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Changing Hawaii

By Diane Yukihiro Chang

Monday, May 8, 2000

Mother’s Day gift
for teen daughters

OH, goody, it's almost Mother's Day -- that wondrous 24-hour period in which mommies warrant breakfast in bed, get no back talk and are temporarily banned from washing dishes or cooking dinner for the entire clan (we hope).

This Sunday we'll revel in the once-a-year rewards of candy, cards, blossoms and/or some very nice presents from our beloved children. Are they cute or what?

On Saturday, though -- and if you're fortunate enough to be the mother of a teen-aged daughter not yet embarrassed to be seen with you in public -- why not bestow a few gifts of your own on that irreplaceable "little girl" in your life?

These are the gifts of self-confidence, self-protection and awareness, plus the knowledge that she doesn't have to take verbal abuse or worse from the guy she is seeing, and that you're there with help and support if she's ever in need.

The place is the Pali Club House in Kaneohe. The time is 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 13.

The event is "Heart To Heart," a mother/daughter luncheon co-sponsored by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse & Legal Hotline and the Windward chapter of the American Association of University Women.

Thirty dollars buys lunch for mom and teen; a musical serenade by the local singing group, DizGuys; access to a mini craft fair; and an informal program meant to open communication between women and their daughters on a topic that's not easy to broach: dating violence.

If your response is, "Dating violence? Not my daughter," note these testimonials from typical parents in Hawaii:

Bullet "They had been dating for almost a year. We included this boy in family events. I couldn't believe he was hitting my daughter. I didn't find out until I read her diary. She had been acting strangely -- very depressed and withdrawn." -- Mother of a 16-year-old girl
Bullet "One day we picked her up after practice because my husband had just gotten a promotion and we wanted to go out to dinner and celebrate. But our daughter just freaked out about how she HAD to get home to call her boyfriend. We could see she was really, really scared...We thought this boy was nice. He had always been so polite, and all the while he had been hurting our baby." -- Parents of a 14-year-old girl

ON Sunday, when my kiddo fixes me breakfast in bed -- and makes me feel like the winner of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" -- I will be smiling at her with an irrepressible joy.

I'll be hoping that she got something special herself the day before, when we went together to the "Heart to Heart" luncheon (for reservations, call the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse & Legal Hotline at 534-0040) and learned:

Bullet How teen dating violence differs from adult domestic violence.
Bullet How teen batterers use tactics like threats, isolation, blaming, intimidation, destruction of property and sexual coercion to maintain power and control over their victims.
Bullet The six influences used to trap teen-aged girls into abusive relationships.
Bullet The warning signs of possible teen dating abuse.
Bullet Ways for parents to intervene and get assistance for their daughters.

Note to the daughters: Psstt. Want to give Mom another great gift this weekend? How about going to lunch with her on Saturday -- without complaint -- while learning something that might come in handy one day or possibly help a few of your friends?

Aww, c'mon, do it for Mother's Day...

Diane Yukihiro Chang's column runs Monday and Friday.
She can be reached by phone at 525-8607, via e-mail at, or by fax at 523-7863.

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