I like being right … in fact, I love being right … and probably even more so than this, if I’m truly honest with myself, I really don’t like being wrong. So, when a conversation happened last night with one of my girls and I had to step back and accept that actually her view was far more beautiful than mine, something she said really resonated.
Now, being a mum of two teenage daughters (and a son but this blog doesn’t necessarily apply … yet!), there is situation after situation where advice is sought and advice is given … sometimes the advice is given when not wanted … actually there is lots of that by me … can’t help myself … always seem to have a view on a situation … whether my girls want to hear it or not … and, invariably, as I would expect anyone who is giving advice … it’s my opinion … my take on the situation … not their’s … but … and this is a big but … maybe my view isn’t the same as my girls … maybe they have a different take on the situation and my advice really isn’t relevant as their feelings about an event aren’t the same as how I would have felt in the same situation.
… OK, I’m rambling, let’s backtrack. There was a situation this week where I felt that some girls were being unkind … unthoughtful to others … so, in my “how dare anyone behave like that to one of my own” state, I started my empathic parenting of “Oh darling I hate to think of you feeling like that.” Who am I bloody kidding? All empathic parenting went out of the window as I launched into “OMG, how dare they? Who do they think they are? So bang out of order! Right, this is what you need to do …” etc etc … really helpful don’t you think? A page right out of the ‘How Not To Parent Your Children’ book for sure.
Look, I try really really hard to do the whole “let’s chat this through in a kind and thoughtful manner” but just sometimes I get riled … maddened by how cruel girls can be … and, oh my word, cruel can they be … but my take on the situation was different to my daughter’s. I was putting feelings into her thoughts that she didn’t have, hadn’t considered.
My outburst was about how I would have felt in the same situation … but that may not be how my daughter would feel … she isn’t me … I’m not her … I was using my experiences of having been a teenager and how I would have felt in that situation coupled with my protective parenting streak … and that was evidently very different to her’s … she didn’t have the same pent up anger or attitude of how unjust the world was … she was OK with the situation … so when she said “but, Mummy, I don’t feel the same way as you. I’m OK.” I had to stop … how beautiful to feel that way? How strong to not feel hurt?
So, why write this? Why feel that I have to share? Well, I guess it was another one of those life lessons that being a parent sometimes teaches you, that we love to blog about … we mustn’t base our response to a situation as the only response, the only advice, the only angle … sometimes, our teens have got it covered … they’re doing OK and they’ve got the whole thing sorted … we don’t have to barge in and take over and rectify … just sometimes they’ve got a much more beautiful perspective on things … and, thank goodness, because, in this situation, I hate to admit, my view was wrong … she was OK … just saying …