I make every attempt to raise my daughter with the same set of standards as my two boys had. I don’t want to make allowances for the gender divide as the reality is that what needs to be done doesn’t care if you’re male or female. The dishes need to be washed, the trash needs to be taken out, and the house needs to be cleaned. What they’ve all have in common is the standard teenage attitude about doing said chores. I will say, however, as each of them got older, including my 17-year-old daughter, there is more compliance. The essence of attitude is still present, but I appreciate no longer hearing the negative feedback.
There is, however, no avoiding the benefits being the baby of the family. I notice we are far more generous of our time and financial resources. Although we pushed the boys to get a job, with our daughter we tried to persuade her not to go to work while in high school. She is doing extremely well academically and has clubs she’s a part of along with social activities. We offered her an allowance with the potential of making more—something that wasn’t offered to the boys. We presented the potential issues of customer service and were rather dramatic about how she would lose social opportunities.
To no avail, she got a job anyway. She wanted to earn her own money and it would be way more than she’d get from us. There‘s definitely honor in her wanting to be independent from us. I guess that’s the whole point in raising responsible kids. The motivation is getting her own car. We are in no hurry to have her out on the roads, but not surprised by the teenage quest for having their own set of wheels. We were no different at that age.
Her job is a twenty-minute ride away and because she is a minor in school, they only allow her to work on the weekends. I love that given my concern with her school work. We have to take her, which is a slight annoyance with a 40-minute round trip. Our son (who got a job at the same theme park) rode the city bus. We won’t let her ride public transportation and I made no qualms of stating it’s because she was a female. She was, at first bothered by that—which I appreciated in theory. Like it or not, the safety issues are far greater for a young girl than a boy. Naturally, I acquiesced (for argument’s sake), but once I explained that she would have to either take two separate buses or walk almost two miles to a bus stop in order to take one bus, she let it go quickly. Her response as we drove by the bus stop on the way to drop her off at work?
“It’s a good time to have ovaries.”
Our daughter is doing exactly as hoped, becoming a self-sufficient adult. She’s taking charge of her life and make decisions that benefit her. My attempts to ignore the fact she’s a girl and allow her to understand there are no limitations because of it failed in this regard—mostly. This won’t stop me from encouraging her to be strong, assertive, and take what she wants out of life. Not to brag, but I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far.
“Like a detective keenly searching for clues, our daughters are solving the mystery of womanhood itself.”~Mary Keeton-Digby