How do you have and maintain such an amazing and close relationship with your daughters?
My mother and I were never close when I was a child and into teenage years. We are closer now as I have grown up and gotten married but still, we’ve never had the close mother-daughter bond. I now have a daughter and she is 1.5 years old. I was very nervous when we found out we were having a girl because I didn’t want to repeat a negative mother-daughter relationship.
Do you have any advice on what you do daily, or monthly or randomly to make sure you have such great bonds with your children? Where they can and want to come and talk to you and tell you about their day.
Any advice or even if you can give me links to prior posts you have done would be great.
I know many blog readers have great ideas about this one I hope they will share. I LOVE questions like this because it helps remind me what has worked and what I need to work on.
I, for one, am continually working on those relationships. They are a work in progress. Each child is so very different. Some are so much like me, some are so different! And every stage is different too. But here are some basic things that I’ve noticed make us feel closer around here:
1) Put down your phone. I swear this is the hardest one for me lately. So dang much comes in all the time on that little device. Who’s driving which carpool, emails about everything under the sun, social media itching to be scrolled through, weather broadcasts, news, even my scriptures pull me into that thing (I’ve been doing a lot of listening to scriptures these days). All good and fine things for sure, but they can sure suck you in and make you lose balance. And make you forget to look into childrens’ eyes.
Sometimes I will put Lucy to bed while distracted on my phone. She’s at an age where she’s still telling me so much, and sometimes it’s so easy to tune that out. There is such a dramatic difference when my phone is no where close and I am zoned in to what that girl is doing and saying.
And, not to have this be all about Lucy, but I loved that the other night that girl of mine took my phone right out of my hands while I was checking Instagram in the back yard waiting for Bo to do her business and asked if we could read together.
So we did.
And it was the best Narnia night.
(We haven’t been reading together lately because she gets fed up with waiting for me…and she is SO into reading which I love.)
But I realized once again, snuggled up in her bed with her, my phone in another bedroom, that that darn little device sure can take away from our relationship.
2) Pray intentionally and specifically for that child. You will get nudges on what to do and how to do it. I have noticed this as my kids have grown and the problems and issues get bigger and more complicated. I don’t necessarily get the nudges as I pray, but praying helps me get in mind more what is needed, and I want to work WITH them to get through all this and I have felt “guided” (my “one-word” for 2017) numerous times on how to relate in a different way.
3) Have Family Home Evening and family dinners. I mentioned this in the sibling relationship post, but these things work wonders for parent/child relationships as well! Honestly those are game-changers in this fast-paced world of ours. I love that our church encourages us to set aside one night each week to be family time (family home evening). It is not easy these days to carve out that time to be together. Last year Dave had to put his foot down on an extra class Claire was begging to take on Monday night. But I am so grateful to have time to just be together. And as far as dinners go, I love that when we sit down together we talk about our “happies and sads” (highs and lows) for the day. There is nothing like having built in time to remember to talk about things. Last night, for instance, we all discussed whether Claire should try-out for the junior high fall sports (soccer or volleyball), Lucy explained how it all worked when I came into her class to talk about BBS that afternoon (more on that soon), we talked about how we only have Elle for a little over one more week here and what we want to do to soak her in, we checked in on jobs.
4) Have monthly interviews, whether it’s the first Sunday of the month or casually at a little lunch date (we’ve been bad with the Sunday interviews, but I still try to do lunch dates with each kid every month). Ask questions. Listen to answers. I always ask what they’re most worried about and what they’re most excited about to get started. I actually keep a big black book with their answers from over the years (more on interviews and that black book HERE). Kind of fun to go back and read those things as kids grow.
5) Physical contact. Give hugs! They need them and so do we. Snuggle up in bed with them to wake them up in the morning. Make up a handshake with little kids. Put your arm around them when you’re talking to them. There’s something about physical touch that brings closeness and love in my opinion.
There are so many other ideas once I get going: figure out how they will open up more. I remember noticing that Max somehow opened up more when we were driving in the car, looking straight ahead rather than looking at each other. I love cooking together because we are all in the kitchen in close proximity, and things come up. I love late-nights, because it seems that’s when kids open up the most. I love one-on-one dates.
I wrote a lot of ideas about nurturing relationships with teenagers back HERE, and more teenager q & a HERE (much more about communication there, and also setting up consequences and rules…such a huge part of building relationships in my opinion!). And another relationship post HERE.
And I wrote a post on some of my favorite mothering ideas for nurturing relationships with younger kids HERE (that one has been pinned hundreds of thousands of times so it must have struck a chord with some moms 🙂
Relationships are a constant work in progress. In answer to this mother who asked this question: you will have a great relationship with that daughter of yours because you are intentional about it and you are seeking it. That makes all the difference.