As an empowerment coach, I enjoy a very interactive online experience. Recently, I extended the invitation to the people who follow me on social media to post questions that they would like me to answer.
One woman asked: “What would you like daughters to know about relating with men and about relationships in general?” As a father of a 13-year-old daughter, I have already been having conversations with her. This, however, gave me the opportunity to look further down the road to what I would like her to know for the future.
The pertinent information about girls and boys, teens, young women and men, not-so-young women and men, and so on, evolves. I already had the talk with her and her friends that “some boys will say things just to get you to do things.” This tempered pre-cursor to “boys will lie to get you in bed,” is definitely one of the warnings I do think is necessary for them to know. But it is part of a larger picture.
The reality is, no parent has any control over our child’s sexual curiosity, desire or choices. There is no “one size fits all,” and some will be interested and active sooner than others. Given that, I believe the most important advice I can give to daughters, and sons for that matter, is: “Know Yourself.”
Spend time learning what you like, what feels good, what doesn’t feel good, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. When you know what situations and people feel good to you and what does not, you get to be discerning. Even more important, by focusing on doing the things that fill you up, you get to move through life as a being that is whole and complete; not looking for someone else to fill a hole.
One of my closest friends has a 15-year-old daughter. She is a world-class athlete and has been focused on this since she could walk. She is so involved in what she does that she is not “looking” for a boyfriend.
If someone comes along that she feels something for, as a teenager, she will then get to experience being in a relationship with someone, as opposed to for someone. This important distinction comes up with most of the adult couples I work with in my coaching practice.
The ideal space to be in is being together as whole and complete individuals, working together for a relationship that supports both of you, as partners. You understand each other’s needs and desires, and provide those because it serves the both of you. Coming from this place, versus needing someone to make you feel good about yourself, gives you the best chance of experiencing a happy and fulfilling partnership.
My advice to my daughter? Live your life. Do what makes you happy and enjoy the people who join you on your journey.
Also, be nice to your Dad.
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