be true to that. If others can't understand that or choose to be close-minded, it's their problem, not yours. You should always be true to yourself and not worry what others think, it's your happiness that matters, not theirs.

lenwood said...

Boys are confident in being boys. That is why they have little interest in playing or beating girls at their own games.

Be confident, proud and secure in being who you are....a girl!

chick said...

Do not offer unsolicited grammatical advice in the comment section pertaining to a blog intended for entertainment. It’s indicative of self-centered thought and alienates the audience.

People will be offended by your pious attitude and find your criticisms to be self-indulgent.

For example, your response to this blog. (Yes, I am aware that this is a fragment and not a complete sentence.)

Seriously?

amy said...

totally agree!!!!
I lived with two girls when I was in my 20's and they wanted to call maintenance because the power went out to half the apt ( both had been running blow dryers, tv's, the bathroom fan... etc)
they had never thought to look for a fuse box and had no idea what to do when I told them where to look. haha
I had to learn basic car repairs and maintenance before I was allowed to drive off on my own.
you have to. sitting in your car on your cell waiting for a man to come rescue you bc you haven't checked your oil in 3 years is not realistic now a days. and it's certainly NOT CUTE

Becki M. said...

I have "weak" ankles, have always had them, and have never been able to wear "stiletto's" for the safety of my own feet and ankles. While I agree you should not go barefoot, wearing flats or low heels is fine.

amy said...

being stupid is NOT CUTE.
watch the news. Keep up with global and local events.
Learn to drive a stick Learn to change a tire and check your oil. Learn basic household maintenance.

Have your own tool box and know how to use the items inside! Use the internet to find out how to do something instead of just waiting for him to get home to take care of it for you

lenwood said...

Yes. Seriously.

maarmie said...

Found out 2, 4, 6, 9 and 20 the hard way. Wish I had had someone to teach me. Will def be teaching my own daughter!

lenwood said...

Because my daughter's class work is always full of I's.

It's a result of todays social media and the 'Me Generation'; My Space, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

It's good advice and her school writing is greatly improved and it will be rewarded when she is an adult.

maarmie said...

You said it!

Danny said...

I just want to say how much I love your blog! Thank you for expressing so many of the same things I think everyday in raising my own children. And thank you for teaching me my new favorite phrase: Douche Canoe :D

Morna Crites-Moore said...

I like your list but I don't understand why #11 on the Raising Boys list isn't also found on this list -- it's the rule regarding Legos. Legos are for EVERYBODY. :-)

chick said...

Then I would have to add:

People who believe they have the right to criticize someone’s work in a public forum based on their daughter's elementary/middle/high school homework will always fall under the category of douche canoe.

SMV1216 said...

So it's okay for your daughter to do the exact thing that you find wrong that the boy did?... How about "they are unisex?"

Leanna said...

Teach your daughter to make declarative sentences. “Up Talking” is not only annoying, but it gives the impression you are insecure or unsure of what you are saying. Not everything needs to be a question and you don’t need to seek approval for simply having a thought/opinion.

lenwood said...

And the daughter and wife think of that person as a loving and caring father who spends time helping his kids with their homework.

And THOSE are the only opinions that matter.

Not those of a bitter, thin skinned internet poster who cannot tell the difference between a comment and a criticism.

lrm87 said...

Omg, I couldn't agree more either. There are too many women with that handshake. It literally makes me quake shaking hands like that. I have to fight down the feeling of needing to wipe my hands off directly after shaking their hand and I have to make an effort NOT to have a facial reaction to it. I HATE THAT, lol. I grew up going to church 3-4 times a week, in a small church full of old people... they practically BREAK YOU HAND if you don't grip back.. best lesson I ever learned in that particular church group.. LOL!!!!

lenwood said...

They are! And both young and old too. :)

Sara C said...

I had children young. I got married right out of high school and two years later we had our first child. I wouldn't change my husband or my babies for ANYTHING in the world, but I do think a lot of heart ache that we've gone through could have been avoided if I had been older and had the chance to live on my own. I would have been more rounded out as a person and had more to add to my marriage as far as being responsible and such(though I don't regret at all not being sexual experienced. I'm glad my hubbub was my first and I was his!). I definitely want my girls to be independent and live life a little before settling down!

Kristy G. Manes said...

Allow your daughter to know that sometimes, moms ARE wrong, and do not be afraid to apologize when you're mistaken as a mom!

Kate said...

Kick ass post

Krysti said...

I agree with all of those. As a daughter (and not a mom), I am eternally grateful that my parents did each and every one of those things. I'm pretty content with how I turned out ;)

And a BIG thank you for the dance rule. Growing up as a competitive dancer, my studio was on the conservative side when it came to routines and costumes...we rarely ever had our middles showing, whereas it seemed every other dancer we saw did. You wouldn't BELIEVE the things we saw two-year-olds in! I never understood how parents would be okay with that. It's not like it helps dancing at all; we were successful without having to show a ton of skin. It doesn't help anything!

Rebecca said...

Great post! I would like to just offer two suggestions, in a helpful and pro-girl spirit.

First, might you consider deleting the phrase, "That's just a real skank move"? That's slut-shaming language, which reinforces the double standards for male and female sexuality.

Your point that boys come and go, but girlfriends are forever, is strong and smart, all on its own! :)

Second, for the same reasons, might you also rethink the phrase, "Teach your daughter that smart girls get further in life than slutty girls"? Though it's uncomfortable to think about, girls can be sexual AND smart.

So, perhaps you really meant something like this: "Teach your daughter that girls who prioritize smarts get further in life than girls who prioritize boys."

I don't mean to criticize; the language we use around our daughters is just so important, and parents should never, ever slut-bash around our girls. Otherwise, they may not come to us for help when they're considering becoming sexually active! It's a REALLY important door to keep open.

Anyhow, you've raised SUCH important points. Keep the conversation going!!!

http://rebeccahains.wordpress.com

Haddayr said...

26. Teach your daughters not to slut-shame each other, even though the author of this list just did! Smart is not the polar opposite of slutty.

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughter to be a prude entitled bitch, awesome advice. Have fun raising the little she-devil that following these rules will create.

Liana Brooks said...

I'll disagree with #19. It's not age, it's experience. I married my husband a few months before I turned 20, we've been together 10 years now (still happily married - now with 4 kids).

By every legal definition, I was young. So was he at 20. But we'd also moved out of our parents' homes several years previously, had our own apartments, we were financially independent, and we both knew what we wanted.

If you know what you want, it doesn't matter what age you are. You just need to know what you really want out of life. :o)

Unknown said...

the other impression it gives me (besides disrespect) is that the person giving it is possibly a total wimp.

Cassandra Vert said...

For kids of both genders:

Take chances, get dirty, make mistakes, fail spectacularly. How big you eventually succeed is directly proportional.

Don't be afraid of swear words, but don't swear so much that the size of your vocabulary comes under suspicion.

Marnie said...

Teach your daughters how to use tools. Power tools, hand tools, all of them.

Give them basic skills in carpentry, plumbing, electrical.

Being able to fix pretty much anything in my house is very empowering.

And yes, you can be handy and feminine.

Unknown said...

I think all the OP was saying is that you can weigh 130 lbs and be chubby with no muscle, or you can weigh 130 lbs and be in shape. You'll be significantly smaller with the muscular build, even though the scale will tell you that you haven't lost any weight. The weight itself isn't as significant to your appearance as whether your body is made of muscle or fat.

C.A.H. said...

Tell your Daughter that the saying "Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free is STILL true" So quit giving it away! Have self respect and self control. And The Only Man that will forever love her an be true to her is Jesus. John 3:16.

Joy Page Manuel said...

This is all so true! I only have a son but I'm hoping that daughters his age would all learn from this and that my son would have the sensibility to choose those daughters who went by this list! Wise words, bravo!!

