I remember when we had our first girl, she was 19.5 inches and weighed 7 lbs 2 ounces. She was what most would consider a low-maintenance baby; she ate, didn’t cry much and slept through the night. She’s now ten but looking back; it felt like we blinked and now she is a tween, that impressionable age between 8 and 12 years and probably her most formative years as she approaches puberty. She’s older now and can do most things herself, however, as she grows up to be a young lady, it’s important for me to continue to build my relationship with her. I have to say, I am thankful she isn’t at the attitude and mood swing stage, so I am trying to get a head-start so by the time puberty hits we would have a solid foundation to build upon and help her thrive. Nobody said parenting was easy but here are five simple ways to connect with your tween daughter and cultivate a healthy relationship that will help her become a young adult because there is nothing like a bond between a mother and her daughter.
5 Ways to Connect with Your Tween Daughter
- Spend one-on-one time together
Quality time is one of the most important things you can do with your tween or teenage child. If you have more than one child, make sure you spend time with each of them individually. It can be as simple as watching a movie together, lunch or breakfast date, cooking together or a quick trip to the grocery store just the two of you. It’s a chance to spend some uninterrupted time together talking and enjoying each other. Honestly, it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate and it only takes about an hour at the most but doing this weekly will positively impact your relationship with your daughter.
- Get to know her friends
Thankful we’ve been in the same community for over ten years, so I’ve known most of her friends for quite a while now. She’s older now and has formed a different bond with each of her friends. And I take notice of the shift change; making sure to ask questions along the way, so I am abreast of conflict or potential problem if it arises.
- Listen and proceed with caution
Sometimes when we are watching TV, and the show has a message that either contradicts with what we believe as a family, I try my best not to jump to conclusion but rather use that time as an opportunity to start a dialogue. I ask questions, and we discuss these situations together. It’s a good way of learning about her thought process without judging or shaming her. I use this critical time as a way to instill or reaffirm a positive influence in her moral decision-making process. Often, I let her led the discuss. Follow your tween’s lead and be ready to give an answer when asked. Just be sure to listen and connect with your tween daughter.
- Celebrate what makes her unique
It’s important to celebrate what makes your tween unique and equally important is you taking an interest in what she loves and enjoy. Try and find ways to get out there and share those fun experiences together. Recognize those unique attributes and shine some light on them. It will strengthen your bond. In addition, letting her know self-worth comes from within and she shouldn’t rely on anyone to validate her.
- Let her know she’s loved and cherished
Take the guesswork out of our relationship by letting her know you love her, no matter what the circumstances or situation. You don’t need to be overly mushy, but every day you should let your tween know that they are loved. Recognize and praise them for an accomplishment – if they passed a test or scored a goal on the team, make sure you recognize those things verbally. Tweens want to make their parents proud, and they want to feel loved. So saying “I love you” lays a good foundation for positive growth.
Granted things won’t change overnight, but if you start using these relationship builders with your tween daughter, you’ll notice a shift in the right direction and discover a healthy relationship that she will carry on well into adulthood.
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