Home' Aurora : Aurora April 2015 Contents 13
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Pastoral Care Worker, Bronwyn Melville, shares
her experience and advice on raising daughters,
inspired by Dr Tim Hawkes' "10 Conversations You
Must Have With Your Son".
Girls just want to have fun - don't they? And is
there anything wrong with that? After all it's just
That is something that doesn't change, no matter
what age they (we) are. But is that all they want?
What about knowing they matter? A study into
the proneness of teenage girls to unplanned
pregnancy and other risk-taking behaviours
noted that nurturing, acceptance and reasonable
parental expectations were needed to decrease
the risk of a teenage girl becoming pregnant
unexpectedly, and engaging in other risk-
taking behaviour s.
Is that all we should be concerned about? When
a young girl is taking risks with her health and
life, this is sure to affect her health and wellbeing
in the long ter m.
In my experience as a mother of girls and a
counsellor, girls do just want to have fun, and
they also just want to be 'in relationship'; to be
loved. Nothing's wrong there.
I have to agree with Dr Tim Hawkes who says
parents are the "fir m islands where a son or
daughter will retur n to get their bearing on
life". Yet I hear so many parents say, 'I couldn't
tell my daughter to do that' or that they have
to give their daughter that phone/device /access
to social media , because 'all their friends have
it', as if that is an iron- clad defence against all
r ationality in parenting.
But what is it our daughter s really need? Do
they really know what is best for them, and can
they really have the wisdom to navigate their
way through the tumultuous teenage year s? I
thank the good Lord social media wasn't around
when I wa s a teenager, clueless and fun loving,
and just wanting to "have fun".
In a world that is unable to move unless the
obligatory "selfie" has been taken and posted, or
every funny, sad or embar rassing moment has
been captured and "grammed", our daughter s
need to know and believe that they are valued
and impor tant, and that what they do really
does matter, to us and to the wider community.
Primarily, girls want to be loved and boys to
So take heed. Your daughter needs you to
be her safety net in an increasingly fast-paced
world where the pressure is on to be perfect
Make it your business to take the time needed
to build that relationship and be there for your
daughter s. Nobody else will care what happens
to them as much as you do. Nobody else will do
it out of unconditional love, with no thought of
TEN IMPORTANT CONVERSATIONS
TO HAVE WITH YOUR DAUGHTER
Ten things your daughter really wants
to hear and know from you (even if she
doesn't think so right now):
1. You are loved, unrepeatable, unique
and impor tant. Especially to me.
2. You have gifts you can use for your life's
impor tant work. Take time to find out
what they are.
3. You can help others by being yourself.
You don't have to be anyone but
your self. We can lear n and respond
to others -- but not change who we
are. Your gifts and talents are grown
and shaped, especially when giving to
others. So find something to do for
others, volunteer or donate.
4. You deser ve to be respected and
treasured. If you are not, you can and
should walk away. Don't post/gr am/
tweet or upload anything you wouldn't
be proud to show your Grandma or
Gr andpa , or your children. Ask what
would Mum and Dad think -- before
you post! Or, don't post! You are not a
body par t and should never be treated
as such. You are a whole per son.
5. Your values, beliefs and idea s are par t
of who you are; don't ever feel you
need to compromise them for anyone.
If you do, you will surely ask your self
'why? ' one day.
6. You deser ve to rest, eat healthy food
and find exercise you enjoy. Nourish
and nur ture yourself -- you are wor th it.
7. It is ok not to feel happy all the time.
That's par t of life and sometimes
you will not have all the answer s. Be
comfor table knowing you don't have
to 'know it all' or 'have it all'. Know
that feeling restless, ner vous, sad or
uncomfor table is par t of a nor mal
healthy life. If you are seriously
distressed, you can and should seek
help from a tr usted adult, friend
8. It is OK to need time away from it
all -- don't overburden your self car r ying
everyone else's load. Take a break and
9. Save for a rainy day and get good
10. Remember to have fun, be safe and
laugh, at yourself and other s, in a spirit
One day, my daughter, you will grow into
the amazing woman I know you are, with
all the richness of the per sonality you have
been given. You will know the impor tance
of your treasured-ness, and how this will
flow into your life as mother, carer, lover,
friend and daughter, the woman you ar e
meant to be. Women, once believed to be
the weaker sex , are strong in their capacity
for love, nur turing, laughter, caring and so
much more ! You are well poised to take on
the world when you believe in your own
abilities and uniqueness.
Don't ever despair as a Mum or carer of
a young girl-becoming-woman that you
don't know what to do. You, by the every
fact that you are her mother, have what
it takes. You, by giving it more than a
cur sor y thought, are already beginning. As
mother s, we may feel we are powerless,
but we are the foundation than underpins
their scr utinised world. You do have what
it takes. You care and that is what is most
impor tant. Your child can tell if they matter
to you. Who ever said parenting was easy?
As for teenage girls -- makes climbing Mount
Everest look like a walk in the park !
Take a br eath and remember you are the
right person for the job, and a little effor t
on your par t can iron out those issues
Encourage your daughters, granddaughters
and friends. No matter how awkward it
may seem, do what you can to encourage
and inspire your teenager, so that they
are empowered to do all they can and
are meant to do. Our role is never
unimpor tant, and as women, we have so
much to offer to others, in love and fun.
Bronwyn Melville is the Pastoral Care
Worker at St Pius X High School,
Adamstown. Dr Tim Hawkes is the
headmaster of The King's School in
Sydney and the author of 10 Conversations
You Must Have With Your Son.
Share your thoughts@auroramagazine
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