Lisa said...

Hubby & I married when I was 21 and he was 25. Sometimes I think I would have liked to wait... then I think what for? 10 years, 2 kids, and a dog later and we're still head over heels.

Marty said...

Teach your daughter that intelligence is sexy.

The Mix Mistress said...

We broke a METAL bedframe. When I was 6 months pregnant. Totally possible even if hubs isn't a vampire lol. Some people LIKE rough sex-it's kinda refreshing to see someone *not* just "making love" in a movie but getting downright violent. I think that should be on the list. Let your daughter know that she's not "weird" for her sexual preferences-sex between two consenting adults is not "weird" even if someone's tied up and getting smacked with a riding crop.

Soup Maniac said...

I'm glad you are taking parents to task for their kids' inappropriate behaviors, but I take issue with using the word "slutty" and teaching daughters they are not allowed to use the men's restroom (though I am hoping the latter is because you would call transgender male children "sons" instead of "daughters") because the #1 rule should be that all children deserve to be loved by their parents no matter what & relating inappropriate behavior/image to sex work, which many well-loved well-educated well-adjusted people all over the world engage in, reinforces the idea that there are some professions that make some people less deserving of unconditional love or respect. I'm sure sex workers have family too...

Soup Maniac said...

Yes, exactly! Love should be unconditional.

sdg1535 said...

Could not agree more! When I got my first car my parents made sure I know how to fix it if I had to. I can do all minor repairs as well as basic maintenance, lot cheaper in the long run.
Also was taught at a young age how to house repairs. My fiance still laughs when he comes home and I have the whole sink pulled apart to fix a leak and I'm under the kitchen cabinets. Its empowering to know I'm not helpless and have to rely on someone all the time. Unless of course there is a big hairy spider, I have been know to call my old neighbor to come over and get rid of it.

reilly3o said...

My 5 ft Grandmother from Ireland taught me how to give a firm handshake when I was very young. Even when she was 91 years old, she still checked to see if I was doing it right. She was a woman before her time back then in Ireland. She taught me so much!

sdg1535 said...

Amen and learn how to use a chain saw properly. If you ever buy a home surrounded by trees this is vital!

Becky Fyfe said...

Teach her that if she wants soemthing, she has to do something about it and not sit around waiting for it to just happen.

Teach her that standing up for her beliefs and standing up for other people who need a champion feels great and will help her to feel even stronger in herself.

Becky Fyfe said...

Oh and with the one that reads "don't let your daughter marry young." - sometimes, we don't get the choice. If our 18 year old daughter decideds she's going to get married no matter how much we object to it, she's going to - because we taught her to be strong and independent. Tha doesn't mean she isn't going to make mistakes and sometimes learn these lessons the hard way though.

janninerina said...

Here here! This should be at the TOP of the list!

Professional Mom said...

Set reasonable expectations. I told my girls that I thought that they could manage to get through high school without having sex. When they are off to college, it may be a different situation, but at least they are mature enough to make responsible choices. They are both heading to their 30's, and evidently it worked.

Unknown said...

A lot of posts mentioned sports and athletics, which I too encourage, but I would give your daughter access to and an appreciation for the arts. "We like what we know." goes the addage, and the arts, be it dance, music(I personally am fond of musical instruments such as the violin or piano,) teaches focus, patience, diligence. Painting, drawing, photography teaches perspective, interpretation and develops understanding of the world that can't be gotten from soap dramas and fashion magazines.
And it will gives their lives a focus during their formulative teen years that isn't boys or emulating Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian!
Mixing this with atletic endeavors and a love of reading will (I hope in my daughter at least) produce a well-rounded individual!

Deirdre said...

My husband gave this last bit of advice to our daughter before she left for college: "never be the last girl at a party." it's really sound advice.

Tracey said...

Teach your daughter that no matter what happens, what secret is spilled or picture posted, it will blow over and life will go on.

SraRudi said...

Teach your daughters (and sons TOO!) that it's more important to EARN something than to be told they "deserve" it. Too many girls think (and their parents prop this up) that they "deserve" special treatment because they are pretty/cute/hot/insert-female-adjective here. Those girls grow up to be NYC/DC/ATL/OC/BH Housewives - no substance and really poor examples of how to be successful women. Celebrity does not equal talent or success.

SraRudi said...

Amen! Your child is your child and a human being is a human being - love them for who they are, not their orientation!

Tracey said...

Absolutely! A confident handshake with eye contact speaks a thousand words!

chart said...

Wow. while i understand your initial point that no sex is An option. your reasoning is somewhat off base. Finding a compatible "sex mate" and honing your skills should never be the point of sex. Having sex in general is about communication and learning from the other person what they like and makes them happy. If two people truly love each other then waiting until marriage doesn't mean they might be incompatible sex partners, it means they have to do what everyone else does, communicate! if you feel trapped or frustrated or betrayed its probably b/c either you are not communicating or you married someone that never listened to you from the get go; that's what incompatible means.

Angie said...

Teach your daughter that it's ok to not want children. It doesn't mean she's broken or not a real woman. She can be fulfilled without being a mom.

Carol said...

ohhhh, I love this, palatino! I'm adding this to my favorite quotes on facebook!

hpru said...

If what you wear is making the young boys look, it's probably making icky old men look too! Cover up.

Unknown said...

If there's a line for the ladies' room and no one is using the men's, I will DEFINITELY (and have on numerous occasions) use the men's restroom. :) I *might* have even led a "toilet revolution" at a night club where I got half of the line to join me in a hostile take over.

MelieJG said...

Amen! You are so right. I didn't have my first until age 33 and, while I was plenty old enough, I know I didn't realize the reality of it.

Tony and Lindsay said...

I will try to teach my kids to get out see the world and have fun before getting married. I will try to tell them to not get married young. But honestly I don't think I would stop them if they wanted to. I got married VERY young. Technically I had been out of high school for a year but I was still a month from being 18, and I would not change it. I have a college degree, a 1 year old, and another child on the way. I love my life and wouldn't change anything. I hope my children choose to do a lot more and see more things before they get married but I wouldn't stop them. :)

orcaortheseal said...

I am thankful for thoughtful bloggers, such as this one
XO

Modestshaylin said...

Not to split hairs, but if I am out at a bar or restaurant and the line for the ladies room is long and there isn't one for the guys, I will use the men's room in a heartbeat.

` said...

Huge! Great advice here ladies, can't help but feel weird when getting a "noodle shake" from anyone! Very very important for men and women I think.

Ground Pounder said...

If my daughter went down the wrong path, I couldn't tell her I would disown her. That is a good reason to not follow my guidance. ~A dad

Ground Pounder said...

rule#1 out of 25. I don't think I should disown my daughter if she chooses to wear a pair of shorts with words that some find objectionable. That could fuel her to have a mind of her own and become detached from my guidance. No need to read other rules.

Moonchild said...

Re #1: How can you *disown* her if she's not anyone's property?

Head Turtle said...

If I woman shakes my hand hard it is not impressive. I am a big guy, when I reach for a woman's hand I expect her to allow me to grab it as I have been taught (hard to explain, but not like a normal handshake). I will teach my daughter the same, if a woman and woman shake that is understandable, but IMO if a woman doesn't have a strong hand shake it doesn't mean squat to me.

Alanna said...

"I told her she should tell him maybe his mom bought him girl shoes."

Fail. We encourage girls to dress to not be afraid of what other people think, yet you're encouraging your daughter to do the opposite to boys? Empowering her shouldn't come at the expense of another kid (boy or girl)'s self-esteem.

MmeMagpie said...

After assessing the dangers and learning safety protocols, allow her to do dangerous things: riding a motorcycle, MIG welding, handing guns, forging iron, using large wood shop equipment, climbing trees and rocks, whatever. From this I learned to be fearless and recognize the difference between recklessness and calculated risk.

