Same-sex mother of two, Ranae von Meding, talks about the challenges of raising girls in today's society and how she and her wife model certain behaviours to instil kindness and confidence in their daughters.
Raising girls can be a daunting task in today’s society. Allowing them to fully be themselves can be a challenge.
We live in a world where much has changed, yet sadly so much is still the same. We have broken down and burned the patriarchy again and again. Women have lived and died to ensure that future generations don’t have to suffer the same oppression as they did.
Yet despite all of this, there is still there is so much residual persecution and blatant discrimination towards women.
As a same-sex parent, I am acutely aware of the extra challenges that our little women may have to navigate in the course of their lives. Raising them as strong, independent and kind humans is the most important thing we will ever do.
Our daughters have two female role models. Two of us from which their whole concept of being female will be modelled on. How we view ourselves and interact within our community will form the basis of how they do so themselves.
One of the ways we can influence our girls is
through how they see us treat ourselves. Do we view ourselves in a positive or
negative way? If we constantly criticise ourselves, how can we expect them to
do any differently?
Growing up, I had an awful relationship with my body- I hated the skin I was in. It’s taken many years but I’m more appreciative of how much my body has done for me. It’s survived the hell I put it through and given us two beautiful daughters.
So, trying to instil body positivity and acceptance in them is of huge significance to me. I hope they never lose that little girl innocence of dancing around totally naked and having no reservations about doing so! We always tell them, ‘never be ashamed, baby girls.’
That’s what it comes down to really isn’t it? Loving
yourself and being proud of who you are. Standing up for yourself and knowing
your worth in a society that doesn’t always see your true value.
Modelling behaviour for our girls:
- Children see everything. And I mean everything. So make sure that your children see you being treated the way that you would want them treated. If you allow others to speak down to you or mistreat you, they will grow up to think this is normal behaviour.
- This goes for how you treat others. Speak about others in a respectful manner. The only way to stop the cycle of hatred and bigotry in our society is to show our kids that all people are equal and deserve equal status, respect and recognition.
- Showing the girls that they are in control of their own bodies is so important. For a long time children, and girls in particular, have been told to ‘shut up and be pretty.’ We are teaching our girls to use their voices and that ‘pretty’ is something that comes from the inside. Kindness is the most important quality that we want for them.
- We never force the girls to give hugs or kisses to anybody, including us. I think that kids have an innate sense of what they are comfortable with. We do not own their bodies. It’s important that they feel a sense of ownership for themselves and learn that it’s ok to say no to people when they are uncomfortable. (That being said we always encourage a high five or a wave if they don’t want to hug.) In my opinion, forcing physical touch on them only plays into the idea that they’re not allowed to say no. And we all know how important that will be for our girls as they grow up. Both in relationships but also in school, the workplace and beyond.
Having children comes with the knowledge that our behaviour will directly affect the course of their lives. It comes with great responsibility… That being said, there is no adventure I would rather be on, than that of raising our little women.