Dear Daughter, This is Why I am Not Going to Get You Through Life’s Hard Moments

Oh, sweet girl, I love you so much and I know how hard you try to keep on top of things. And through the years, your life has become much more complicated with work, school, sports, your active ministry involvement, and the constant barrage of choices you are making every day to keep all those balls in the air. You are surely bound to drop a few. And you have.

There are many times your priorities get a little wonky and you let the important things slip. There are times when you haven’t yet figured out how to pace yourself and then you crash and burn in exhaustion and can’t keep up with your responsibilities. There are times when you don’t plan ahead and forget significant tasks you needed to do for the next day and you have to face the consequences of being unprepared, frantic, and forgetful.

There are times when you need to do some hard things and face some tough consequences and oh, how I wish I could do it all for you. How I wish I could just make everything easier, more bearable, more manageable for you. How I wish I could just save you from every hurt and hard fall, every disappointment and discomfort you feel…

Mom and daughter
Here’s why you need to get through hard times on your own. @maginnis via Twenty20

But I can’t. I won’t. I love you too much to enable you.

Because it’s in these tough lessons where you grow. It’s in these hard moments where you learn. It’s during these rough times where you grapple through your consequences and figure out how to pick up the pieces, or dust off your breeches, or face your failures, with newfound strength to pull you through.

If I swooped in the save you, if I dove in to rescue you, if I scooped each circumstance up into my hands and took care of things for you- how would you ever learn to do it all for yourself?

How would you learn how to do life with all it’s complicated choices if I chose them for you? How would you discern what’s most important with me telling you what to do? How would you find the courage to take all those scary steps on your own, if I took them for you? How would you conjure up the right words to say, if I said them for you?

When you face your responsibilities on your own and feel the weight of your circumstances, you are developing the ability to manage your discomfort and own your difficult decisions. You are building the skills you’ll need to navigate your own road and steer your own wheel on what will often be very tough terrain ahead.

So now is the time to handle difficult teachers, harsh bosses, and packed schedules. Now is the time to pay those late fees when you’re forgetful, apologize to those you have let down, and feel the frantic turn in your stomach when you realize you must take responsibility for the unfortunate situations you find yourself in.

And often that requires having uncomfortable conversations with people in order for you to be accountable for your mishaps, your needs, and your goals. I am trying to teach you how to use your voice now. I want to equip you with the courage to walk into crowded rooms with confidence and approach people who make your knees shake.

I want to build those muscles in you now, so that when you walk out the door and into your life, you’ll be strong enough to walk through closed doors and have the strength to speak up and say what you need to say.

There will be times where you will need to advocate for yourself. You will have to feel secure enough in who you are to be able to step in and pull yourself up to the table and take up space in places that don’t seem to have room for you.

There will be times you will have to be brave enough to defend yourself for the sake of what’s right, where people may not want to listen or learn what you have to say. And there will be many times when you will need to face your faults and apologize for your mistakes. You will have to find ways to resolve conflicts and rectify problems you created.

And it’s all so hard to learn, these trials and tests of your maturity and your integrity. But I believe in you. I know you are figuring it all out through every misstep and fumble, every scramble and stumble- and no one ever gets it right all the time. So, take heart, my growing girl. You are learning how to do life well.

I only have a few years left to teach you how to follow through on your commitments, take responsibility for your actions, and step into difficult conversations. I love you too much to stunt your growth, to protect your innocence, and leave you vulnerable by feeding your dependency on me.

You are slowly developing the fine art of juggling all those balls while carefully, mindfully, and respectfully picking up the ones you drop. And with it comes apprehension, anxiety, and a whole lot of discomfort. I know. Growing up isn’t easy. It can be downright agonizing at times.

And listen, you will make mistakes for the rest of your life. Everyone does. So, don’t lose heart when you fail, don’t allow those circumstances to take you down, but rather use them to build new ways to do life better. It’s all about the learning. We’re all learning for the rest of our lives.

Life isn’t about our mistakes and failures, it’s about how you manage to rectify them, recover from them, and stay accountable because of them. It’s all about how we grow from today’s decisions and take them into tomorrow’s goals.

It’s a rough ride, for sure. But I’ll keep helping you round those sharp corners with encouragement and guidance, as I watch you take more turns on this winding road that will lead you out into the world, away from me.

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About Christine Carter

Christine Carter writes at, where she hopes to encourage mothers everywhere through her humor, inspiration, and faith. You can also find her work on Your Teen for Parents, Moms of Tweens and Teens, Parenting Teens and Tweens, Scary Mommy, Motherly, For Every Mom, Grown and Flown, and Her View from Home. She is the author of “Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.” And “Follow Jesus: A Christian Teen’s Guide to Navigating the Online World.” Both sold on Amazon.

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