MollynKevin2011 said...

Anything but food, eh? Think that one over a little more please.

I married at 21. Why? Because I was ready and had found a wonderful, mature man. My parents supported me completely and I am doing spectacularly for it. My mom got married at 18 and is still happily married to my dad. So I completely disagree with the whole not allowing to get married young. Sorry, once she's 18 she can do what she wants, even if she's stupid.

Also... some things girls have to learn for themselves. Try to follow all these rules and you're going to have one extremely rebellious kid. I'm certainly not dismissing them because a lot of them I think are stupid NOT to follow... but I don't think these are well thought out, some of the intent seems to be only to slam women who haven't made the best choices.

wkjohnson said...

New to your post (shared by a friend on Facebook) I LOVE #19. I got married at 18 to a wonderful man and as sheer luck would have it we are still married 21 years later. I wouldn't trade him for the world, and I am certainly the person I am today because of him. However, I can't be a big enough advocate for being on your own. learning a bit about life on your own, failing on your own, everything on your own is so important. If he is the right guy, we will be there - after you have been on your own.

Redbird said...

The self imposed helplessness in American Society today is stunning, and it's taught as much as learned. Some have already espoused on the benefits of familiarity with tools, financial acumen, protected sex and how to defend yourself in a fight. Let me add lightweight diagnostics of plumbing, electrical and automotive problems so they can intelligently describe the problem to others. Probably most important is critical thinking and how to ask the right questions, fact vs opinion and the difference between a need and a want. Failure to do those things is a ticket to being a sheeple, boy or girl, and leads to manipulation by bureaucrats, politicians and boy or girl friends. Followership/leadership are important, and how to set and meet a goal. As parents, if you don't know how to teach it find someone who does, and sit in on the lessons, then discuss it.

For the parents: Teach, then delegate: On the job training is how you verify they can do it safely.

Jennifer-Adventuresome Kitchen said...

Thank you for the picture of the LegoRobotics girls. My daughter LOVES Lego Robotics, and was one of a few all-girl pairs that ran at the Robotics tournament yesterday. She said to me last night that when she was at the practice table she heard a little boy ask his dad- "Why are there girls running robots?" I was shocked, but at the same time laughed, as did she... her response to me "because we Rock!!" I love your list and this is exactly how I'm trying to raise both my daughters. THank you.

joblog said...

I don't think making the other child feel bad is the answer...

PaxGirl said...

Well I have to say it: Addendum to #11-Never post pictures with a bigotry-based slur like "Guido" in them. It demeans you and dilutes your message.

toopricey said...

My mom taught me that when I grew up every woman should have her own way if income, money, and car. This way if anything should happen you are free to leave. I think a girl should have options, and not be trapped because her bf or husband has complete control.

Ozma said...

1. If you tell your daughter what NOT to wear, it is just giving her incentive to wear the banned item. My mother NEVER told me what to wear.
2. Teaching your daughter to talk about her feelings is useful ONLY if you don’t answer her with advice or judgment.
3. My mother did tell me that I was beautiful, but her unending competition with her sisters and her constant criticism of others negated that completely.
4. I don’t see “respect others” here anywhere.
5. Goes along with #1.
6. No problems with #6, but if she truly values herself, she won’t end up in an abusive relationship to begin with.
7. She learns best from watching mom. Go easy on the body modification yourself.
8. Confidence in abilities is best taught by giving your kids space to make their own mistakes. They won’t learn it from helicopter parents.
9. There are better and more effective ways of expressing anger than acting like a reality TV star. Teach her what “crass” means.
10. No problem with #10.
11. If you tell her not to hang out with person X, it will give her more incentive to do so. If she grows up confident, independent, and secure, she will be able to make that determination for herself. Helicoptering won’t achieve the desired results here.
12. I can’t believe the author used the word “skank.” http://jezebel.com/5863842/why-short-skirts-magically-turn-women-into-bitches
13. Goes along with #1.
14. No problem with #14, below age 16. Again if they’re confident, etc. they will be able to make their own choices by then. Otherwise, see #1.
15. I can’t believe the author used the word “slutty.” As if it stands in opposition to being intelligent. See link in #12.
16. Thank god for teen magazines. I learned so much from them about hygiene, hair, and makeup that my neglectful mother never bothered to teach me.
17. Okay with #17.
18. Kind of simplistic and a little hard on the girls who actually do have big boobs.
19. Another instance where she will learn from mom’s example. Also, saying she can’t marry guy X because she’s too young just gives her incentive to prove you wrong. Sometimes you just have to let go and let them make their own mistakes. Particularly if they are over 21. Remember, they are ADULTS at this age.
20. No problem with encouraging reading but the phrase “try to get her to…” smacks of more helicopter parenting. You are her best example. If mom reads gossip magazines and other crap like that, she’s not likely to read anything above that level of maturity or intellect herself.
21. I don’t agree with the necessity of a battle of the sexes. http://www.askmen.com/dating/curtsmith_100/142_dating_advice.html
22. No problem with #22, but she will learn this best by your example and by you not criticizing her. Insecure parents don’t raise secure kids.
23. Agree with #23, but if she sees you criticizing or backstabbing others, she will do the same.
24. Okay with #24, except that I had a hell of a time convincing my mother to allow me to pierce my ears when I was 14. This can be taken too far. And if the piercing and tattoo crowd is too roundly criticized, this will make her either judgmental, or more likely to join them later.
25. She can PURSUE anything. Success depends on many things. Sometimes our choices are limited by factors completely out of our own control. If she is raised with an authentically strong sense of self, these things won’t bring her down, no matter what her future failures or circumstances. Take care that we don’t try to make our daughters the vehicle for our own unfulfilled dreams.

Jaime said...

@lenwood - Considering that I've seen this article shared on Facebook a few times now, I'm thinking she is doing just fine with not alienating her audience.

In an opinion-fueled blog post, using "I" is completely appropriate.

Anonymous said...

And she will be fine. I got my first tattoo when I was 18 and while I don't love it the way I did then, it is a significant part of who I was then and I have a great reminder of those days. Also, I met my husband while serving in the Army. We dated 4 months and got married. He was 19 and I was 20. We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary this past summer. You never know how things will turn out, but it's important to have hope for the best.

Shannon said...

I have 3 daughters of my own. I decided when I had my first daughter to answer questions she asked about life and things she heard truthfully. I have done this with all 3. Sometimes they ask questions that make me feel awkward (about sex, slang, 'gown up' topics, etc), but I look them in the eye and tell the truth. My youngest is 11 and has asked questions about sex. I don't go into explicit detail, but I give her the gist of it and she understands. I'd prefer she gets the details from me because obviously someone around her has been talking about it. Not to mention that before long she will be at an age where she will ask friends advise and no longer me... I'm trying to pave the road now for us to openly talk about anything.

daherring said...

Don't let your little girls wear makeup, they will never feel as pretty without it as they do with. Avoid dance classes that teaches them to be sexy when they are way to young to be popping there hips or shaking their butts while winking. make sure they know they will not get everything they want in life, but always try, and to not pitch a fit when they don't. And never say or do anything that she wouldn't want someone to know what she did/said, because we all know little girls can be mean, spoiled and down right bratty sometimes...they will learn eventually, but it still happens sometimes

Blissfully Discontented said...

I'm teaching my daughter a healthy level of cynicism...it may bite me in the ass from time to time but knowing that any "douche canoe" who disingenuously tells her "you're the only one, baby" is going to get the eyebrow and an eyeroll makes it all better.

Blissfully Discontented said...

I'm teaching my daughter a healthy does of cynicism never hurt anyone. The force may be used against me from time to time but I'm okay with that as long as some "douche canoe" who disingenuously tells her "you're the only one, baby" gets the eyebrow, an eyeroll and a good look at her as she walks away.

Marcella said...

