Before You Spend Time With My Daughter…

(A little “manifesto” I wrote when carefully considering who should/should not be afforded significant air time in my daughter’s life)

Before You Spend Time My Daughter

We must both agree that a relationship with my child is not a lever to pull in order to win my favor, nor that her favor or lack thereof toward you has any bearing on our relationship – friendship or otherwise. It is certainly my job as her mother to teach her manners, yours to manage your boundaries with her, hers to manager her boundaries with you, and mine to support you both.

If I allow you into the life of me-and-my-daughter, to let you in as someone truly significant – romantic, platonic, or otherwise – it means that I trust you with the opportunity to develop a healthy relationship with her that is mostly independent of me.

It means that if the relationship between you and I would ever change for any reason, it would not necessarily dictate a change in the relationship between you and her; that our differences and conflict aside, so long as I deem you safe for her and she wants to spend her time and/or energy on you, I will not stand in the way. In fact, I will support it… because a person that commits to a child the way I expect you to commit to her if we do let you in in this way deserves that level of respect and support and so does my daughter. You will always be free to say goodbye to me without saying goodbye to her.

It means that people in my future will be expected to accept you as a part of her life, and I expect them to put her needs ahead of their own insecurities or preconceptions… that if they cannot, they do not deserve the opportunity to connect with her (nor me) the way you have… and it means that I expect you to have similar expectations of people in your future.

It means that I will not speak ill of you to or in front of my daughter, no matter what happens, so long as her safety (physical or emotional) is not at risk. I will not expect my child to have allegiance to me nor will I take her care for you personally. It means I expect you to treat me, and her, with respect and take accountability for your actions. It means I believe you will have positive influence in her life.

I ask that you respectfully and carefully consider this before you spend significant time with her. If the expectations seem to be too high to be sustainable for you, I would ask that you kindly keep some emotional distance between you and her, and know that I would recognize honest consideration of that as an indication of integrity. Thank you.

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