Raising tween/teen daughters and staying connected can feel like a daunting task at times. I have covered different topics relating to mothering with purpose and informed intentions, which involves learning lessons from past years and determining how are we are going to parent our daughters with purpose in mind.
How do you go about raising your daughter and keep a connection with her, especially if she is about to enter her teen or tween years? This is a legitimate concern because there are distinct transitional stages that a daughter will experience in her life and as a mom, there will always be concerns about staying connected, being able to communicate and being close with her.
That concern about possibly losing connection, communication or closeness, doesn’t have to consume you or come to fruition. The way to address things preemptively, is to face your situation.
There are three keys that you, as a mom, need to face when it comes to mothering your daughter with purpose:
1) Face The Internal
2) Face The External
3) Face The Community
Face The Internal
As moms, we bring our internal world, everything that we are thinking and feeling inside, to our mother daughter relationship. In grad school, they used to say our internal worlds are to be ‘tabula rasa’, a blank slate. In motherhood, however, there are no blank slates. We bring our history to the table.
To face the future, in terms of how we go about parenting our daughters, we need to face our past and what is going on inside of us. Our thoughts and feelings, especially with events that have transpired between our daughters in the past, are going to be very important. Why? Because we need a realistic gauge on how our current internal resources are going.
How we deal with stress, depleted energy, or concern, internally, is going to affect how we show up for our daughters. If we are feeling ‘zapped,’ those feelings can deplete our ability to be able to physically do things.
As a sports psychologist, I often consult with scholar athletes and one of the things I work with them on is to get in tune with what’s going on in their body. Similarly with moms, if you are feeling drained, or thinking negatively, your strength will be depleted. When you are interacting with your daughter, it will be hard to consider what you are thinking and feeling in that moment and what you are about to do or say to her.
It is important, as a mom, to face the internal about what you are truly feeling, in the moment, about your daughter entering the next stage of her life.
Is she entering her tween or teen years?
Is she about to go off to college?
Is she entering the preschool years?
Just know, concerns will always be there, and it is important for us to connect with what we are feeling on the inside.
Face the External
When facing the external, there are four fundamental areas that you will need to consider:
1) Your resources
When assessing resources, it will be important to take stock of what we have, resource-wise, outside of ourselves. If we do not, it will be difficult for us to make progress towards the thing that we desire to happen in our mother daughter relationship.
I am not a cook but when I am craving a certain kind of meal, and then get into the kitchen and I realize that I don’t have all the ingredients or I don’t have all the utensils that I need, ready and cleaned for me to use, that depletes my motivation and energy to cook because these resources are not in place.
This is similar to taking stock of what you’ve got, resource-wise, as it relates to interacting and developing your relationship with your daughter.
2) Your Family Base
In addition to taking stock of your resources, it will be important to assess your family’s overall rhythm.
If you need to speak to your daughter, it is best to figure out what is going on with her. Is it the right time? Is there a right ‘temperature,’ for example, is it that time of the month for her? Are things tense in the family right now? Depending on the answer, it might not be the perfect or appropriate time to have a conversation. So, look to find a better moment.
Every family has a dance, every family has a rhythm, and it is important to figure that out in order to enter the ‘dance’ with your daughter.
3) Your Friendship Base
Who is in your friendship circle and how accessible are they? Everyone has a lot going on and it is important for you to take stock of who is available and who is not.
4) The Messages
Assess the messages you have been receiving from each of these outside areas. What kind of message have you been getting from both your immediate and extended family members?
Also take stock of what kind of messages have you been getting from your friends and what I call the ‘fingertips sources,’ (things you can put your fingertip on, like social media swipes or books)
Ask yourself, are they helpful right now as it relates to your goals and desires regarding your mother-daughter relationship?
Face the community
It has been said, no man is an island, but I believe that no Mom is an island.
Women need community.
I recently attended my friend’s daughter’s baby shower. While highly organized with instructional moments during the gathering, there were moms present who were at different stages of their motherhood experience. They each shared and gave sage advice to the young mom-to-be. The experience was beautiful.
As I listened to her and I saw the expression on her face, and the tears welling up, my heart was warmed. She expressed how she felt comforted and cared for; she could just feel the camaraderie of all the women that were there. The point of that story was to show the benefits of being part of a community of moms. That kind of community can give us perspective as we learn from what has worked or not, and about resources we may not know.
I have been honing on the three keys that we need to face to lay a good foundation for either building or rebuilding our mother-daughter relationship.
1) Facing The Internal: What’s going on inside? Thoughts, feelings or what transpired in the past between you and your daughter. Assess what is going on inside of you and face the internal stuff.
2) Facing The External: Take stock of the resources that are at your disposal, whether it is family, friends or ‘fingertips’ sources.
3) Facing The Community: It is particularly important to have other moms in your life and on your side, so that you can experience the benefits of support. Join a community of mothers on Facebook by clicking this link, Mother Daughter ConnectionsFB.
Remember, it is never too late for change. Transformation in mother daughter relationships, can happen! It just takes one connection at a time.
I have put together The Quick Guide To ‘Lessen Arguments,’ so that you can experience less conflict and more connection with your daughter.