How you interact with your daughter now will impact the relationship you have with her for years to come. Below are three intentional situations that you can facilitate to create amazing small moments with her today.
I cannot put my finger on the exact moment it happened, but ... my girls are big. That little cutie pie with the glasses has grown up.
Believe it or not, these seemingly everyday things will begin to disappear from your life slowly. You take bubble baths, swings and rainbow sweatshirts for granted. One day though, you'll look around and they'll simply be gone. She'll be in middle school, and then it will happen...
Your daughter will shock you with a strong leap toward independence.
The truth is, each and every day our girls grow toward independence. We saw a huge jump during the toddler years and sometime in the not so distant future, she'll leap further. Your daughter may begin to fiercely push away.
During this transition period, she'll make you proud and angry, all at the same time. She'll also leave you standing there wondering, "Am I a good parent?" (By the way, the resounding answer is: YES. If you question your parenting on occasion, it means you care.)
The thing is... the trust you build with your daughter now, when she is young, is an essential component in a healthy parent-teen relationship. The passage below is from a book I recently read about raising strong girls. The author asked parents to...
Consider a metaphor in which your teenage daughter is a swimmer, you are the pool in which she swims, and the water is the broader world. Like any good swimmer, your daughter wants to be out playing, diving, or splashing around in the water. And, like any swimmer, she holds on to the edge of the pool to catch her breath after a rough lap or getting dunked too many times. -- Lisa Damour, Ph. D.
Your daughter will need a wall to swim to, and when she's a teen, she'll need to know that you can withstand her coming and going. In other words, she needs to trust you implicitly. This trust comes from the small moments you're experiencing with your daughter now. It is...
The way you respond when seeing her after a long day of school.
How you interact with her in the checkout line at the grocery store.
The moment you brush her hair back and kiss her forehead when she's sick.
When you give her your full attention after she says, "Hey Mom, look at what I found!"
The half-cohesive bedtime conversations that happen as you tuck her in for the night.
Small moments are imperative to building trust.
Below are three intentional situations that you can facilitate with your daughter today to create amazing small moments.
3 Small Moments Opportunities To Take Advantage Of Now
You don't have to leave small moments to chance. Here are three simple opportunities to embrace with your daughter:
- Short car rides -- Car rides are a great opportunity for impromptu conversations. Make a habit of putting your phone (and hers, if she has one) in the glovebox or your purse when riding in the car with your daughter. Putting away your phones while you drive also sets an excellent safety example for the future.
- Dinnertime -- Studies continue to show the power of eating together as a family. Workaround after-school activities and scheduling conflicts to ensure you are eating dinner together regularly with your daughter (even if it is takeout or mac & cheese!).
- Designated Family Time -- Family night can consist of your full family playing games, watching a movie, or even a night on the town. Or take a break from teaching your little girl to learn alongside her. Schedule some one-on-one activities. Take a class together -- Yoga, karate, piano. The point is to have a reoccurring commitment on your calendars. Starting this tradition before your daughter is a teen will ensure she doesn't perceive it as you taking away time from her friends.
Life is sometimes a blur (especially with kids), but it is easy to have 20/20 vision in hindsight.
As parents, we need to come together, share our stories, and support one another. As a mom of older girls, I just want to say ...
Slow down. Embrace the everyday opportunities to connect with your daughter today -- it matters more than you think.
P.S. Hey, I want to take a quick moment to share this with you...
FREE Webinar: Get Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging or Yelling
The Positive Parenting Solutions toolbox has been super helpful at our house with our two girls. They're running another free webinar soon; check it and their free Backtalk Battles workbook out here.
During the webinar parents of kids ages three through teens will learn...
- Why punishments and "because I said so" backfire. If these strategies aren't working for you...take heart. It's not you and it's not your kids. You'll learn what works instead!
- How YOUR personality may fuel power struggles with your kids! Yikes. This is a big aha! for parents. Discover if your personality lends itself to power struggles and why.
- The 5 R's of Fair & Effective CONSEQUENCES — Discover how to structure CONSEQUENCES so kids listen the first time you ask!
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Top Photo Credit: justyle