As your daughter enter the young teenage years, ages 13-15, there are many new challenges you will face. Among them is your daughter’s first day driving the family car, a love relationship that scares you a little, and beginning talks about what to do after graduation.
Let me encourage you.
Your relationship with your daughter will mature as she matures. In the past, you picked her sports teams for her, you helped organize her social life, and you probably made the big choices about her education. Now, she will begin to create her own opportunities and form personal opinions about what she wants to do and not do.
This is wonderful news for you! You can be the one she comes to when those “personal desires” don’t work out as planned. When she feels anxious about her future, she will look to you for direction. Her relationships are going to change a lot in the next few years and you can be her “safe place” where she can be open about her feelings and concerns.
Here are three suggestions to help you prepare for a new role in your daughter’s life.
1. Be ready to adjust your schedule when your daughter needs you. It might require only a few minutes or maybe an entire afternoon. Be creative and available as much as possible. There are very few problems that can’t be solved with compassion and a warm chocolate chip cookie.
2. It is great if your daughter would like to do the thinking and planning for her life. That makes you the support person. This means giving up the director’s chair and becoming a producer. When you want to jump in and direct, change your approach. Listen carefully, ask questions and support her instincts. She will want to hear what you think if you let her express her thoughts first.
3. Even though your daughter may act like she has it all figured out, deep down she will be incredibly insecure. The competitiveness of peers, her uncertainty about her future, and the likely challenges in her relationships will make each day filled with potential emotional landmines. Look for opportunities to compliment her for even the smallest successes. When you feel that “mom” desire to take control to protect her from sadness, inspire her with your confidence in her to make the right choice. Share from your own personal life and the challenges that you face. As she navigates her way, she will hear all kinds of opinions from lots of different sources but be assured, your opinion will always matter the most to her.
Celebrate Your Success Too
Now that your daughter is on her way to becoming a young adult, you can take a short victory lap (there are more to come!). So many memories and accomplishments through the years are to be credited to you and although it might feel like you are less significant in your daughter’s life now, that is certainly not true. She will always need you and maybe even more as she enters her teen years.
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