My oldest daughter turns 16 today and if you’ve been following me on Instagram or FB then you’ll have seen I took her on a trip – something I promised my kids I would do for this special birthday years ago.

This trip was important for a few reasons:
~I want her to have amazing memories.
~I want there to be a connection between us that goes beyond the average mother/teenage drama we’re going through right now.
~I want to help cultivate a desire to travel and see new things.

I think I accomplished all of these things. My oldest isn’t one who likes to try new things – but she walked away from our trip asking if we could do it again and go to a different place next time. She also opened up to me about things in her life and for three days we didn’t have one disagreement.

That in itself is a miracle! (if you have a teenage daughter or have ever had one…you know exactly what I mean!)

Young couple in love outdoor.Turning 16 is a pretty big deal for her. It means she also gets to date. (gulp)

Now, if you’re friends with me on FB you might have seen a post a few weeks ago about my daughter being asked out on a date and I asked a question – should I be the nice mom and let her date 2 weeks before her birthday or do I stick hard to our rule and make her wait. I already knew what I was going to do…but it was so interesting to read the responses.

Yes, you read that right. We have a rule in our home – you have to wait till your 16 to date. Now, before you shake your head at me, let me explain my reasonings.
~I want to protect my daughters from unnecessary heartache. It’s going to happen, I know this. But it doesn’t need to happen at ages 12, 13, 14 etc.
~I want them to respect themselves and teach the boys in their lives to respect them as well. (I realize it might not happen, but hey…)
~The rule began as a joke – one daughter had a crush on a boy at the age of 12 and we teasingly said she had to wait. She believed us and when her other friends started to date early and had their hearts broken, she would come back and say, I’m glad I’m waiting.

So…did I (and by I, I mean we – my husband and myself) give in and let her date early? No. We asked our daughter to respect our rules but in all honestly, we didn’t have to ask. She’d already told the boy that she had to wait and he agreed. He even went so far as to say he would make sure her first date was a special one. (awww…)

In that moment my daughter realized something…she was worth waiting for. 

Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. Our roles as parents are to teach our children, to train them, to protect them and prepare them. Something I’ve realized while raising daughters is that it’s also our jobs to teach and show them what they are worth.

We all raise our children differently and we all raise each children different as well. With three girls, I’m not naive in thinking they will all wait to give their heart to a boy. But I hope, that in this journey, they will all know one thing – they are special and worth being treated like gold.

Happy 16th Birthday to my daughter. May your smile always light your heart and bring joy to those around you. May your soul always remain pure and may you know you will always be loved.