Yes, that's right. I have a teenager. On Wednesday, my youngest & my only daughter turned 13. Now, this isn't my first rodeo because I have two adult sons. This IS my first round of the teens with a daughter. Admittedly, I find it a bit frightening. Not necessarily because of her but because of the reputation that teen girls have for being vicious to each other. This is really the biggest issue I worry about. My daughter is very sensitive. She always has been. This is why I've dreaded when the teen years would hit. I can't even say that so far, we've had any major issues, but I know that at some point, it's likely we will have to deal with some that will not only break her heart, but mine. I speak from my own personal experiences and pray that she will not have any of the experiences that I had as a teen. Horrible things said, things that to this day, I cannot forget & carry with me. The scars of my teen years are pretty well hidden but they are there. They have had an impact on my self-esteem for years. So, I arm myself & my daughter with all I can to combat the negativity that can come with being a teenage girl. I pray for her, for the other girls she goes to school with & their families. I pray for us, that we will find the right words to handle any such situation that may arise. I pray that my fear of what's to come doesn't overshadow the amazing growth that occurs during the teen years.
Teen years are hard for so many reasons. We went through struggles with teens testing the waters & spreading their wings to find more independence. It's a rough ride at time but the end result is worth all of the struggle. It's years of working hard to reinforce all that you've taught them to this point, reminding them of who they are, what's right & what's wrong and watching them grow into a young adult. Teen years are a lot like watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly. They go from gangly, skinny, awkward (both physically & socially) to a more self-assured young adult.
I thought that I would be very sad when my daughter turned 13. I'm not. I'm excited (and scared) for her. I see her growing into a beautiful young woman, inside & out. While I worry about her daily social struggles, I remind myself and her that these are small moments in time. I talk to her every chance I get - whenever she opens up to me about anything, I listen. I make suggestions on how to handle things, laugh, cry, hold her, etc. I work on keeping the lines of communication open. I want to know what's going on in her world so I can help give her the tools she needs to grow & move forward.
Recently, I mentioned something in one of my working moms' Facebook groups about struggling with teen girl issues. Several moms suggested I read Queen Bees and Wannabees. I'm reading it now and I can tell you that it certainly provides quite a perspective on girls. I didn't worry much about a lot of these things with my sons. Boys are indeed quite different from girls so I'm taking all the help I can get to get us all through this next phase of parenting a daughter.
So, if you have a teenage daughter or an adult daughter, I'd love to hear how you navigated parenting a teenage girl in this world.