As my daughter heads into the teen years I have a few friends with similar aged daughters pulling me aside to ask for parenting tips. Like a deer in headlights I respond…
It happened overnight.
One day I had to drag my daughter kicking and screaming (okay not quite) through school lessons, and the next she was getting up in the morning before me, making breakfast, and getting her reading done all before I brushed my teeth.
One day I had to remind her that she will progress in her chosen sport if she did a little extra conditioning at home. The next we were celebrating her promotion to the next level.
One day I was holding her hand to guide her into soft cheese. And the next day she was cutting all the veggies for dinner.
One day I helping her navigate through the seas of adolescent friendships. And the next day she was offering her close friend advice that I would have thought well beyond her years.
The Tween Times
You see my little girl grew up overnight. She became more responsible, more motivated, and very thoughtful of others. Was it spontaneous combustion or did some parenting tips that we attempted to use actually hit home?
Don't get me wrong. There is still plenty to be learned and still many ways that my daughter needs a guiding hand and a reminder that she is not perfect (well she is in my eyes). The sticky kitchen counters after cutting up her favorite bowl of fruit. The reminder to do her laundry as her basket overflows on the bathroom floor. A little talk about what makes a good friend and why we want to reach out to those new in our midst or the friend that seems a little unsure of herself.
We are all still learning and those are just small things. The big picture is that she is definitely growing up into the beautiful young lady I envisioned when I held her teeny foot in my hand almost 13 years ago. Yaay!
And while I do like to think some of it is our parenting I know much of it is not. I can think of many times I may not have responded like I should have or I didn't put enough importance on an issue she may have shared with me. God blessed us with a gentle caring soul and it is our job to nurture it and help her to grow. With practice comes progress (sorry dear) and isn't it wonderful when you realize that your hard work is paying off?
My Parenting Tips
(Because I'm such an expert, she said jokingly.)
- Listen. I don't know why this was so hard for me but over the years I've been working on spending time just talking with my daughter. She has lots of thoughts and wants to share them with me. It's my job to listen, not overreact and help her through.
- Give her a chance. Sometimes my daughter just wants to show me what she can do and I need to let her. When she says, “Mom, let me try.” It's my job to back away and let her be independent (in a few things).
- Tell her why. Instead of just laying down rules I've found it more effective to explain to my daughter why certain things are not okay. When she understands I can better expect her to follow the rules rather than being swayed by the masses.
- Encourage her to enjoy the small successes. My daughter has a penchant for wanting to run before she can walk. She's been this way all her life and it's a lesson I repeat constantly in hopes it will take root. Baby steps dear. You'll cross the finish line soon enough.
- Help your child use their power for good. This is a long running joke in my extended family. First said to a cousin who is very outspoken. Her mother encouraged her to use her powers for good. What are your child's strengths?
Parenting Tip Resources
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