Have you ever heard the saying we raise our daughters and love our sons? It wasn’t until my son became older that I really realized what that meant. Now it is time for tweaks in my parenting to make sure it is done right.
I look at my family dynamic and see this saying first hand. We have 80% girls in our family and in fact, it was almost 18 years before a male was ever born. And boy did we love him.
The girls in the family were all raised to be strong and independent. We were raised to lead and be leaders. I was raised with a bunch of alpha females. Since there were no boys in the family, we fought our own battles and we were tough. Fiercely independent to a fault that showed up in relationships or other areas in our life.
That is what happens when you RAISE girls they become strong, independent women. Nothing is wrong with that but the love aspect is missing.
Now when it comes to the males in the family, it was a different story. The first boy in the family was all of our baby and we could not get enough of him. He never wanted for LOVE, he had more than enough and he could do no wrong. When he got old enough to date, like typical girl cousins, we circled the wagons. No one was ever good enough. In fact, I don’t know how anyone dated him because we scrutinized every aspect of who they were. Sometimes with a little “if you hurt him, we will hurt you.” Like I said, we loved the hell out of him. I say loved because two years ago, he was killed. There is no heartbreak like the one that comes with burying someone whose diaper you changed. So, I spent a lot of time wondering if we had balanced raise with love, would things have been different for him.
There is a certain discernment that comes with being raised: You learn how to be more aware of people and situations, you can be your own best friend and more self-reliant. However, when you are raised, you are always dealing with the unknown: love. You aren’t really sure what it looks like, you aren’t even really sure how to give it.
Being loved is a little different: It gives you a sense of trust that you are almost oblivious to the fact that not everyone loves you. Everyone is your friend, at least in your head. You have a level of confidence like a superhero and can’t be stopped. However, your independence is not fully formed because you are used to the people who love you taking care of you.
That brings me to my own situation, loving my son and learning how to raise him. The other day, my son expressed the need to move out and do his “grown man” thing. It broke my heart, like the day he left for boot camp. I am not ready and I expressed that. After much thought, much much thought, I had a moment of clarity and felt guilty. Not only did I love him, I did in fact raise him (unequally, I must admit). He is a soldier, a college student and he works full-time. He is more prepared for life than I was at 19.
So I bit the bullet, I told him truthfully that I would never be ready for him to leave, but I know what I put in him so I trust he will make the right decisions in life.
As a parent, we have to find the balance in the raise/love equation.
- Don’t give gender specific chores.
- Teach both to lead and be leaders
- Encourage both athletic and academic activities
- Foster confidence by challenging them to be independent
- Do not DO their job applications/ teach them how
These are a few things that I have learned and am learning in my parenting journey, sometimes you just have to pivot a little bit. Put in an effort to learn how to do both. If you were raised or loved, do some soul-searching to do it right for your children’s sake.
Peace & Love