Going Down Memory Lane Is Like Driving While Looking In The Mirror

Alaina & Me

I recently got caught up cleaning my room and organizing my paperwork. It took a lot longer than I had planned because of all the old pictures I was coming across. This picture of
Alaina and me was when she was around 2 1/2 years old. Her mother and I
had just reconciled after our first separation. My poor baby has gone
through the most out of all the children because she was the oldest and
remembers most of the fights between her mother and I. I will always
look at my baby girl the way I see her in this picture.

I know a lot of fathers feel the same way about their daughters. This can also be a big problem. As we're so busy looking at our daughters as if they are babies they are growing
up faster than we like. As men we forget that girls mature faster than
boys. Their interest in boys is just something we don't want to talk
about and as our girls fill out we fail to hug them because of that
uncomfortable feeling of realizing that your baby is now a young woman.
We're so focused on the way she used to be while time keeps moving
forward. Similar to driving while staring in the rear view mirror, it's
just a matter of time that you'll crash.

As a single parent I've tried my best to keep things well balanced for my children. They will never have the excuse that I was absent from functions. I refuse to allow them the
excuse that their mistakes are because their mom hasn't been there and
when my ego is riding high I've told them that they are better off
having me as a father than some kids are having both parents. I've also
been told that I'm one of the cool dads but now I wonder if I was being
played. I have tried to give my kids the freedom they need to make their
own mistakes but I've also guided them every step and don't expect them
to make certain mistakes. Time has convinced me that sometimes people
don't believe you until they have made that same mistake themselves. My
kids are no exception and so I've incorporated the ever famous phrase "I
told you so".

Teenage girls are a whole new species and I am definitely not an expert but I will share what I have learned so far. Back when I was a teen and started to like girls I would
have to call them at home. Sometimes a parent or older sibling would
answer the phone and so in a nervous tone I had to ask for permission to
speak to the girl. Now most teenage girls have their own cell phones,
emails, twitter, myspace, facebook and instant messenger accounts.
Teenage boys don't have to go through what I went through to court a
young lady. It's all easy access and most teenagers without adult
supervision will push the envelope. Flirtations over text message and
instant messenger programs are widely used by our teens that it's own
phrase has been created, sexting. I also don't remember using such
vulgar language especially if an adult was within earshot.

Recently I was shocked by my daughter and what I saw on her myspace account. I was lucky to catch it early enough thanks to having friends that are always looking out for
the kids and myself. Her facebook account was very different from
myspace but of course on facebook I was her friend. The internet allows
people to take on different personalities and sometimes kids make
themselves feel better by acting a certain way or what they think is
socially acceptable amongst their friends. I have always talked to my
daughter about character and if a certain action is questionable to pray
on it. I have had her write about her experience and what exactly she
was thinking. To make a long story short she liked the attention boys
gave her by being a certain way. She did not think of the long term
consequences such as college recruiters, employment recruiters, or even
child predators reading what she was putting out there. Another thing
she didn't think about was that the relationship with boys who liked her
myspace account was only going to lead to one thing and it wouldn't be a
relationship worth having. I gave her a lot of freedom and it was all
based on trust. I regret not listening to Dr. Laura's advice against
teens having these social networking accounts. I am now convinced that
our kids need to learn how to socialize face to face and be who they
really are and not be so quick to use their cell phones to text. I have
cut off my daughter's phone and accounts. I might one day pick up a
phone for emergency reasons only but it will not have text functions or a
camera. For now she will always have change on her to use a pay phone.

I was so caught up looking at my girl as my baby that I did not even think she was capable of speaking in a vulgar tone. I am still disappointed but at the same time happy that
it was caught and I have been able to talk to her about the
consequences. She didn't fight me on giving up her phone because she is
more concerned at gaining my trust again. Well it's either that or she
felt that I was going to beat her because I was so upset. I was able to
keep my composure and I was amazed at how much she cried just from me
telling her that I was disappointed and didn't trust her anymore. I like
to encourage adopting changes to technology but I still believe there
is so much more value in learning how older generations communicated and
developing valuable relationships by being able to be yourself. God
help our children and our parents to provide the proper guidance.

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Tags: kids, mario, parenting, positive, single, villagran

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