My addition: If all your friends and family hate your boyfriend - it's not because they don't understand him, it's because he's a GIANT PIECE OF SHIT. Listen to them - they can see it way before you will.

Catherine said...

And after you have covered everything else, teach her how to handle a gun properly. Sometime it may save her life (thanks to mydad)

glitterpotato said...

I find this extremely misogynistic. number 15 especially. The word "slut" is extremely offensive and being sexually active and how many sexual partners someone has is none of your goddamn business! Just because you're not the virgin mary and maybe had more than 1 sexual partner does not debase your morals or your value as a human being. Since when did your SEX LIFE equate to your ideas, history, education and so forth. IT DOESN'T. So stop condemning "sluts". They're people. Don't dehumanize them.

Daly Beauty said...

You lost me at #20. How about teach your daughters to read whatever they want. To read. And, if you've done everything else right and they are strong & confident, they don't need The Gift of Fear.

One more thing: teach her that she can be a good mother, without fear of judgement from other mothers who think they know better than her.

Anna LaCroix said...

Tell your daughter that you never hear a woman say, "He used to abuse me, but I stuck it out and we got counseling and now we're doing great." because this never happens.

Nicole Bella said...

Stop complimenting your daughter by telling her how "beautiful, pretty, cute, etc." she is, she will only learn that her value (and assets) come from her looks. Instead compliment her for her brains, for her wit, for being outspoken, etc. By complimenting her on her looks you are only adding to the problem where women judge (and are judged) by appearances first and foremost.

Unknown said...

She really can do anything - except maybe use the Men's Restroom.

And even that is a flexible rule. If the line for the ladies' is 40 women long and the men's is empty, there is nothing wrong with posting a guard and peeing. We will not have equality until we all pee in the same amount of time.

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughters how to use inflection. If every sentence out of there mouth? sounds like it's a question? they just sound stupid? And that it's even more annoying when they do the "Broken Headed Barbie" (wide eyes, big smile, and head tilted to the side.)with it. Completely impossible to credit her with any intelligence whatsoever.

Rosie said...

Me too.

Rosie said...

But isn't this Jen's blog? These are HER opinions, so she has to say "I" when she's speaking about what SHE believes in.

I have a baking blog (hasn't been updated in years) and I'm sure the word "I" is all over that bad boy. It's MY blog. I have to own it!

Amethysm said...

Wow, you're obnoxious.

Ornery Owl said...

Really? That's all you got out of this very important post?
That's called nit picking. And it tends to negate the value of anything you might have to say.

Ornery Owl said...

Somehow I imagine that Mike's Bitch has a spray on Oompa Loompa tan and makes Duck Face at the camera while her thong sticks out of the back of her booty shorts.
If I did have a daughter, it would be over my dead round body that she ever wore a "Hooters Girl in Training" tee shirt, or booty shorts with words on the back. Or a thong for that matter. Underwear is supposed to cover your ass!

Ornery Owl said...

I deserve NOT to wear stilettos for the sake of comfort and foot health. I'm not going to put my feet into implements of torture to fit some archaic, anti-female fashion edict.

KristenF said...

As a woman who never wanted children, I think this option is important. I assumed not wanting children meant I did not want to get married (ever). It took me years to realize it was OK to want both things....and PLEASE don't tell someone "oh, you'll change your mind," when they tell you they don't want kids. Some people just shouldn't have them--doesn't mean they don't like them.

Jennifer said...

I recently had a job interview where i was greeted with a dead fish hand shake and she looked at the floor almost like she didnt care at all

Exercise In Frugality said...

There are so many great ones here, and so many comments!
I think one to add would be one about a stalker. The minute you think someone is stalking you, or threatening you, you MUST take action. Never let it slide thinking they will just go away, and never let anyone force you to live in fear.
Also- If a boyfriend or husband is a deadbeat...LEAVE. Don't be afraid to get out, being alone is better than being with someone who makes you feel like crap. If the situation is dangerous, get help. If it's just burdensome, then leave!

4 Happy Campers said...

I would edit #19 to say that you should create a loving marriage yourself so your daughter knows what respect and love really look like.

I also married young and continue to be happily married 13 years later. Most of my friends who waited until the "right age" cannot say the same. We were also less interested in partying at a young age than saving for a home and building a life together.

We married right out of college and then went out and saw the world together.

Jacqadams37 said...

Why can't you learn those intimate things with your husband & LIFE PARTNER? Together.....learning about good, pure, soul-satisfying sex with someone knowing they're the only person on this world that knows you this way.

And I'm being hypocritical... I didn't wait. But after 12 happy years married to my soul-mate & perfect match, I wish I had. I wish he was the only one that knew me this way. I wish I could give him this gift. Maybe you think its silly, sounds wonderful to me.

So I am raising 3 sons & 1 daughter. And thats the message I chose to teach them. Ultimately, its their choice... but I have hope.

Just sayin.

UKAlli said...

I love this blog but I'm struck by the irony of the advertisements along the side with the girl in the t-shirt with her jeans unzipped and her underwear showing. Ironic juxtaposition...

Scrollwork said...

I wonder if being made to take piano lessons the summer I was nine had much to do with my firm handshake and good posture. I don't remember how to play the piano, but I still have the latter two!

Tiffani Talks said...

I thought people who got married young were stupid and I was really serious about college, when the universe threw me a curve ball and I met my husband at age 18 and he was 24. I broke up with him the first time he mentioned marriage since it freaked me out. He was my first boyfriend and first kiss, we waited until we were married when I was 19 to have sex, and I am SO HAPPY I married him even though it was completely contrary to my life plans. We have two kids, and he is an incredible father and provider, and just a kind and gentle person who really supports me. I wish I had met him a few years later and I would not encourage anyone to get married young, but sometimes you don't get to plan everything in life. Why would I give up marrying such a wonderful person or encourage my girls to do so just because it didn't follow general wisdom? I was a very logical young adult with my head on my shoulders, and my parents and I trusted my judgment. Thank you 19-year-old self for making such a good decision (getting engaged was the most difficult decision of my life -- it kept me up at night struggling with whether I was making a mistake since I was so young)!

cswiger said...

I know this is long...but my mother never warned me about stretch marks or acne scars, SO don't be afraid to show them what could happen, or how to prevent it at a young age. This would have helped me TREMENDOUSLY with my self-esteem while I was growing up. I thought I was the only girl with these problems, I was so blind to others having it too. So make them "see" what they don't before they see it on them and it crushes them when magazines don't show it on anyone else. Please, please, please don't ignore that your daughter growing up b.c she is your baby and you want to believe she is still so young. Reality, they aren't...puberty sucks and so does horrible body changes and feelings. Don't let them be in the dark to keep your sanity while they are growing up.

cswiger said...

I was 18 when I got my first tattoo, my parents were on vacation and my friend who shortly after died from cystic fibrosis bought it as a graduation gift for me. I would have gotten one for her even if my parents would have disowned me for it. My mother likes it, my father is still set in stone that tats are bad, but since I've gotten one half of the family tree has too, haha!
There is NOTHING wrong with her marrying out of high school. This is coming from a 24 year old who started dating her current husband memorial day weekend (the weekend before my schools graduation) and married him July 1st. Yea, like what a 5 wk courtship there? I told my parents 10 days before our set date we were getting hitched, and believe it or not I had it in a church, with a gown, flowers, bridesmaids and groomsmen and a kickbutt reception. So its doable! But we are still together and it was hard, I'm not going to lie. We went through finding ourselves while trying still being "one" as a couple. We fought so much in the first year, but I too joined the military...so a month after we were married I didn't see him for 3 months then was shipped off again for more training...so I wouldn't suggest having a lot of distance in the first year. As a married couple you need that year to figure out the married life and its hard to do moving around a lot and (for your daughters man) having to obey the military no matter what she wants. My husband and my commander had it out several times but it only kept us apart more b.c the commander can take seeing your rights away from you just as easily as a parent can to a 12 year old. It sucks. We wanted to be 25-27 before we had kids..I was 21. I love my daughter and right now my husband and I have been married for 5 and a half years, we own our first home (and its NOT a trailer, so we are super proud of that being poor and all) we are both going back to school and we have pets. It helps being a veteran, but I couldn't have pictured my life any other way. We were young and in love...well shit...we still are! It will be tough but they can do it!
Parents out there..I hope your daughter doesn't do what I did to my parents. It was hard on them, and I didn't think of that. But I believe I wouldn't have been so afraid of the world outside of my little town if we had traveled more often. Enrich your daughters with knowledge of that beyond your home. It might make a world of a difference. And never tell your daughter she can't marry a boy, or she will do so for spite instead of for love, and that creates a new mess for both sides later down the road.

