Allison Kugel, Senior Editor of PR.com
Both men and women need to learn how to properly raise girls into women,
in America, in the 21st century. Men are not teaching their daughters
about how to earn money, how to save money and how to invest money. Women
are not stepping in and doing anything about it, because for the most
part, they weren't raised with financial knowledge either.
In my household growing up, I was encouraged to spend every
penny I made on things like: clothes, shoes, makeup
and the like.
My brothers, with every dime they earned, were ushered by my father into
the world of stocks, bank accounts, investments, and saving up for important
monumental purchases, i.e. a first car. This is not a discrepancy that
I noticed as a child or adolescent, mind you. This was a sad circumstance
that I recognized years later, as a young woman trying to make it in the
world with no financial skills.
I didn't understand the origins of my lack of survival ability
at the time, as all that I could focus on was day to day life and how
to deal with each bill, collection notice, and summons as they smacked
me across the face, one after the other. You see, this was my first time
actually seeing a bill. In college I had an American Express Card and
a Mobil Gas Card, both of which monthly statements were mailed to my parent's
house and the bills were magically paid each and every month by my father.
I can remember one particular instance in which I was sitting with some
friends who were chatting about gasoline prices and hemming and hawing
about the financial strain it placed on them as college students. At the
time I always pulled my car up to the "full service" pump, always
requested Super Unleaded and handed over my credit card without blinking
an eye. Now this behavior didn't make me a bad person, but it did make
me an ignorant uninformed person, who was not made to stand on her own
Moving out on my own to Los Angeles at the age of 23 was
the beginning of some crucial character building in my life. Slowly but
surely, my parents pulled the financial plug. At first it felt as though
they pulled the plug on my life support, as I lay incapacitated in a hospital
bed. I was flat lined; dead. I had no idea where to go from there and
I plummeted into a depression. I was arguing with my father on the phone
one day and he said, "I think I made a really bad mistake. I never
made you sink or swim on your own and now I am going to correct it by
making you sink or swim on your own no matter how much it hurts me to
see you struggle." I pleaded, bargained, experienced denial, anger,
sound familiar?? Those are the classic emotional phases
of death. The last phase: acceptance. I had to accept the fact that I
was dead broke, in debt, and in legal trouble for lack of paying parking
tickets and not registering my car with the California DMV. Poverty feeds
on itself. They say that wealth begets wealth, but poverty REALLY begets
poverty! I was poverty stricken at the ages of 23, 24 and 25 after growing
up with an extremely cushiony safety net. Although comfortable, that safety
net was pure poison! Had I not gone through extreme struggle in my early
to mid twenties, I would not be the person I am today. The person I am
today is focused, competent, and independent.
I can't tell you how many times I speak to male friends
of mine who tell me about yet another date with a 20 or even 30 something
year old woman who had nothing more to contribute to the evening's conversation
then the last pair of shoes she purchased or the new Prada handbag that
she has her eye on. Where is the wisdom, the education, the empathy, or
the comprehension of world events? Many of these women are indeed college
graduates, but were most likely there to explore the illustrious world
of sorority life while trying to earn their "MRS." Degree. The
world is changing and it is no longer a given that a young woman will
go from mommy and daddy's house to college to getting married and moving
in with a gainfully employed and much more world weary partner, who will
take care of them.
Parents need to raise their daughters to be feminine, but
at the same time sharp and aware of the world around them. Raising girls
into women is no easy task. In fact, I find the future prospect of it
daunting, myself. However, a young girl must be taught by her parents
to understand the basic principals of being assertive, knowing how to
emotionally and physically self-defend and even fight back when need be.
She must learn the importance of self education through avid reading and
exploring philosophy, religions, politics, sociology, the American economy
and the dynamics of money: how to earn money, save money, spend money,
and invest money.
One thing I was taught growing up was how to remain sharp
in mind and spirit and to think with precision in order to gain respect
from my male contemporaries. Men tend to respect women who respect themselves.
If a young woman presents herself as a worthwhile, intelligent and emotionally
responsible human being, she will then be respected and listened to as
such. Before she can use the tools she has been given from birth, she
must be taught that those tools exist within her. The teachers of this
concept are the parents. These seeds are planted in the home and they
sprout in the world. But if the seeds are not planted in the home, the
child is not aware that she possesses these invaluable tools and you cannot
utilize something that you are not aware you possess.
Girls who are fortunate enough to share open communication
with both their mother and father are less likely to engage in drug use,
recreational alcohol use and sexual promiscuity at an early age. There
is an epidemic in this country with more and more children in their early
teens, as young as 12 and 13, who are engaging in adult behaviors such
as oral sex and sexual intercourse. Young girls are especially at harm
when engaging in these activities, as they are frequently being pressured
by boys their age to do these things for approval. In a recent HBO documentary,
13 year old girls were discussing their capriciousness in engaging in
oral sex with boys for the purposes of gaining love, approval, a boyfriend
and/or popularity among their peers. This is no longer just an urban problem,
as suburban kids in middle to upper middle class families are engaging
in such activities in epidemic numbers. The emotional and psychological
harm caused by such premature sexual promiscuity is enormous. The discrepancy
is as follows: young boys are engaging in such activity for sexual gratification.
Girls are engaging in this activity for love and approval. Towards the
end of the documentary, a sex education professional held a seminar for
a group of parents who feared that their child could be having sex too
soon. During the seminar, there was some very relevant information imparted
to these concerned parents. The information imparted to them was that
lack of talking about sex in the household equals more early promiscuity
while talking about sex in the household in an open and safe way results
in children waiting longer to become sexually active. Both the mother
and the father should create an open environment in which their daughters
can talk about sex, sexual peer pressure, and have their questions answered
about what they are learning on the street from their peers.
The victim mentality is another concept that must be abolished
in young woman in order for them to grow as human beings. Taking responsibility
for one's actions in crucial for proper development and self esteem. Being
emotionally responsible means taking full responsibility for one's actions
and not feeling internally or externally victimized by a decision that
does not pan out to our liking. Whether it be a romantic scenario, financial,
spiritual, family oriented, friendship oriented or a career decision.
While men are encouraged to own up to their decisions and foul ups, women
are often encouraged to back away from a poor decision and claim victimization.
There is more self worth to be gained by acknowledging and owning one's
own decisions, for better or for worse.
This is the new code of rules and ethics for raising girls
2 women in the new millennium, as I see it.