Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thirteen Year old Daughters

If you are raising one of these: Good Luck! Especially if you are a father because it is going to be quite difficult. Mothers having been 13 year old girls once themselves have a lot more understanding of it all than do fathers. And it seems that as fathers we can do nothing right until our daughters become 20 to 25 and only then if we are very lucky and judicious and kind in our treatment of our now teenage daughters.

I was talking to my 5 years older cousin who is now about 65. I talked about the problems I was having with my 13 year old daughter being respectful and he looked at me and said, "Just remember you have no control of the situation at all!" The best you can do is just smile and prevent fatalities of your daughter and her friends by using Pavlovian methods. He said, "You just have to find out what they want and use that as a carrot and the stick being that if they don't live their lives in ways that will keep them alive and in one piece you take what they most want away. Otherwise, what happens could be fatal to them. But don't believe you really have any control at all."

Since his daughters are now both in their 30s and married with children and since both got bachelor's degrees and graduate degrees and have successful careers,I feel it behooves me to listen to him how he helped facilitate this successful outcome.

So, today as my wife and I took my 13 year old daughter to our grief therapist, this time to address setting up successful rules and boundaries that will take our 13 year old daughter and us, (hopefully) into her adulthood and as long as we live, I thought of my cousin and what he had said to me recently.

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