Babysteps4565 said...

Your reply is not nice at all. Why would you encourage your daughter to humiliate a boy, it does not empower her, it just makes her a mean girl.

SchoolinButton said...

Teach your daughter how to drive a Standard Stick Shift.

SchoolinButton said...

Teach your daughter that it is OKay to Breastfeed her children and that no one has a right to tell her that she can't.

Becky With The Good Hair said...

This freaks me out! I sound like your daughter...I will be celebrating my 17th wedding anniversary this year. Got married at 18 to my high school sweet heart who is in the military. I chickened out on the tat though, LOL.

LisaMarie, Adam & Scarlett makes three! said...

My parents got married at 19, and they have been happily married for 36 years. I was 24 and was SO tired of the dating game by the time I met by hubby.

LisaMarie, Adam & Scarlett makes three! said...

Teach your daughters that if they want to stay home with their children they SHOULD! It is the hardest job on the planet, but also the most rewarding. That being said, teach them to find a man that loves them completely. That will make an excellent father, and that is willing to make sacrifices for what is best for his family. Teach them that having "things" will not make them happy. I would rather stay home with my children than drive a fancy car, live in a mansion, or go on expensive vacations. Being a mother can be the most amazing ride of your life, if you understand what it is you are doing. I gave up law school because I knew I would never leave my children in the care of a stranger, and a career in law was not going to leave me any other options. I went to cosmetology school, and I make my own schedule. My family comes first, and that is what matters.

Jai said...

I think it's more of the concept of putting a little girl in a "future hooters girl" t-shirt that is so shocking. I have two daughters, 3 and 5, I will NEVER let someone put any thing, clothing or otherwise, on them that insinuates something like that. If they are adults and choose to wear something like that, fine. Not appropriate for a child. Just like the 9 yr olds dressed up & dancing like the Pussy Cat Dolls. Inappropriate.
I think its great that you enjoy it, that's important in a job, enjoying it. :)

anon said...

You had me at douche canoe.

Violet said...

Hell yes, Mommy. Hell yes. As a high school teacher, I see my female students doing just about everything you described in your blog post. I go home to my precious little lady and squeeze her tight, hoping that I'm a better parent to her than my students' parents are to them.
-Violet

Anonymous said...

My mom taught me the first one and I WISH MY DAD or someone had taught me the second! It takes me twice as long to get over a cold because i can't do this.

Anna at www.mylifeandkids.com said...

Fabulous! Thanks for linking up to #findingthefunny! I'm pinning this to our Pinterst board.

Unknown said...

I'm not a fan of nor do I think it's a good idea to wait too long, even late 20's- early 30's, to get married. Unfortunately, women have bought the lie that we can have it "all", career first and put babies on hold. We don't have all the time in the world, especially for having babies. So, I applaud your daughter for knowing what she wants and going ahead and getting married and not waiting because society says we ought to.

mommakatx6 said...

I married at 18 and will celebrate my 24th anniversary this month. My husband and I have 6 kids (ages 9-22) and are very happy. My husband is 6 years older. Marrying young does work out for some people but it's not for those who aren't willing to stick it out and fight for the relationship.

rhonda said...

please tell your daughter's when the time comes for them to have children if you cannot breastfeed or choose not to it does not make you any less then a mother.

Susan Thatcher said...

I don't have daughters, but I wrote two posts that tie into your point:
http://50tonormal.blogspot.com/2011/05/you-can-make-it-better.html

and this is one of the most popular of mine:
http://50tonormal.blogspot.com/2011/06/bonus-post.html

lucymaesmom said...

Teach your daughter that the truth will always prevail. That when you tell the truth you don't have to remember it, because the truth never changes.
Teach her that she is NOT her body, but her mind and character, and that no matter what mistakes she makes, she has the ability to transform herself into who she knows she can be. It is NEVER too late!

Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree with this one!

Anonymous said...

YES! Eye contact & a good hand shake are great attributes of strong character - male or female. A strong first eye to eye with someone says a lot about a person and who they are and where they are going. I have always stressed to my girls and boys to be kind,return smiles that strangers give, hold the door and give a helping hand, return anything that does not belong to them, have confident posture, think about how your face and smile look to others and how your mood effects those around you.

Sarah said...

Me too! Especially if they are one-seaters. Why even bother having a Men's and a Women's if both rooms only have the one toilet?

Debra Glass said...

A fantastic list!

The Blogger said...

i have 4 girls,...great article.

Amanda said...

Marrying young is not always sure to end in divorce as so many people think. I married my husband when I was 19 years old, my husband was 23. I wasn't pregnant, and came from a good home where I was still very safe and welcome. I am still blissfully married to my husband 12 years, and 2 kids later. We waited 5 years to have kids, and if I were to go back, I wouldn't change a thing. Keep encouraging your daughter with her fiance, as its hard afterwards to trust those that were freaking out at us for getting married so young, even though I KNOW that they were just concerned and loved us. But its hard to trust someone who doesn't support you.

Juli Bell said...

Thank you for sharing this! I'm 17 and found this while I was browsing around Pinterest. Your words are getting to us young girls! Keep it up!
(It took me a while until I finally decided my parents knew best, but ever since, life has been good!)

Coming from a teen girl, maybe this could be added:

Teach her to be humble. Not a push over - but humble.
Good grammar when speaking, is beautiful.
Don't say things online that you wouldn't otherwise say to the person's face.

Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

One of the greatest things my Daddy ever taught me. People know from the get go that I'm not playin'!

Mama Owl said...

Natural Birth Goddess - You are so correct!! Very sound advice. Really, all of this has been so helpful! I have a preteen and am still gathering the courage to have 'the talk' with her. She has very grown questions for her age and I'm terrified that I'll flub up this important deal!

Anonymous said...

I agree!

Anonymous said...

Another one for the list is the Gandhi approach to life of "be the change you wish to see in the world". I've often told my 15 yr old that one person can truly make a difference if she teams up with others who share her ardent belief. Never underestimate the power of smart women working together to achieve something they really, really want.

Gladystopia said...

Teach your daughters that, no matter how great it may feel to come home from the mall with a dozen new outfits and a $400 pair of shoes, the agony of that credit-card bill will last FAR longer than the excitement of new clothes. Teach her to live, as much as possible, on a cash basis--to keep one or two credit cards, to charge one item a month on each, and to pay the balance, IN FULL and ON TIME, each and every month. Teach her to balance a checkbook, to dispute a credit-card charge, and to write a polite but firm letter of complaint. Teach her how to check her credit report and what to do if she finds mistakes. Teach her that--no matter how much you "KNOW" that their friends/boyfriends/others would simply "never" burn you--she should NEVER cosign for ANYONE on a loan...should NEVER agree to put someone else's utility bill or cell phone in her name...should NEVER loan anyone her credit card or share her ATM PIN...and should NEVER loan to anyone unless she can afford never to see that money again. Teach her never to sign a legal document until she understands completely what she is signing--and that even if the car salesman is tapping his foot and looking impatient, not to sign the financing agreement just because you don't want him to be angry. Teach her about the stock market; give her a small amount of "mad money"--$50, maybe--and let her invest it with your advice as a guide. But also teach her that "the system" is not geared toward sustaining HER--it is geared only toward sustaining ITSELF. Healthy skepticism is essential, and the occasional touch of total paranoia may sometimes be warranted.

