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Letters From Listeners

Being Respected as a Mother
As a divorced mother of two daughters, I struggled with doing the 'right thing' when it came to raising them. It was especially hard when the 'right thing' was also the 'difficult thing' as was most often the case.

As they were growing up, I tried to explain all the adult implications of a sexual relationship. I also told both my daughters, more than once, that if they thought they were mature enough to have sex with a boy, they were also mature enough to get a place of their own without any monetary support from me. I told them if they got pregnant, they would no longer be allowed to live under my roof nor would I raise their child. All of these things (and many others) were said with love and respect, but with a firmness that left no doubt I meant what I said.

We were all together recently and my daughters were thanking me once again for all the 'tough love' I gave to them as they were growing up. I confessed I was so thankful I never faced having to follow through on the promises (not threats) I made to them. I told them while I knew what I said (and believed) were the right things, I was not as sure I would have had the internal fortitude to actually follow through and move them out of my home had they violated my rules. The oldest wisely said, "Mom, it really doesn't matter if you would have been able to follow through - what's important is WE thought you would".

The oldest is now a married 38-year-old attorney with two sons; the youngest is a married 29-year-old physician's assistant. Both of them were virgins when they married after college. They are both wonderful, accomplished women with strong and happy marriages. I could not be more proud of them. We enjoy a close relationship of love and mutual respect and they still call on occasion to ask for my advice.

I am so thankful I made the decision to put being respected as a mother over being friends with my daughters as they were growing up. We now ALL enjoy the benefits of my decision.

Tags: Behavior, Children, Divorce, Do the Right Thing, Motherhood, Motherhood-Fatherhood, Parenting, Raising children, Respect, Values
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