I am blessed to be the mother of not one, but two teenage daughters! I heard all of the horror stories regarding girls when they enter their teens quite some time ago, and honestly, I was worried about this stage. But I had nothing to worry about! I have found these years to be so much fun, and my oldest daughter is nearing 16 years of age. While I’m no expert, I would love to share a few things that I have learned over the years about ways to connect with our girls.
- Treat them with respect. Sure, every now and then we have to pull the “mom” card, but for the most part, we should try our best to explain our reasoning when the answer to one of their questions is no. We must remember that while we are called to raise our children, we are not better than them in any way, shape, or form. We should aim to give them the same level of respect that we would expect anyone else to give us.
- Don’t participate in activities in which they are forbidden. Teenage girls are smart, and it will not make much sense to them if you say, “I can drink alcohol, but you can’t,” or, “I can watch this movie, but you can’t.” While of course there are exceptions to this rule, such as driving a car if they are underage, we should strive to morally live our lives in the way that we would hope they will. Otherwise, we will appear like a hypocrite and they won’t take us seriously. (On a side note, never give your underage daughter alcohol! But it is probably time to put it aside yourself to be a good example to them.)
- Become interested in what they are interested in. As a mom of seven children, I don’t always have a lot of time on my hands. In fact, I’m sure there have been many times when I haven’t shown enough interest in my children’s interests. But if we hope to become connected with our daughters, and one day, become best friends, then we must meet them where they are. Take them to their extracurricular activities, and make an effort to help them if they want to pursue an new interest. Buy that new camera, new pet, or help your daughter set up her blog.
- Talk to them. This tip seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it’s hard to take time out of our day to really enjoy our daughters. Goof off. Talk about the serious things. In our household, we don’t see any point in dating until marriage would actually be a possibility, so our discussions usually center around family life and our girls’ hopes for the future. We also talk about the newest episode of Bringing Up Bates or the latest college gymnastics competition. We homeschool, so it is very nice to be able to talk to my girls at pretty much any time!
- Be sure to make God a priority in your home. While I don’t do nearly enough, it is important to spend time with your daughters in God’s Word. Family devotional time is important, and my girls enjoy the Bright Lights program. Placing Christ in the center of our homes is really the first step to making any of our plans succeed!
Again, I’m no expert, but I hope that these tips might encourage someone who yearns for a better relationship with their daughters. Blessings!