Finally, teach her that the only person who can protect her financially is herself--that romantic partners and spouses may someday leave, or die, and she will need all the tools in the financial toolbox to keep her life intact. Teach her that the most valuable assets she has are her mind, her spirit, her confidence, and her resilience--and that she should never, NEVER sell THOSE to the highest bidder.

I only wish someone had taught me; every lesson I've suggested here was learned through my own mistakes, missteps, fumbles, and episodes of outright idiocy. Just remember: if you put on a blindfold before you walk into the jungle, chances are you're gonna crash straight into a tree.

Unknown said...

This was awesome. I so agree about those teen magazines for girls!

(Thanks for linking this up with us over at #findingthefunny a couple of weeks ago! Sorry I am such a loser and just now stopping by to read it!)

Amanda said...

I agree. I was not as young as you guys (I was 22 and my husband was 24 when we got married) but we had been together for almost 4 years before we got married. We knew that was what was best for us and what was the point of waiting. My parents were completely supportive though I had tons of people criticize me. I even had someone ask "what did your mom think of that?" My response was that she loves my husband and even if she didn't I was an adult who was financially stable with a BS degree and she could really do nothing about it. I really think people forget that while 18-26yr old girls are young they are still adults.

Anonymous said...

As bad as the shorts with the sayings across the butt are, my sister-in-law, young daughter and I were shopping at Wal-Mart this spring and we have seen worse. We have seen bathing suits that my SIL and I would not wear as adults made in sizes to fit little girls my preschool age daughter's size. Needless to say, as mothers we were outraged.

Anonymous said...

Padded bras with cartoon characters??? WTF!! Lissy I have to agree 200% that whoever came up with that one needs to be slugged until they can barely move, then dragged out into the street and shot.

Anonymous said...

That is an awesome post and I don't even have daughters, just 2 boys. The only thing I would say...teach your kids to have more than just one or two close friends. I was fortunate enough to have quite a few and I'm glad and grateful that I did.

Kimmi Blondeel said...

Great blog! I love it. Definitely going to get my future daughter to read this.

Anonymous said...

Agreed!

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughter to pee standing up. This comes in handy for many public restrooms as well as while hiking, camping, etc. My daughter can do this and I have told her that if anyone finds out and makes fun of her to repeat 2 words "Truck Stop."

The Duchess said...

YES! I never can believe it when even grown men have limpfish handshakes. How did they ever get anywhere in life? I wanted to add to, like, help, like, your young daughters, like, stop, like, punctuating every OTHER WORD WITH "LIKE" I am currently working on my 17 yr old about this because she is completely unaware of it.... I had hoped she would outgrow it so shame on me for not insisting she kick that horrid verbal tic when she was 13. Now she has to kick it for the college interviews. Like, seriously!

Julie said...

Totally agree! My husband and I married right out of college at 22 years old. If you would've asked my kindergarten self what I wanted to be when I grew up, you would've heard "a wife and mommy." That was my dream and it never changed! We've been married 2.5 years, have a daughter and another baby on the way. Getting married is a healthy way to grow up (and so is mommyhoood...), and I wouldn't change a thing.

Anonymous said...

"Teach your daughter that no matter what, you'll always be there for her. Even after she has kids of her own."

I agree with this to some extent; however, as a mother who lost my mother to cancer many years before I had my own child, I plan to teach my daughter that I will be there for her as long as I am physically capable. And add to that lesson that it is important to cherish the people in her life because we never know when they won't be there anymore.

P.S. I know you didn't mean anything by this statement. It just struck a nerve with me, so I thought I would offer a different perspective.

sadean said...

I teach my college students this. The men are usually shocked when I practically force them to firmly shake hands and look the other person in the eye.

Squeaky Clean Soaps said...

The rule at the top of my list is "No boy/girl is worth crying over and those who are, won't make you cry"

As an aside, I also taught them to make the douche canoe cry is they managed to make my dauhter cry. Is that wrong?

Pamsullivanlc said...

Disagree 100% its not appropriate for a LADY to shake hands, there are other ways to greet people

Unknown said...

That's just mean. Clearly you didn't read #23.

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughter about mechanical things (if you can't, have a trusted male friend or husband do it - or someone close to you who knows these things). Nothing builds confidence deeper than knowing how things work and the diagnosis of a problem. Teach her about power tools, furnaces, plumbing, cars, and electricity. Teach her how to use a chainsaw, a chop saw, a soldering iron, and stud finder.

There's no shame (and lots of pride) in working with ones hands. It builds loads of confidence and brains and makes a girl a well rounded woman.

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughter about mechanical things (if you can't, have a trusted male friend or husband do it - or someone close to you who knows these things). Nothing builds confidence deeper than knowing how things work and the diagnosis of a problem. Teach her about power tools, furnaces, plumbing, cars, and electricity. Teach her how to use a chainsaw, a chop saw, a soldering iron, and stud finder.

There's no shame (and lots of pride) in working with ones hands. It builds loads of confidence and brains and makes a girl a well rounded woman.

Anonymous said...

Teach your daughter that kindness is the single most attractive quality a person can possess.

People may laugh at a cutting remark, might cluster around to hear your hot gossip and will always be attracted to beauty, but it's kindness that they admire and want to close to.

Laura said...

I think you covered this in the having a voice and standing up for yourself but teach your daughter to face things directly and face to face rather than hiding behind a text or email to discuss a conflict or problem. I work with a number of young women and there is a big difference between those who will speak to me directly and those who want to use text/email to talk through things. If it is important, it needs to be talked through, on the phone or (better) in person. Even if you disagree, you have had a respectful exchange rather than a digital tantrum.

ToniT said...

Great list!! I didn't have time to read all the comments lol so someone may have mentioned this already, but for #23, add to the reading list "Odd Girl Out", amazing book on how to spot female bullying in groups of girls. Every mother should read, and IMHO so should every preteen girl.

Roxanne said...

**Always look the other person in their eyes during a conversation.

**Always hold the door for the next one coming in or out.

Roni Faida said...

Teach your daughters that everything she does in life has a consequence. If she is willing to deal with the consequences, then go right ahead. So many girls/women nowadays do not think about the possible consequences of their actions. Reflecting on this as an adult has kept me out of so many ridiculous situations and I am grateful to my parents for teaching this to me at a very early age.

Unknown said...

#19 and #24 are the only ones I don't 100% agree with as well.

My parents and I got our first tattoos together when I was 18 (it's a family tattoo that my brother and sister both got once they turned 18 as well) and I feel like reasonable piercings (i.e. ears, navel) are a great way to let a girl have control over her appearance without permanent consequences (infection/scarring aside).

I was married at 19. We've been married for 7 years and have 3 kids, and I couldn't be happier with our decision. We'll be done having kids by the time we're both 30 and will be able to enjoy exploring the world with our children as adolescents/adults.

Roni Faida said...

I don't agree at all. My parents let me know very early what would happen if I got married early. I could either get married and struggle with a boy child or stay at home, get an education, a roof over my head, and all of the privileges that came with being my parents daughter. I chose not to marry. My parents were clear: When you get married you give up the things that would be afforded to you as our child as you are now a wife. I'm sure they would have helped us but there is no way I would be trilingual, have traveled all over the world and have a masters degree.

mandiessugarbowl said...

