Biblical Eve didn’t have a mother. But her father was pretty adamant about his parenting. He told her to avoid the tree of knowledge or else… We all know how that story ended. Today we raise our daughters in a world brimming with knowledge. Some of that knowledge is harmful to them, but it’s virtually impossible to keep them from taking a big bite. They aren’t banned from Eden when they do, but they are pushed out of childhood pretty fast! What can you do to help raise your teen daughter in today’s world?
Three things are vital.
1. Answer YES! Everyday your daughter asks the Big Brain Question, ”Are you there for me?” She needs to know you love her, support her and respect her. All of our brains are wired to ask others, “Are you there for me?” It’s vital that you show up for your daughter and let her know in every way possible that you ARE there for her. Even when she’s a snarky little snip, you are there for her.
2. Listen. Most people do a terrible job listening. We hear the words but we don’t dig deep enough to discover what the speaker’s need is in sharing their words. Underneath most communication is a need of some kind. When your daughter stops texting her 562 friends on Facebook and actually speaks to you, what does she want you to know, to understand about her or her feelings? Listen for the need. It’s there. Then, take care of it. That’s answering her Big Brain Question with a yes!
3. Become Curious. Put aside your ego and stop trying to turn your daughter into who you want her to be and allow her to unfold as her own person. Become curious about who she really is as a person.When I ask moms to tell me about their daughters they usually list her accomplishments: good grades, captain of the water polo team, etc. Rarely do they tell me who their daughters are as people. Discover who your daughter is. If you answer her Big Brain Question with a yes, and you listen to her needs, she will learn to trust you enough to tell you who she really is.
Start with those three things. When you find your relationship with your daughter growing stronger and more loving, you will be able to help her find her way through our information overload world. Conversations about the big things that can harm her will be more natural and she’ll listen to you more. All of us respond better to people we feel love and respect us. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing you can do: love and respect your daughter. But the trick is to do it in a way so she feels it.
Raising our girls in today’s Google, YouTube, Internet Porn, MySpace world isn’t easy. But, here we are. We moms have to give it our best. Our daughters deserve it.