#ParentFail Raising Strong Daughters
I’ve failed at parenting 101.
As far as I’m concerned the only goal for daughters is to raise them strong.
And apparently I failed at that one thing.
I’m partly horrified and partly really angry.
Both at myself.
Today I picked up my daughter for an Orthodontist appointment.
You know. Just one of 20 or 30 total over 2 and 3 years?
Our secret girl time. Shhh don’t tell her teachers.
I pick her up from school always scheduled around her lunch time to both minimize her time away from classes and to take advantage of mother daughter secret lunch time. Usually the appointments are less than 20 minutes and after a nutritious lunch at Chick-Fil-A or Taco Bell (close enough to nutritious?) we head back and deposit the 13 year old firmly back in Middle School English. You’re welcome Ms. Smith.
These appointments are rarely eventful.
Changed to a larger wire.
Changed to a smaller wire.
Keep wearing the rubber bands.
I know we PROMISED you would be over the bands after one more visit.
We Lied. (It’s a THING with Orthodontists, never believe their timeframe.)
But today was different. She was agitated after the appointment. We were making the neverending 6 week follow up appointment and clearly she was in pain. I asked if she needed Ibuprofen. She said no… her mouth was numb but bothering her. Numb is weird for the Ortho? I guess they had to ‘file’ between her bottom front teeth and there was a need for numbing drops or something?
While telling me some of this she was trembling and began crying just a little bit. Not the tears of pain although she was clearly hurting. These were the tears of a little girl who felt ignored and although 13, had no idea what to do about what had happened. She felt belittled and neglected. She felt shame even.
And can I just say. WHAT is the deal with NOT allowing mom to be back in the treatment room with the kids during Ortho procedures?! (I could rant on this for hours. And next visit will insist.)
She was sitting in the Ortho chair and while they were waiting for her mouth to properly numb she says they walked away and left an air blowing type of device hooked over her lips and somehow blowing/drying(?) the numbed area. And this is what kills me.
It was hurting her.
It was cold air and I don’t know about you but if a dentist attempts to blow cold air into my mouth directly on sensitive teeth (nearly all of my teeth are) I nearly jump out of my chair and have been known to accidentally flail and smack people. It’s not just painful it’s an icepick directly into the nerve of my tooth and fire & ice shooting into the back side of my brain. EXTREME pain. And it might throb for a bit after they stop. I make them wrap my unaffected teeth in cotton while they work on the other ones.
Back to my daughter. She didn’t know what to do, and didn’t dare ask for help, so she LEFT THE OBSCENE COLD AIR THINGY attached to her mouth and blowing directly at her teeth! Causing extreme pain and discomfort and I don’t even know how long it continued. Long enough that 45 minutes after we left her teeth were still throbbing and in a strange level of numb-yet-pain.
First. Our lunch date was totally ruined.
And I hate the Ortho folks just a little bit for ruining the tiny fraction of one on one time with my middle daughter. But I hate myself just a little bit more because I’m most horrified that my STRONG, SMART, STUBBORN daughter did not dare to stand up and speak up for herself. Even though in THAT level of pain.
Especially when in pain? What the heck?!
If my daughter can’t speak up for herself in a relatively safe situation because she doesn’t feel that she can upset the authority in the room, then I have Failed as a Mother.
- How do we help our daughters know deep in their stubborn little selves that they NEVER have to sit in a chair while a tortuous device hurts them? NO MATTER WHAT.
- How do we help them understand that getting up and walking out of ANY situation be it a terrible movie or a slumber party where the words have turned hurtful is always their choice? NO MATTER WHAT.
- How do we help girls of any age but especially teen girls know that there is no one in the world ESPECIALLY never a grownup who gets to hurt them knowingly or unknowingly? EVER.
- How do I help MY daughter speak up for herself in EVERY situation she finds herself in?
Speak up for herself. For others. And for those who can’t speak up.
I want my daughters to not only be strong for themselves in situations that are unsafe but I want them to be strong for everyone around them as well.
I’m going back to square one in parenting 101 of daughters.
The First Class: Speaking Up For Yourself