Boys are on the scene at my house. Not my boys, other peoples’ boys. The kind of boys that 12-year-old girls notice, and talk about, and giggle over.
Those kind of boys.
I know all about this from the boy side, but this is my first time with a girl, and it’s definitely different. At first, I wanted to protect her from everything that could possibly go wrong when you are 12, and you start noticing boys, but she wasn’t interested in my wisdom. At all.
My earnest advice (lectures) would get the glazed look followed by the eye roll. She would patronizingly point out that she knew all that, and that everything was fine, and to quit worrying mom.
Last Sunday, when we were driving home from the movies, she candidly admitted that if things went wrong with her social life, she wouldn’t tell me. In her words, “she wouldn’t want to prove me right from all my lectures.”
I loved that because I also have a mom, and I hate it when she’s right too.
So, I’ve accepted that I have to let her find her own way and make her own mistakes. Darn. But, since I do have all this really good advice for my daughter, I’ve decided to write it here…and maybe she’ll read it…I’ve heard she reads my blog.
The things I want you to know when boys arrive on the scene:
Keep Raising Your Hand
When you’re in class with that boy, keep raising your hand, and keep getting the answers right. Never hedge your ideas with the words “just” or “sorry” or “I don’t know, but maybe.”
Please don’t ever hold back or apologize for being intelligent. If a boy can’t keep up with you, that’s his problem. I can hear you sighing now, but some girls do this – actually, some grown women do it too.
Don’t allow yourself to become one of them. Never dumb yourself down for any boy. Ever.
Don’t Be So Available.
When the text sound goes off, you don’t have to jump over the dog in a frenzy to get to it. Make him wait a little. Women have known this since the beginning of time, but I think your generation has a harder time with the concept overall. You are used to instantly being in contact with a friend, and so the idea of being unavailable is a foreign idea to you, but when boys are involved, sometimes it’s better to be too busy to hear your phone.
Always let him text first, and do I have to say never send him a picture of yourself that you wouldn’t send to your dad? I can’t imagine that I have to tell you that, but I know the world is a pressure-filled place, and I know you are only 12. I know you aren’t perfect – even though I think you are.
Keep Being You.
You know all that stuff you do – all your interests and activities and fun times with your girl friends? Those are the things that make you the person you are. They keep you interested and interesting. So, keep doing them, and keep being true to your own thoughts and ideas, and please always be willing to stand alone without fear.
Your Dad and your Three Big Brothers Are Good Examples
They are a formidable bunch, but that’s a good thing. You want any boy you like to be willing to knock on our door, shake hands with each of them, and look each of them in the eye.
It will be intimidating, but you are worth it.
They’ve been excellent role models for how any boy should treat you. Look for the boy who will treat you as well as they have. Look for the boy who waits for you to catch up, let’s you have the last bite, values your opinion, laughs at your jokes, and never expects you to do anything that you don’t feel comfortable doing.
I’m here for you.
I promise that I will hug you and cry with you and be happy with you. I promise that I will try not to pry, that I will give you a little credit, and that I won’t let Daddy be too scary when a boy comes over.
Finally, I want you to know that nothing ever goes perfectly. So, please don’t worry about telling me when something goes wrong because believe me, I’ve got plenty of examples of my own to share. Have fun, and always remember I love you no matter what!
Maureen Paschal is a freelance writer, tutor, teacher-librarian and a mom to four. You can find her on Facebook or her blog, Raising The Capable Student Her work has been featured in On Parenting from the Washington Post, Grown and Flown, and Today Parents.