Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Barbara - Parsons, Kansas
Entered on December 8, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that showing I trust my daughter has strengthened our relationship. During my teenage years, I didn’t always make the right choices. I unintentionally chose abusive boyfriends and disrespectful friends. Although I had different beliefs than several of the people I hung out with, I believed they were my friends and would never lead me astray. When my daughter entered her teenage years, I assumed she would make the same mistakes, and I was determined to protect her from the wrong people. I believed she would possess the same weaknesses as I did. I feared she would worry about what people thought of her and associate with the wrong type of people. Every time she would ask to go somewhere I questioned her as if she were a defendant in a murder trial. I presumed she was guilty before hearing all the evidence. As a result of my own disappointment in my selection of friends, I wrongfully judged several of my daughter’s friends. I felt like I was doing the right thing as a mother in trying to protect my child from the cruel people that she may come in contact with during these influential years. To my knowledge my daughter had never done anything wrong. She was an excellent student who was well liked by then entire school staff. Although I was very proud of her and her good reports, I just couldn’t get myself to let up with the interrogation when she would ask to go do something with her friends. As my daughter grew older my constant grilling strained our relationship. I could sense the hurt in her beautiful, big, brown eyes as I would continue to question her. She informed me on several occasions that she was a good girl; but my questioning made her feel like she was a bad person. My heart swelled up with guilt when she shared her feelings with me. Although I didn’t want her to feel this way, my trust issue continued as a result of fear. When she turned sixteen she decided to go live with her dad for a few weeks. My daughter’s decision to move out completely crushed my world. There were many nights I sat alone in our big, lonely house wondering why she didn’t realize I was only trying to protect her. My daughter and I continued to talk on a daily basis and often went to dinner together. One evening at dinner she confessed to me that she missed being at home with me. She said she wanted to come back home but needed to know that I trusted her. Large, salty tears trickled down my blushed-covered cheeks as I listened intently to each word she said. Her powerful words helped me realize that I was hurting her which was not my intention. My daughter has taught me how important trust is in a relationship. Today, my daughter and I share this amazing relationship with each other that is built on trust. I couldn’t image a more fulfilling life than what I am now experiencing with my daughter.