1. My dad has always told me that no man will ever be good enough because there is no such thing as perfect. But since every one needs their mate, then look for a mama's boy. Not the kind where mama pulls the strings and refuses to cut the cord but rather the type who has an awesome relationship with his mom and he treats her like a the queen she is. My dad is an unabashed mama's boy and he treated my Grandma like gold. "If he treats his mama like gold, then that's how he'll treat you." A man that treats his mother horribly is very telling. I've passed this little gem down to my daughter as well. Another is to learn the importance of proper grammar.

2. Swear words have their purpose and their place, but any girl (or guy for that matter) who says things like, "She a ho" or "yo bro, dat bitch be crazy" or something along those lines, makes them sound ill-educated and like a gutter rat. No girl should aim to be a gutter rat.

3. No one is better than you and no one is beneath you. You are your own special person and anyone that tries to bring you down should only make you reach higher. My daughter has dealt with bullies for the past year because she's wacky and goofy just like me. Some people don't like wacky or goofy and that's their prerogative. That in no way means that my daughter is wrong to be like that. She is one of the best people I have ever met in my life. She will go out of her way to help someone or to make them feel better. She's earned community service awards at school time and time again because she is so helpful to every one. I repeat a line by Dr. Seuss to her, "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." I know the lesson sunk in when a friend of hers was being picked on by a boy in her class (this friend has a noticeable limp from a car accident when she was younger) and she saw her friend crying at lunch. She repeated the line to her friend and it made the girl smile. Ever since then, when ever the boy says something the girl repeats the line to herself and she's able to ignore the boy. Every child should know that line, really know it.

Shante said...

She can use the men's room! I've done it and will do it again if the need arises! Although, it was a one-stall restroom.

Amy said...

Teach your daughter that hard work isn't always rewarded immediately. Sometimes, it takes years of hard work before you will reap any rewards. She should develop a work ethic and continue to work hard if she wants to see results. Patience is definitely a virtue.

Sue said...

Teach your daughter when she's very young that when a boy is mean to her IT DOES NOT MEAN HE LIKES YOU! It's mostly the older adults I hear say that to little girls (and boys) when one of the opposite sex is mean to them, "Oh they probably just like you". I'll never understand why that was ever an acceptable explanation. Nothing like setting your kid up for screwed up relationships and low expectations when they're young.

Unknown said...

Teach your daughter how to cook, basic sewing skills and how to use basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, level). Nothing says "amazing" like a girl who can take care of herself, but allows her hubby to help too. ;)

danandkasha said...

Teach her about her body. I wish I would have known more about my female only anatomy and how it really works. I would recommend Taking Charge of Your Fertility (or I'm sure there are a million others out there).

Unknown said...

Word, Terri.

Unknown said...

Teach your daughter to be nice to other girls. We ladies have to stick together, and far too often we allow societal pressures to make us judgmental snobs that nitpick at others to deal with our own insecurities.

In fact, teach your daughter to be nice to everyone, and to accept (and even encourage) diversity in those she surrounds herself with. You can learn a lot from folks who've experienced life differently than you have.

AA said...

I found a site that's new to me...some of you may have already seen it: A Mighty Girl (www.amightygirl.com)
It has all manner of girl-affirming info - books, TV, clothing, etc.

Graceful Space said...

How about teaching your daughter not to use misogynistic swear words like "douche" and all its variants?

Unknown said...

In regard to #7...sometimes quality costs money. Be suspicious of discounts on some things!!!

Nielsen and proud said...

Yeah you all are the exceptions not the rule. Married young divorced young, there are lots of things I would change. I do not know anyone that married young and is still together or still happy. I think waiting is best.

Amanda said...

I get a lot of reaction from men when I shake their hands, and they say "wow, thats a strong shake you have" and I tell them "thanks, i meant it to be." I was taught this early on in business, especially working with a lot of men in IT. Its been SO beneficial to me. GREAT one to add to the list!

Desperately-Seeking-Sanity said...

this doesn't just apply to girls, but boys too, but we all know how mean girls can be...and they're only getting worse. I would say teach your daughter that belittling someone else may make you feel good for a little while, and it might get you some attention that has the same result, but in the end making someone feel less about themselves is something they wouldn't like having done to them, and to always put themselves in the other person's shoes before going along with the crowd. Standing up to bullies may not make them popular, but people will respect you more for it.

Unknown said...

Tell her not to wait in line for the ladies room when the mens room is available (and she can lock the door, of course).

Unknown said...

Not to date a man that she thinks she can fix. You should never attach yourself to someone who you want to change.

Juli G said...

I wanted kids until I was 30 because that's what a girl/woman is supposed to want...right? When I turned 30 I got a dog--a puppy. What a huge responsibility. Want to work a double shift? You can't. Want to go out after work? You can't. Want to spend 10 hours away from the house just shopping and seeing am movie with friends? Nuh uh. Between paying dog sitters, treating my pup for pink eye, getting up every 2 hours in the night (when she was first brought home), etc it was a real eye opener.

I realised then that I wasn't up for having a kid. So don't nag your daughter (or son, for that matter) about needing grandkids. Our world is overpopulated, and not everyone is destined for parenthood anyway.

wfb1095 said...

I'm going to have to say "Teach your daughter she can use the Men's Room" if it isn't a group bathroom. It is a bathroom. The sign on the door shouldn't stop her if she needs to go.

Gina Jacobs Thomas said...

Great advice. Wish my mom would have taught me a few of these, especially #2 (typed as I brush off Cheetos crumbs from my chest).

Camantonio said...

nice article...can i say how thoroughly disgusted I am with the picture of number 17...why do we want to sexualize our children?
I think another thing to remember is if you have boys, teach them all this stuff about girls too. Teach him to look for a strong, smart, capable woman or girl to hang out with. Tell him anything he can do girls can do too. Tell him to have respect for females and search out females who respect themselves. We have to educate our children on what it means to be good people, beyond our gender roles.
I also completely agree with involving your kids in sports. dance, music or any activities they can derive both pleasure and pride from. Its nice to be good at something and it raises your sense of self worth. I think sports really boosts a kids ego as well as provides physical outlets. But dont let your kid become a follower. Let them know they don't have to conform to be accepted. And if their friends want them to be just like them, then they're not good friends (think Heathers). Also, i completely agree with teaching your kid to be self reliant, teaching her to change a car tire, carry mase or a some kind of weapon, teach her martial arts, teach her to be smart with money, teach her to build things, teach her to drive a stick and how to take care of her things. Teach her to be a humanitarian but not a sucker. Teach her to be concerned by others but not taken advantage of by them. Also, teach your child to always help those in need, There is so much value in being grateful for what you have and knowing there is always someone who has less. I cannot wait to involve my daughters in my volunteer work. There are so many lessons I missed out on coming from a chaotic childhood but i think the best way to do all of these things is by doing them yourself.teach by example. Let your daughters see you working towards becoming a better person, its okay that you're not perfect but you are in pursuit of what's right and good and you are living the lesson.

Amy said...

Late to the party, but Natural Birth Goddess...this is so, so true. One of my best friends in high school had a stalker, possessive boyfriend. He proposed to her while we were seniors in hs, and got creepier and scarier. We'd go out, maybe with a few other girls, and he'd turn up. She tried to dump him a few months after the proposal, but he threatened to kill himself. Early in our sophomore year in college, she finally broke up with him, but she had to ride with him back home for Thanksgiving. He tried to kill her. First by attempting to take off her seatbelt and driving like a maniac. Then, stopped at a rest stop, and while she was in the loo, he put sleeping pills in her drink and took the rest himself. She didn't take more than a few sips from the drink so she was a tad drowsy, but awake enough to realize he was falling asleep at the wheel. She got him to pull over, police were called, restraining order invoked...She could have pressed charges, but she didn't. He continued to occasionally harass her for a little while after that. I lost touch with her about 10yr ago, I hope she ok. After learning about that incident, suddenly all of the"self inflicted" injuries she had in high school made sense. I still feel guilty for not realizing what was going on and attempting to get help.

