Years ago when my daughter was 10, I realized that my relationship with my daughter was much smoother and easier than that of the average or typical relationship. Yes! I said easier. I have always been told, wait for it, things will change as soon as she’s a teenager.
Fast forward to age 14, the biggest challenge for myself was that she thought she was “ugly” because she has always been very tall for her age. Those feelings quickly changed after she became more involved in sports. Academically she has always excelled so there was never an issue there. As for friends it was hard at first because she went from a Christian private school to one of the top public academic schools.
Again that didn’t last long and she became well-known for her smiling face and warm heart. My home became the home of 4 of friends until they all graduated. My daughter being the youngest to graduate at 17 was the tutor for her friends. She is my only child and my full time job. I was active in all things that she was involved in and created a space for her to be an individual at the same time.
You may be wondering why am I telling you all of this, well I will detail key points that has kept my bond with my daughter so strong to this day at the age of 19.
1. Show her you trust her, don’t just tell her
Believe it or not but you can have a bond so strong with your daughter that she doesn’t have to say anything for you know that there is something. My daughter has been able to be on Facebook with her friends from school. All I ask is that I have the password. I never checked behind her but when she was being approached by a grown man she immediately told me and asked me if I saw his messages. I said no, I hadn’t I never used her password. I believe that level of trust that she realized I had for her made us closer. Now she talks to me about everything and I mean everything. Nothing is off limits, I allow her to approach me and talk. I never try to force her, I have always told her when she is ready to talk I’m here no matter what.
2. How to cope with PMS
This time of month is a good time to for me to show my daughter that I understand. I don’t put any pressure on her about anything. I guess this applies especially if your daughter has a terrible time. I allow her to rest and be in own space. She loves to read, so I go and get her a book or two. We have an amazingly funny sense of humor so I pick my times to make her laugh. I allow her to as she says “invade” my space. I love it when at 17 she still wants to lay with me and be my little girl, so I welcome her.
3. Teach her to speak up and be direct about what she wants.
Most people assume that only young ladies that have bad attitudes will speak up, but the truth is that all young ladies have the ability and as mothers we have to let them hear their voice. When my daughter was about 16 I allowed her to have some input in making decisions about the things that involved us a family unit. Why? I have tried to the best of my ability to prepare her for a possible life without me because of my illness. Honestly, nothing can prepare you for the loss of your mother, the truth is we all want to go before our babies but none of us do much in the way of teaching them early about how to truly be responsible for themselves in case the unthinkable happens.
4. Allow her to make mistakes.
No one knows everything, so making mistakes especially when she is young will teach to think twice before she does the same thing when she is older. I never lecture my daughter, communicate with her and get her perceived perception of the situation. She has told me that we have talked so much over the years that she refers back to those things to make her decisions a lot of times. Know that the last thing she wants t do is disappoint you or get hurt. Trying to stick to the old logic of well I’ll just scare her so she won’t do it, does not work on “our” girls today. They have been exposed to far too much so therefore if you say don’t, it translates to her as, I should. By allowing her to make her mistakes and realize them for they are will only make her a stronger and wiser as she becomes a woman. Trust that all that you have taught her is still there readily available for download.
5. The BIG talk.
I have never met a mother that is not afraid of talking to their daughter about sex. Well as uncomfortable as you feel, you make your daughter just as uncomfortable. So the best thing to do is to start the conversation as early as possible, like 5 years or older. I have been talking to my daughter about her body and the male anatomy since she was 5. I took full advantage of the fact that I home schooled her as well as sent her to school to benefit my parenting. It was like health class 101 and beyond as she got older and her body changed. By doing this the hormone changes was the most interesting because it gave me a chance to really get dept with her about why she feels the way she does and to let her know that it is normal and okay. Also how important it is for her to take care of herself first, to love herself and that her body is her body.
6. The importance of Self-esteem and Self-love
In this day and age the only way to get away from the media and stereotypes is to be, blind and deaf. So that means that your daughter needs to know from you “mom” that she is beautiful just the way she is, she is a masterpiece. That we are all created different, uniquely beautiful for a reason. Helping her to build her self-esteem and self-love is extremely important to how she presents herself to the world. It can make or break her in the way of limiting her abilities for fear of a false ideology of her body image that she has learned outside the home. Be that voice, that role model that supports her being her!
I wrote this thinking about my relationship with my daughter and how we are right now today. She is in college doing well and being such a responsible young lady. I’m so very proud to be her mother. I have since started to hold small seminars for mothers that have asked me questions about how I built the bond and have such a close “friendship” and still maintain the authority as her mother? I simply say I’m her mother not her warden. The truth is our babies are gifts to us to raise and nurture them to best of our ability.
The rules that applied to us still apply to daughters but to be successful you have to tweak them and bring them up to date. As a child I was not exposed to the level of technology, violence in school and out, lack of empathy, lack of respect that is becoming common place today. I never sugar coat the world to my daughter or lie to her about the world. It’s impossible to keep your daughter from the terrible messages that sublimely sent out. What you can do and have the power to do is allow her to see things as they are, to prepare her and guide her thinking before you send her free into the world.
Life lessons are learned today at such early ages that there is really no limit to the information that is available via the net, your best defense is to be there when it comes up and trust that she will bring it to you before anyone else.