Dear moms of girls,
Is there any relationship more challenging than the mother-daughter relationship? At the very least, raising a daughter is very complex.
We want to be great moms to our girls. We want our daughters to grow up to be happy.
We want confident daughters. Strong daughters. Daughters that break glass ceilings and blaze their own trails.
We struggle because we remember the hard parts of our tween and teen years, so we strive to avoid the mistakes our own mothers made with us.
But now we’re older, and we’re also wiser. So likewise, we recognize and understand some of the exasperating rules and behaviors of our own mothers.
And then, we see other moms doing things a bit differently or making it look easy, and we wonder, are we messing it all up?
“What are the secrets to raising a happy girl?” “Am I getting any of this right?”
I don’t know about you, but when I feel this kind of internal conflict, my confidence as a mom takes a hit. I start questioning myself and my methods.
If we’re not careful, that kind of experience can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled as moms. This parenting gig isn’t the easiest. Raising daughters is not for the faint-hearted.
There’s no ultimate “how-to” guide for parenting. Especially when it comes to raising daughters. There’s no training, no manual, no certification.
BUT – there are FOUR key priorities I focus on when it comes to raising my daughter. Sure, I make mistakes. I mess up. I stumble. I have always admitted that I’m a work-in-progress.
Four Rules for Raising a Daughter
1. Make Your Daughter’s Self-Esteem a Priority
Our daughters will start to develop self-esteem, which is the estimation of themselves, right from the start. As moms, we are so very influential in their hearts and minds. And not only when they are young. Our influence carries a lot of weight from the time they are babies well into adulthood.
Our behavior, tone, and words – these things significantly shape their reality. Even before my daughter was born, I fully understood the responsibility of being the most important influence on her self-esteem. I have always made it a priority to choose kind words that show my daughter how much I love her.
Emphasize to your daughter that you adore her for who she is, not what she does or her accomplishments.
Make it a point to talk to your daughter about how mistakes are part of what makes us human and how we learn about life. Teach her how mistakes have nothing to do with how much she is loved, her self-worth, or whether she’s a good person.
2. Focus on the Positives with Your Daughter
Sure, it’s easy to focus on ‘bad behavior.” Because that’s how we’ve been trained and conditioned, right?
“Get on them when they step out of line. Don’t let them get away with anything. Nobody wants their daughter to be the one that misbehaves. It’s frustrating when your child talks back, throws a fit, or disobeys.“
And while I’m not saying we shouldn’t have consequences for our daughters when they make bad choices or act out, I am saying that I believe catching them when they do something right goes a long way.
Try to encourage good behavior by recognizing your daughter’s good behavior. Praise your daughter when you see her doing something thoughtful.
Give her a compliment when she makes a genuine and sincere effort in something. Commend her when she shows kindness.
When you reward a certain behavior, you get more of the same.
Be an example of good behavior yourself. Say please and thank you. Give grace. Hold doors open. Offer kind words. Forgive others.
When we show our daughters how to behave, they will model good behavior. When we expect our daughters to behave well, they will respond to that expectation.
Choose the behavior you want to encourage and focus more on that.
3. Set Clear Boundaries with Your Daughter
Boundaries determine what you will and will not accept from someone.
Sometimes, it can be hard to set clear boundaries with daughters. I know for me, I struggle because I am so concerned about having a strong relationship that sometimes I err on the side of leniency.
However, it’s possible to create a strong mother-daughter relationship and still maintain clear boundaries.
Teach your daughter where her limits are so she knows how to exercise self-discipline and self-control.
Teach her what is acceptable and what isn’t. Show consistency with rules and consequences when she does breach those boundaries.
Additionally, make sure she grows up understanding how to set healthy boundaries for herself. Because not only does she need to understand how to respect boundaries; she also needs to understand how to protect her own boundaries in her personal and professional relationships.
4. Spend Quality Time Together
More than anything else, daughters want to spend time with and connect with their moms. Yet, since moms juggle so many balls, it’s challenging to actually find that quality time.
Here’s the thing: We have to make it happen.
I’ll never forget one of the most heartbreaking things my daughter said to me when she was just three-years-old.
She had been trying to interact and play with me. I was trying to clean the kitchen and do laundry.
After her repeated attempts at engagement, my irritation was beginning to show.
“Mommy, please don’t be tired of me.”
Talk about heart-crushing. Nine years later, this memory breaks me and I want to cry. I learned a valuable lesson that day.
My daughter simply wanted time with me. She needed me to hear her. To listen. To acknowledge. To be present.
What she was asking me for didn’t take great effort, time or money.
She just wanted me, focusing on her. Not the kind of time I had been giving her: distracted, impatient, annoyed.
But real, quality time.
Moms – be intentional about making space for special quality time together.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard. You have a million things going on. The chaos and stress and pressure are real.
But make the time. Because time flies by. And sooner rather than later, you’ll wish to have those moments back.
Creating special occasions, like going on like particular outings and events, is awesome.
But you don’t even have to do that. Simply being present in a conversation, taking a walk, or watching a movie together are great ways to just be with your daughter.
It’s your presence and how much you give of it that means the most in the moment.
So there you have it. My four simple rules for raising my daughter. Maybe you’ll find these helpful.
Let’s face it, mamas, there’s a lot of pressure and stress to “get it right.” No one is getting it one hundred percent right all of the time.
But if you can raise them with these four rules, I believe you’ll be making a huge impact in your daughter’s life.
What do you think? What are some of your rules when it comes to raising a daughter?
Looking for resources about raising a daughter? Check out these books on Amazon.
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