Unknown said...

I agree about the tattoos and piercings, Mosaic. I got my belly button pierced and a few piercings in my ears when I was 16, and I still have them at 25. The key is to show your daughter how trashy piercings and tattoos can be when done for attention or "fun." My piercings look very pretty and classy with pearls and diamonds in them! I also have two small tattoos, which are covered by regular clothing. If your daughter wants a tattoo, it should be meaningful to her, and easily covered so it doesn't impair her ability to get a job.
The marriage thing... I got married at 19. BIG mistake. There are so many changes that a girl goes through between 18 and 20, and even more after. I thought I was ready, everyone thought I was an "Old soul" and that I was ready too. All I can say is, if you really want to be with someone that young, get engaged and just live together for a while. If you still feel the same way by your early twenties, go for it.

Unknown said...

Blaming women for being objectified is wrong. It's like blaming African-Americans for being discriminated against. Sex is not the reason that objectification exists, the way that society treats sex/stripping is the reason.
Slut shaming is just another way for women and men to put down other women and it is extremely unhelpful to the cause.

Meg said...

Why cant she use the men's bathroom! At the bar (she will eventually be in a bar of some sort) the men's room is WAY faster than waiting for the ladies! If you're in a stall, whatever!

Justin said...

I don't like the tattoo/piercing one. It basically says "teach your daughter she can do whatever the hell she wants with her body once she's out of your house." I mean yes, she can - But it runs contradictory to every single other rule you've posted.

How about instead of "teach your daughter about the downside of tattoos [permanence, regret] and allow her to make an informed decision about her body."

Tattoos and piercings are not to be feared [I do have a single hidden tattoo and actually find almost all piercings to be highly unattractive]. But teaching your child that they're on their own once they're out of the house is nothing but a recipe for disaster.

Than again, I shouldn't expect much from the same person with a rule that ends with ". . .better yet never teach him to stand up when he pees."

Joe Orsak said...

How about something VERY against the modern grade? Teach your daughters that if they want to be full time stay at home mom's there's no greater career and no more important calling. They are not LESS of a person, or human being, and are no less equal or needed for making that decision.

Phoenix said...

Why is that funny?!
Why is trying to shame a kid and re0inforce gender stereotypes amusing?

Why should shoes be "girls shoes" or "boy shoes", and not just "shoes" that anyone can wear if that is what they like?!!!

Phoenix said...

Babies do not "cry a lot, for no reason".

They cry because something is up, something is wrong, or they need something. It is their only way of communicating, and it's a parents job to figure out what that something is.

If you can't, that does not mean they are crying 'for no reason', only that you are unable to work out the reason!

Sorry, but claiming babies cry a lot and for no reason is the biggest disservice you can do for babies.

Phoenix said...

"This blog entry isn't about teaching your daughter to conform. It's about teaching her to be strong-"

These posts miss the point... it's not about teaching her to do anything, it's about EMPOWERING her to know her own self worth, her own mind, and her own morals. And to live by them.

I cringe a lot at all the "teach" pre-fixes.

This really sets the wrong idea. A lot of these are not things that can be 'taught' except by lrsding by example... love your own body and your daughter will love her own... behave how you feel is a respectable & acceptable way to behave, and she will behave similarly.
Show her you can be strong, decisive, are not anyone's property etc, and she will know that what goes for you gpes for her also.

Don't "teach", "empower".

M2,K,A and M3 said...

I am so happy you mentioned about dance teams and slutty outfits!!! I am lucky to have found a studio where I live in KC that does NOT have my daughter look like a slut or dance like one! They are tasteful and respectable! My daughter is on a competition team too, so I see this UNBELEIVABLE dancing and costumes at every competition!!! But I am thankful that I don't have to worry about that!!!

emneilsen said...

Check out Tina Fey’s lovely, touching and totally true ‘prayer for a daughter.’

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen.

thelittlebarefootgirl said...

Agree 100%!!!
I've not bought cars/furniture because of a salesman giving me a limp handshake...i've not hired contractors to do jobs on my house for that reason as well - a first impression is so important.

Megan said...

My sons know NEVER to bring home a girl with words across her butt (no matter what those words say!)

Raabster said...

I actually had to fight for this point when we were discussing new items for our middle school PE wear. We have strict rules about appropriate clothing...how does putting the school's name or symbol on a 12 y/o's butt build up our stance on appropriate clothing? I couldn't believe that I was the only one vocalizing concerns! Once I had made the point, many agreed (including the principal) so we don't have these...thank goodness...but other schools in the district do. Shameful!

mcccarver2 said...

I work at a school and I have used this technique from time to time...and it works!!! When I hear trashy words coming out of girl's mouths I have her come into my office, tell her to look in my mirror and say every trashy word she can think of just so she can get it out of her system. I tell them they are "polluting my airwaves and I don't want to hear that kind of language' so I'm going to put my fingers in my ears so I cannot hear them. At first she (or he - it works with boys, too!) act "bad", like it's no big deal. But not one single time has anyone been able to do it (boy or girl). I explain to them if they cannot watch those words coming out of their mouth why would they think anyone else would want to see or hear trash coming out of their mouth. It's a definite "in your face" method and makes them think!!

nyctalon said...

Teach her to advocate for those who have no voice - and that she owes it to the women before her and after her to try to make this world a better place to live in. Imagine a self-less generation instead of a self-ish one!

Unknown said...

I married at 32 but believe me, would have married at 22 and been happy about it. I have friends who married young... who do not have a myriad of lovers in their memories (nor do I, for the record), and who have been happily married for several decades. It doesn't always work, but nor does it always work for those who wait. I think it's okay to marry young if you have faith for your relationship and especially if you and your partner have a plan for your education and your future.

SaraBeth said...

I'm saddened to see the words "skank" and 'slutty" used in a post about female empowerment. Unfortunately, sexism is so pervasive in our society, that you are unaware of your own sexist use of language.

Dan said...

26. When you are with a boy you like, and his mother is present, pay very very close attention to how he treats her. Eventually, this is how he will treat you. At least that's the way to bet.

loser dot com said...

A++++

Anonymous said...

(Oops, I'm late to the party. Still, perhaps you keep reading...?)

I was wondering, when I read your girls' and boys' guide, since I am a father of one of each, what made them so different. You teach your daughter about options and self-respect, what she can achieve, what she can be. And you teach your son, who is, by your own account, now eight, never to snap a girl's bra strap, as if you were unable to see even in your own son anything other than a potential rapist. And to pee sitting down.

Your "daughter rules" I can show to my daughter of nine, but I can never show your "son rules" to my son of seven until he'll be twice that age. They make a strange mixture that doesn't correspond well to my idea of emancipation.

Neres said...

Wow... how about "let your daughter be herself and help her to be confident" as the only "rule"? Who am I to tell my daughters when they are ready to marry? They're living their own life! And I don't like the fact that there are two kinds of categories here like "smart" and "slutty". It's a huge problem of our time that girls often find themselves put in the latter category by others and then bullied... coming exactly from this kind of "advice" like you're giving here. We have to help prevent those things from happening, which means all people have the same value, no matter what they do or don't do... what you're suggesting is dangerous.

Mollypants said...

Sorry, but I'm just not on board with issuing a blanket "you're somehow a bad person if you have sex before marriage". Sex should follow the ability to make quality decisions from which you are fully prepared to accept the consequences - not necessarily just "if you're married". Women and their decisions (of which sex is one) are not tied into their marital status alone. I'd far rather my daughter understand the importance of sexuality and the fact that her body is her own and one in which she has the power over rather than have her think that her body is only something to give to a man just because he put a ring on her finger. I'm not saying I think everyone SHOULD have sex before marriage - far from it - but I would want my daughter to understand that her sexuality is not the only thing that defines her or her character.

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