Lean in. (My approach to parenting teenage girls.)
In 18 days, my daughters will be aged 13, 14, and 15.
Yep, three teenagers.
They are great girls, but well, just given the volume of females in the house, there is a certain amount of….drama.
One of the big things I hear from Dads of teenage daughters is “Well now that they are older, it’s time for their Mom to take the lead. Or maybe for both of us to stand back a little bit. I’ll just lay low and try to avoid being collateral damage.”
And while it may seem like I am fighting inertia on this thing, I think this is exact wrong approach.
I will take the advice of another Dad who had teenage daughter, one who has walked the road I now go down. A few years ago, when I asked him for some advice about what to do when they become teenagers he said this, “When others say it is time to lean away because they are growing up pr becoming more ‘mature’ they are wrong; it is time to lean in.”
Understand where I’m coming from – all the clichés are true; hormones are ranging, boundaries are being stretched, challenges are mounting, and all sorts of influences are coming at them regularly.
Their life is, simply put, crazy.
With all this going on, why would I lean away?
I will certainly be as appropriately respectful as I can be of their needs for freedom, and for expanding boundaries. I will allow them to broaden their horizons in some areas, and I will stand back as bit as they need a little more space.
But I will fight the urge to drift to the sideline.
I will always be there.
I know that while my responsibilities are changing, my role is not. I am their Dad. I am responsible for their health and well-being, and even though the environment has changed from the happy-go-lucky land of pre-school and puppy dogs to the (sometimes) full-contact battlefield of high school I will not turn, or run, or pull away.
I will lean in.
(And pray like crazy that this is the right thing to do…because just like they are all learning how to be teenage girls; I too am learning…how to be the Dad of a trio of teenage girls.)