Hi Alena. It’s me. You’re past self. How much have I grown since then you may be asking, because that’s what I would be asking myself right now if I was reading this. So after a late night of watching Dr. Phil, Laci Green and eating a bit too much stake after calling that vegetarian thing quits, I have decided to write you a little note. Let me start just by saying that I think my parents are amazing, strong, intelligent, loving people, and I am so grateful to them for everything they have ever done. But that means I get to build on their teachings by my own experiences and lessons learned now. But you, future me, already know that about me of course. I know over the years though that my experiences may fog, and god forbid, you will forget what it was like to be teenage Alena. (PS sorry that you’re memory sucks because I don’t have the patience for crosswords). Please don’t criticize the mistakes I will make in my writing, because as you might recall I’m trying to lay off the perfectionism and just flow a bit more. So, down to business, if you ever get blessed with a child, or decide you want to have the life changing experience of parenthood, I have a few tips based on my experiences.
If its a girl:
Have the talk early! I have heard of lots of eleven year olds getting down and dirty. DON’T BE A HOVER PARENT THOUGH. If you talk super early you open the lines of communication. And remember, don’t shame. Curiosity and sexuality are two healthy things. If the walls never go up, you won’t get shut out. Instead you will be a resource (I hope).
Teach her the dos and don’ts of feminine hygiene ie. don’t douche, how to wash that area, whether or not she ever wants to shave any part of her body, the alternatives to pads and tampons. Start the conversation. Make sure she is NEVER ashamed of her bodily functions. I can remember walking through Shoppers Drug Mart with a box of tampons and feeling as embarrassed as if I was wearing a dunce hat, was covered in mud, and had a clown nose on. No more. My mom told me not to be embarrassed, but she didn’t tell me why to be proud.
When she gets older, and you know she’s going to a party, ASK HER IF THERE WILL BE ALCOHOL. Don’t just not ask out of fear of the truth. Don’t support your daughter drinking underage, but don’t be purposefully ignorant about it. You need to make sure she knows stuff like to not leave her drink unattended or take drinks she herself didn’t see poured. Make sure she sleeps over at a friends that’s within walking distance, at the house, or offer to pick her up after. I also don’t recommend you allowing her to go to non b-day parties before the age of fifteen or sixteen. JUST SAYING. Talk to her about the dangers of alcohol abuse. She should know she got that gene.
Even if you adopt a religion and want to teach her about it, also teach her critical thinking. Sunday school left me with a lot of misconceptions and we just didn’t talk about stuff like that in my family. Teach her about acceptance of all people despite their belief systems unless harmful to others. You know the drill, beautiful self.
Encourage her to come out of her room.
If she says she thinks she’s mentally ill. Fucking believe her enough to take her to a doctor asap. You know exactly why this one is on here.
If she can’t seem to keep her room clean, offer to help clean with her. Play music. Have fun. Often its just the psychological barriers we have to get started that just need to be broken down.
Teach her to love her body.
Hear her out, you aren’t always right I promise.
If its a boy:
Good fucking luck. I don’t know. I hope you do. But if you are still like me, I know you are good at learning, but great at loving deeply, and loving fully. Plus I know you can be empathetic to the point it is detrimental. If you ever decide you want to become a mother, I know you would figure out how to be a good mother.
Love you always,