This topic is hard. I get it. I fondly remember the days when I was in charge of scheduling every detail of a "play date", from who she played with to when, where and what they played. I never took my eyes off the kids when she had friends over, and always knew exactly where and what they were doing. To this day, I tell my kids that my most important job is to keep them safe, physically and emotionally. As a lawyer, I've seen my share of scary in the world and if I haven't seen it, my imagination can make it up just to torture me. Letting go, even in small increments, is not easy for me.
And yet, she is growing up. She is smart, capable, resourceful and I trust her judgment. Part of making sure she continues to develop confidence means I have to give her chances to be independent knowing this will cause me some discomfort. At the same time, I have to help her choose safe environments for these new experiences, and I have to give her the tools she needs. While some lessons can be learned through trial and error, when it comes to boys, peer pressure, and girl drama in a social setting, I firmly believe that her ability to handle different challenges should not be left to chance.
So, I will make her as strong as possible by giving her the tools she needs. I want to be sure that she is well equipped to stand strong, be true to who she is, to value herself, and command respect. She will know how to say "NO" in a firm but kind way unless a stronger response is needed, and she will fearlessly make good choices without hesitation. I want this and more for all of our girls, and I hope that together we can build a community of strong girls who support each other and lift each other up as they face the social challenges to come. As I work with the girls, I see clearly that they WANT to stand up; many times they just don't know how to respond in the moment. We are changing that.
I won't ever like letting go, but knowing our girls have more confidence, strength, and the tools to stand up for themselves and each other makes me believe we will soon see a positive shift in the world of girls. They need these tools whether its a mixer, party, or social gathering down the road. This is just the beginning, and while it is daunting to navigate as parents, we have an awesome opportunity to empower our girls so they can handle anything they face.