Things I Would Do Over in Raising Girls

by Brenda Yoder, MA

Raising girlsTonight I spoke at a Mother-Daughter Banquet. Working with young adolescent girls, I know the frustrations parents have trying to navigate through female development.  My own journey with my daughter, now twenty-one, was not-so-easy.  If I was raising girls all over again, here are things I would do again and things I would do differently.

Things I Would Do Again 

  • be home full-time to watch her grow
  • have tea parties
  • play dress ups
  • read her books
  • take her to parks
  • sing to her
  • have play dates
  • lay beside her bed and pray for her when she’s sleeping
  • take her to museums
  • take her on a road trip
  • be honest about my life when she asked hard questions
  • have her dad intervene when she wouldn’t listen to me
  • have her dad date her when other girls had boyfriends
  • tell her dad what girls need to hear
  • write her notes when she didn’t want to listen to me
  • make time for her even when exhausted
  • talk to her about sex at age-appropriate levels
  • stay up late when she wanted to talk
  • stand firmly even when it hurts
  • hold her loosely 

Things I Would Do Over

  • trusted God earlier and more often
  • bit my tongue more
  • walked away more
  • let her and her brothers work out fights more on their own
  • given her space more often
  • realized some things are just that way, and it’s okay
  • realized earlier she’s not me
  • listened more
  • lectured less
  • prayed more
  • been more patient
  • told her I was proud of her
  • appreciated her more
  • encouraged her more
  • given more grace
  • hugged her more
  • held her just one more time

When she was five, I realized for the first time she was not a product of me.

As an adult, I realize she’s absorbed things I didn’t think she was paying attention to.

That’s the mystery of parenting.

The things you think you’re responsible for, you’re not

The things you doubt they absorb, they do.

The other mystery of parenting?

Somewhere between tea parties and tiaras,

They grow up

What would you “do-over, raising girls?”