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Confession: I Don’t Want My Daughter to be a Teen Slut Like Me

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I wish I could pick and choose how my daughter is like me. Right now I know how much she looks and acts like I did as a young child. I’d give her my sense of humor and academic skills, but withhold the busty chest, self-doubt, and low self-esteem.

18 year old me.

18 year old me.

Fickle self-esteem

Maybe it’s because my home life was unstable throughout my formative years or that I got fat around third grade or developed breasts in fourth grade, but my self-esteem and self-worth were all over the map. I grew up knowing I was smart. I mostly knew I was loved by my family, but I never felt like I belonged.

I often felt out of place.

I felt different… weird.

I craved acceptance and constant reassurance that people liked me. That I was funny. That I was smart. (I guess you could say there’s still some of that in my place even now.)

There are things about me that I thought very highly of – like my intelligence and creativity. Everything else was a crapshoot on any given day. For the most part I was confident and comfortable with my body, but only after I learned how to use it.

My ticket to being desired

The thing about craving love and acceptance is how it can lead you down the wrong path. Mix low self-esteem with teenage hormones and I was a hot mess. I liked boys, but they didn’t like me… at first.

I’ve struggled with my body image for a long time. It’s still a sore subject for me no matter how I try to cover it up. Being the fat kid is never easy. Add in early boobs that become a new source of insecurity and unwanted attention, then glasses too. I’m thankful I never needed braces.

Well, after losing weight by half starving myself, I started getting compliments. From friends. From family.

I looked good. (Or better, at least. I still didn’t like to sit down in front of anyone in case they saw belly rolls.)

Then I got a boyfriend.

And another.

And another…

Quickly and repeatedly I confused sex for love. I was never without a “boyfriend” for long. Sometimes I was even seeing more than one at a time. It became almost like a game. Guys would cheat on their girlfriends with me. I’d break up with a guy then turn around and date his best friend.

It was bad… now that I can look back at it. I’m lucky my poor decisions and mistakes didn’t impact my life in a bigger way. Though I feared my sleeping around in my younger years had something to do with our trouble conceiving. Testing showed it hadn’t, but that scared and infuriated me for awhile.

I don’t want her to be like me as a teenager

I want my daughter to do well in school and have a bright future. I want her to do “safe” stupid things. I want her to have friends and have fun.

I do not want her to be a slut like me.

It’s funny, because I refused to believe I was one back then. Of course a few choice people would sling that term at me.

“They’re just jealous,” I’d tell myself.

And maybe they were, because they certainly didn’t have my best interests in mind. But, I was one. I was surrounded by people but so lonely that I sought the only comfort I knew how to get.

And every time I was convinced they liked me more than they really did. I thought most of them really loved me and if they didn’t, that they at least were my friend.

It’s a hard truth to swallow

I can’t tell you what those guys really thought of me, nor do I want to know now. My parents weren’t bad parents. I grew up in an oddly dysfunctional way, but I don’t know exactly how that factored in. Thankfully I slowed down in college. I matured and entered into meaningful relationships (and eventually met my amazing husband). I regained my self-worth, even if it still fluctuated.

But how do I prevent this from happening to my daughter? How do I teach her that she’s too valuable to be used like that… that love isn’t found between the sheets?

Building her self-esteem starts now… and hopefully she’ll have a stronger sense of self than I did. I suppose I will need to be honest with her about my own experiences. I suppose I could have her read this as well as the love lessons I wrote for her.

I need to teach her to love herself. I believe that I wouldn’t have been so free with my heart and body if I hadn’t struggled with my own self-image and worth.

Knowing what you did as a teenager, do you worry about what your kids might do?

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