Mother daughter relationships are special and need attention and care to grow and stand the test of time. Use these 7 tools to help build a mother daughter relationship that you will flourish even in the teen years and into adulthood.
1. Make Time for One-on-One Time
Creating time to be together, just the two of you, shows your daughter that you value being with her and that you will always prioritize her in your life. Let her choose how you spend your time and plan it in advance and she will be looking forward and counting down to your time together. Sometimes the one-on-one will be spontaneous and take advantage of those moments when she invites YOU to join her whether it’s painting nails in the kitchen or to bake a batch of bookies. Be intentional about carving regular one-on-one time and your mother daughter relationship will be stronger for it. These times should be for creating fun together, no serious chats or problems to solve, and you’ll be surprised at how much she shares what is on her mind when it’s just the two of you.
2. Become a Rockstar at Listening
Being a good listener is probably something we can all improve at. Listening, really listening, without judgment, without rushing to solve the problem, share advice or interrupt, takes a lot of practice! Listen to what she says, even if it seems mundane or minor, it matters to her and be the loving, listening ear to take it all in. Practice active listening by putting down your phone and making eye contact while she’s talking. Try to see what she is sharing from her point of view and ask questions to understand or learn more.
If your daughter feels like you are a safe place to go — in other words, you aren’t going to freak out, get mad or judge without understanding the whole story — then she will be more likely to keep coming to you with her problems. Establish this routine of truly listening from the time she is little and she will continue to seek out mom as a sounding board into the tricky teen years.
3. Celebrate What She Loves
If your daughter is so athletic and you are so … not, you can still celebrate what she loves. Pick up a ball or be her biggest cheerleader at the game — let her know that what matters to her matters to you. It’s easy to wish your daughter will share your same interests, how simple would that be! The reality is that she is a one-of-a-kind daughter with her own unique personality, hobbies and interests and she will feel loved and seen when you take the time to support and encourage that uniqueness.
When you celebrate what she loves your mother daughter relationship will thrive! Find her a new class for her musical talents, grab her a book that supports her interest in legos or help plan and encourage her entrepreneurial dreams.
4. Show Respect to Get Respect
Healthy mother daughter relationships revolve around mutual respect. Just as you would not tolerate her talking back to you, she shouldn’t be subjected to your sarcasm or a rude response when she has let you down. For respect to work it needs to be both given and received. Establish clear family rules and clear consequences for when those are broken. Teach and model basic polite skills like saying “please,” or holding a door open or not interrupting a conversation.
When your daughter is being disrespectful, correct her in a respectful manner. Would you like to get called out by your boss and berated in front of the whole team at work? No? Neither does your daughter! Pull her aside and, with love, let her know that her behavior is not ok and give correction. Respect goes a long way in having a strong mother daughter relationship.
5. Let Her Be Unique
Undoubtedly she will dress in a way you wouldn’t have dressed her when she was little. Odds are good she will fall in love with something that doesn’t spark interest for you or perhaps she’ll be loud and dramatic while you are quiet and reserved. Let your daughter be herself, rejoice in her unique strengths and let her know you love her, just the way she is.
Sometimes as parents it’s easy to get caught up in the false idea that how our kids behave or dress is a reflection of us and we worry about looking bad. At the end, having the neighbors think you are crazy for letting your daughter wear mismatched clothes is a lot less important than the happiness that your daughter gets from picking out her mismatched, crazy outfits. Celebrate your one-0f-a-kind daughter for who she is and love her where she is at.
6. Tell — and Show– Her You Love Her
Don’t forget to say “I love you.” Say it in the morning, before she heads out the door, before bed or in a random text. Remind her of it when she has disappointed you and when she has made you proud. There is never a wrong time to remind her that your love is constant and will never change. Your mother daughter relationship will grow as she takes strength from the knowledge that she is loved without condition by her mother.
7. Establish Meaningful Family Traditions
Finally, don’t forget to cultivate meaningful family traditions. These traditions serve as the glue that will keep your family strong. When your daughter looks back on her childhood so many details will be hazy but the bright memories will be the ones that were repeated, that brought your family together, the traditions. Traditions don’t have to be huge and fancy like a yearly trip to Disney World, they can be as everyday as always eating dinner together, or praying as a family at the end of the day. Taking walks each Sunday or planning a summer vacation yearly — there is no wrong way to do it, just make sure you intentionally create family traditions together.
Put these seven tools to use and watch your mother daughter relationship flourish and grow into something to be proud of that can stand the test of time.