As a child what did the word Daughter mean to me?
Well, the truth of the matter is I never gave this much thought until the other day when I was working on my prompt journal . Now I can’t seem to get it out of my mind how drastically the definition of the word daughter has changed to me as I’ve gotten older. This question seems to run very deep for me and I wonder if my parents realized what they were creating and molding me into with their way of parenting.
I was taught from a very young age that as a daughter I was to be well-behaved, sweet, kind polite, listen to my elders and not ask questions or disobey I was to trust anyone older to guide me and keep me safe because they knew best, regardless of the way I felt I was to have no voice and ignore my feelings. Speaking up for myself was considered disrespectful and would lead to physical punishment. I truly believe my parents did the best with what they knew, parenting does not come with a handbook. Unfortunately, the lessons they were trying to teach backfired and made me more vulnerable to the grooming of predators.
Knowing that I am my own woman I’m able to reflect and have a voice. As I look back I believe that having these core beliefs implanted into my value system so young set me up for the toxic relationship that I had in my past relationships. As a young girl, all I wanted was love and acceptance and I believed it was up to me as a good girl to be pretty and obey my elders. Once a man showered me with any type of attention I immediately thought that was love and even if I felt uncomfortable I believed I was to ignore these feelings, that my thoughts and opinions did not matter. This slowly allowed me to lose myself not being able to recognize when I was being mistreated or abused. Now that I’m an adult and not only a daughter but I am now a mother I like to look back at the things I was taught as a child and what can I learn from my past in order to help create a better future for my child.
I have come to realize that whether you are a daughter or a son it’s important that we adults teach our children that they matter, that their voice and opinions matter and are worth being heard. It’s also important to teach our children to listen to their own gut feelings and if something doesn’t feel right there is no reason for them to ignore their own feelings. setting boundaries is very important for children to learn in order to protect themselves from feeling less than. Whether you are 5 or 25 you have the right to be treated with respect, if someone is mistreating you it is ok to speak about it you do not need to let it continue.
I do not blame my parents for the trauma I endured as their daughter whereas I know they had no ill will. They did the best with what they knew and from my life experiences, I believe I can learn from my past experiences to parent my child the best I know how. My goal is to instil the core belief that my child’s feelings, opinions and thoughts matter and that when they speak their voice is heard. They have every right to be treated with respect. I’ve also learned that as an adult daughter, my role is to show my parents respect to use communication in a healthy way, and to be understanding and forgiving rather than being filled with anger and blame. Parent-child relationships are very important and I know they aren’t always easy. There are always going to be good days and bad days but forgiveness, respect, communication and love go a long way.
Thank you Mom and Dad for being the best parents you knew how to be I know I wasn’t always the best daughter as a child and I am doing the best I can to use the things you taught me in a healthy way to override the struggles and confusion mix msgs I may have gotten and become the kind loving respectful adult daughter you always wanted me to become