I have entered a new phase of raising daughters. My oldest daughter, who is also my oldest child, got married last year. This daughter of mine has always brought me great happiness, and now, we have a friend relationship, too. I respect her advice. I seek her opinion on work matters. I look to her for fashion tips!
I tell you all of that to give you hope in case you’re still navigating the joys and challenges of raising a daughter and wondering if you’re where you need to be on the journey. I also want you to know that my path in raising my three daughters has not always been smooth. There were many times when I faltered and I had to learn the hard way. Here is how you can avoid mistakes when raising daughters.
1. Expecting her to be like you.
Even if your daughter looks like you, she still might not be like you. Of my three daughters, the one who looks the most like me is the least like me. Where I am logical, she is creative and free thinking. Yet it’s been in parenting her differences that I’ve become a better mother and a more well-rounded person. So if your daughter is different than you, accept her for who she is. Enter into her world of interests as much as you can, parent to her personality and innate tendencies, and accept her for who she is.
2. Focusing too much on her looks.
Just because society focuses on appearance, we don’t have to when it comes to our daughters. To break out of this way of thinking about your daughter’s physical appearance, realize that there are many different body types. As long as your daughter is within a normal weight range, do not even bring up what she eats, dieting, or “cutting back.” This sends a message of you’re not good enough and sets her up for a future of dieting and hating her own body. The same holds true for other aspects of her appearance. Try to make sure your comments don’t lead her to believe that you’re always trying to “improve” her.
3. Avoiding uncomfortable talks.
When I was growing up, my mom didn’t talk to me much about boys, sex, or even puberty. And while I managed okay, it’s really best if your daughter learns about these things from you. You can do this in a couple of ways: You can have “talks” where you purposefully set aside time to address heavier topics. Or, you can weave the important points into your daily life. Whichever you choose, it’s important that your daughter sees you as a resource to turn to.
You also want her to have a very clear picture of your expectations in these areas based on your family’s values. It’s good to say, “Don’t have sex before marriage” if you don’t want her to… but don’t leave it at that. Talk to her about the choices she’ll have to make even before the question of sex comes up.
4. Not coaching her on relationships with men.
Lots of girls assume that they have to have a boyfriend to have value. Let your daughter know that’s not true, then coach her on the kind of boy she should look for. Stay ahead of the game and talk to her before she starts dating.
5. Putting down her father.
Regardless of the state of the relationship between you and your daughter’s father, do all you can to foster a good relationship between her and her dad. Girls need the type of love a father provides. Knowing they have their father’s love makes them more secure in future romantic relationships. So try not to put down your husband in front of your daughter, encourage her relationship with him, and point out the good things about her dad.
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when raising a daughter, so choose your battles with her carefully. Try to remember that our main job as moms to our girls is to prepare them for adulthood. Also, take a look at our 10 Ways to Pray for Your Daughter printable to zero in on what’s important.
And tell me, what’s your best advice for raising a daughter?