My daughter started high school this year. As a mother, this feels a little scary. I am continually reminding myself that she isn’t me and that her life experiences up to this point have been very different than my experiences were at her age. I am happy for her to begin to feel some freedom and explore new things and ideas. I am happy to know that she will build friendships that may last for many years.
There are a few things that I would love to tell her. Things that I wish I knew when I started high school.
- Even the “cool kids” feel insecure often
- Not everybody is doing it (that goes for sex, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes)
- If they are doing it, they aren’t having as much fun as they are saying
- People respect you when you respect yourself
- Being mean is not cool
- Getting good grades matters
- What your classmates think of you may change from day to day and won’t matter in 10 years
- It’s more fun when you don’t take yourself too seriously
So far, she is navigating the unknown territory beautifully. She seems to take much of the drama in stride and tries to stay away from trouble. I am grateful for a handful of wonderful woman who serve as a mentor to her when she doesn’t want to listen to her mother. I can’t blame her, I didn’t want to listen to my mother either. Now I can’t get enough of my mom.
I have also started to share pieces of my story with my daughter. She knows that I am a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. She asks questions and I tell her the truth that I think she can take in that moment. It scares her. It takes her a while, sometimes months, before she asks the next question. I’m in no rush. I want her to know that she has choices in life. Every step is a choice. Every choice has consequences. I don’t want this to be a burden for her, I want it to give her freedom. Freedom to express herself fully without fear, to see the big picture and not feel threatened by the small shit. These years can be a time of experimenting, learning, pushing boundaries and testing the water without diving into the depths of chaos.
I hope that she has the strength to choose differently than I did, that she chooses to listen to her inner guidance even when it is the softest voice in the room.