Today one very proud mommy is celebrating her daughter turning 16. As much as there’s a very happy birthday wish in order for the birthday girl, there’s also a high-five and an UBER LARGE congratulations to her parents, who have managed to raise a smart, well-mannered, level-headed daughter.

When I was growing up, back in the day, before fire was invented, my parents biggest concerns were that I would start smoking, maybe drink and get drunk, fall pregnant (boy, talking about counting your ovaries before they hatch – if we knew then, what we knew know, THAT concern would have saved them many a sleepless night) or smoke some weed. If we could get through these molehills, without them becoming mountains, then they had done a good job.

The things parents have to deal with nowadays boggle the mind and shiver the timbers. From young children committing suicide thanks to bullying (cyber or other), nude pics of your child ending up on the internet, the too-fast paced of technology that leaves children confused beyond their years, drugs, abduction, rape, rape drugs, alcohol, peer pressure, depression thanks to a very competitive world, AIDS, the wrong role-models, the pressure to look a certain way, the list is long. The problems we face as parents is even longer.

My ex-boyfriend’s mom was a school teacher for many years and with her experience, patience and love of children, she put a lot of time and effort in raising her two boys, to be the best THEY could be. She instilled a sense of self confidence (not arrogance) that would not be swayed by peer pressure. She gave them an amazing belief in themselves, empowering them to make decisions and to stick with them, never doubting themselves or their decisions.

I often ask parents of (normal) teenager children what their secret to success is and the answer is always the same. Trust, open communication, no judgement and boundaries – enough to keep them safe but not too much that they don’t experience life first-hand…

This is a toast to all the sweet 16’s out there today but also to the moms, dads, extended families and communities that helped raise you to be the best YOU can be xxxx

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