By an Arab mom
As an Arab woman and a mom I dreaded this day. I often ran scenarios in my head as to what would I do? I read lots of articles and discussed with my friends their opinion. I even hypothesized with my husband how we should react; what can we say and anything we need to do if we are ever confronted with such a situation.
The situation I am referring to is my teenage daughter having a boyfriend; and one might say with what this may entail!
My 16 year old daughter casually told me she is going steady and that she is in love with her boyfriend of 6 months. Nothing prepared me for that moment. I was frozen, I became speechless. Six months I was clueless. 16 years and she is talking about love!
As Arabs, this goes against all that we were taught and what society expects. Personally, this is not how I was brought up. Fear of being judged by the closest of family and friends rushed through my head. What will my husband do? What shall I do?
I composed myself and had a simple choice to make; get angry and do something crazy or embrace my teenage daughter and “talk” to her. I opted for the later. I realized at this moment that I needed to be closer to my daughter, needed to befriend her and I needed to give her the feeling of security and love. I needed to realize that my daughter is only 16 and she needs guidance and support. She needs to listen and learn from her parents and not from her school mates or get influenced by peer pressure. I needed to brush off what society and even opportunistic friends and family members could say and focus on my daughter and her “situation”. Yes a situation and phase she is going through and will most likely grow out of to become a more mature and a stronger woman.
I guess all I’m trying to say is, anytime you are confronted with a difficult situation curb your anger and focus on finding solutions. My daughter is now 18 and finishing high school this year. She is my best friend and we share stories, and enjoy doing things together. I am sure my daughter is ready for the world, and yes as a young Arab woman that respects Arab traditions and values.