This is the second installment of my 10 QUICK RULES FOR RAISING DAUGHTERS WHO WANT YOU IN THEIR LIVES AS KIDS, TEENAGERS and ADULTS. I began with Rule #1: Never criticize “the boyfriend.”
Due to popular demand, I am continuing the series… here is the next rule.
Rule #2: NEVER DIMINISH A BROKEN HEART (and never, ever say, “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” or anything like it)
This rule is necessary to heed even early on in the life of mother-to-daughter because broken hearts start early on.
Yes, as early as kindergarten, when some pretend-friend invites every girl in the class but your daughter to her birthday party.
Now, why is this?
Perhaps your daughter reads better. Swings higher. Or shows some competitive edge that the mother of the pretend-friend perceives? The question remains forever rhetorical because there is no real answer.
But the broken heart is. Real, that is. And it is the type of thing that lasts seemingly forever.
The important thing is to be honest with your daughter. “Honey, I know that you are very hurt. And I have no idea why Lindsay would do something like that.” And you hug her and tell her, “We cannot control what other people do. We can only try to never hurt people in that way.”
Never, ever say , “There are plenty of other parties that you will be invited to,” because she doesn’t give a hoot in hell about these other parties.
She will feel helpless. Hopeless. Lost. And the week before the party, as well as the week or two after the party, will be worse for your daughter than the day of the party itself. The chatter will be interminable. “What are you getting Lindsay?” “Didn’t we have the greatest time at Lindsay’s party?”
But… and this is a really big but.. this little “Lindsay” character will become the standard for broken hearts in your daughter’s future.
When the first real boy-related broken heart happens, never, ever say, “Oh, there are plenty of fish in the sea.” She doesn’t give a rat’s ass about those fish aplenty.
Instead, you recall Lindsay.
“Honey, I know that you are very hurt. And I have no idea why (oh, I could name dozens of boys here who broke my daughters’ hearts!) would want to break up with you. But remember Lindsay back in kindergarten?”
Your daughter will cry, “What are you talking about?”
“You remember Lindsay. You didn’t get invited to her birthday party.”
To which she will sob (and probably scream), “What are you talking about?”
“I am talking about feeling helpless. And hopeless. And lost. I am talking about a broken heart.”
And depending upon how old your daughter is for her first broken heart, you may be able to add… “Remember how that little bitch made you feel? Well, it sucks really bad. And if I could have jumped in and taken your place, I would have. And I would now, too, as your heart is being broken into pieces. But you know how it feels because of that little twit. And you know that you can move through it, however long it takes, because you already have.”
Hmmmmmmm. It may not be EXACTLY the same, but it will give your daughter food for thought. Maybe an open line of communication. She will not laugh or even chuckle at this time (that won’t come for years later, like when she is reading this blog!).
But one thing is certain… your daughter will know that you are aware of her pain. You will never diminish it. You are honest.
And you will take it on.