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 ...Suggest a correction