How to raise your daughter to confide in you - one simple tip you may be overlooking

How to raise your daughter to confide in you

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Picture replacing pink bedroom carpet littered with ten years worth of earring backs and bobby pins.

Imagine allowing your 15-year-old to paint her room in stripes of bright orange, bright pink, and bright red.  Oh – and with bright yellow stripes.

Or how about dozens of sleepovers where no one ever sleeps.  (Some clever mom should re-term that.  Not me – I’m still catching up on 26 years of sleep.)

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How to raise your daughter to confide in you - one simple tip you may be overlooking

 

 

The not-so sugar and spice facts

You were one once.  You know what where I’m coming from here, mom.

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Girls.

They’re a –

giggly

chatty

sing-song-y

prissy

pretending

boy crazy

drama producing

bunch.

 

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High heels and tutus

They love to dress up.  From a very young age, they learn that high heels and makeup are fun.

It begins with the plastic dress-up shoes and the feather boas.

They put them on as soon as they get out of bed, pop their pacifiers back in, and trundle down the steps to breakfast.

(Oh, and don’t forget the silver tiaras.)

 

 

 

There's pink stuff everywhere. And hair. LOTS of hair. Click To Tweet

Every time my husband donned a clean shirt, he complained about finding a long blonde, curly hair stuck to it.

“Get used to it.  You’re living in a female dominated house-hold.” I quipped, inwardly gloating.

He used to claim that once the girls all got old enough for “Aunt Martha” (aka their monthlies), he would be building a man-cave in the basement for the “men” of the household. (That would be he and my son.)

 

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You know the part on the movie “Toy Story” where Sid’s sister gets ahold of Buzz Lightyear and sits him down for a tea party?  She lines him up with her teddy bears and dolls around the table.  He has on an apron and a flowered hat and has lost his mind.

That’s how my husband and son felt sometimes.  Delirious from being surrounded by girl hormones.

 

 

 

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Drama mamas

Oh yeah, we’re going there.

Even from a young age they exhibit the warning signs.

When my oldest was little, people used to tell me I should take her and move to Hollywood.  She adored all Disney princesses, sang “A Whole New World” verbatim, and kissed a boy by the time she was 4.

I’m crying now that I didn’t.  The teen years did not disappoint.

 

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My littlest used to bite her sister on a regular basis.

Of course, not without provocation, to be sure.  I recall one such incident in particular where the younger sat in her car seat with her blankie over her head – a silent declaration for some space.  Big sis took it upon herself to invade the bubble and stick her finger under the blanket.

CHOMP.

Imagine crying.  Lots of crying from both – once I flew back there and took care of the situation.

 

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They come in all shapes, sizes, and personalities.

I ended up with two strong-willeds (which will henceforth be referred to as “Swillers”), and one pleaser/sneaky instigator.

The 3-year-old Swiller insisted on wearing flared pants every day of her life.  She embodied the essence of “picky” when it came to her clothes, hair, possessions, and personal bubble.

The 5-year-old pleaser/instigator just wanted to laugh, tease, collect toilet paper rolls for crafts, and drive her younger sister nuts with her somewhat messy side of the room.  Talk about the odd couple!

 

The 12 year-old Swiller tested her limits every. single. day.  And she had a strong affinity towards the male gender.

 

Thank goodness I had a boy among this bunch to make me laugh!

 

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I have so many memories rolling around in my head like a steady stream of swirly, inter-connecting clouds.

Some, to be sure, a test of my limits.  But mostly good.  Very, very good.

 

If you are in the throes of parenting girls, there’s one main thing still resonating through my mind.

 

Talking is her love language

Girls have a need to be heard.  Some like to chatter, some share deep thoughts, but all girls need a listening ear.

I have one that doesn’t share deeply that often, but when she does, I’m all ears.

I have two that talk just about non-stop.  And I’m still all ears.

(Although I do admit to turning the kid’s CDs up really loud in the car to drown out the chatter when they were pre-school age.)

 

The point is – be present.

Be aware when they want to share, and even if it is just chatter, listen. Click To Tweet

It’s important to them!

 

One of mine wanted to tell me every single detail about her day after school, but she was easily distracted and it took her forever to get the story out (“And um, uhhh, um…and uhhh”).  This was painful some days, to say the least.

But I rode it out.  I maintained eye contact.  Listened, interacted, asked questions.

That little tween is now an adult, and because I listened, she still shares just about everything with her ole’ ma.

 

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As a side note, it’s important to provide journals or diaries for them.  They like to write down their thoughts.  That way if you have one that’s not quite so verbal, at last she is expressing her thoughts on paper.

Self expression is important to a girl.

 

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Shut up and listen

The biggest take-away from this is:  listen.  Just shut up for a minute, clear your thoughts of your opinions about what she is telling you and how you’re going to tell her why she shouldn’t do whatever it is she’s talking about.

Even if you know for a fact you are going to have to correct her way of thinking, ride out the conversation.  Hear her out.

And then, calmly, gently, and lovingly, correct.

 

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Excuse me, did you think I meant that’s what I always did?

Ok, so I had my moments just like everyone else.

But.  I learned not to get on that rollercoaster.

You know the one – the “emo” rollercoaster.

When she starts to board, don’t get on it with her.

You stay on the ground, sister.

She may go up, around upside down and sideways – emotions are funny like that.

You just make sure you’re right there, grounded, when she gets off.

 

You don’t do anyone any favors by getting on that ride!

 

So get ready, mom.  Get your listening ears on, and be prepared for the marathon.

Take it a day at a time. Before you know it, she'll be grown and out on her own. Click To Tweet

But she will return to confide in you, if you did your homework.

If you listen, she’ll be back.

 

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Remember my oldest? That “Swiller” who taught me all I needed to know about raising the strong-willed child?

She’s my bestie now.  She’ll tell you that.

I chalk it all up to the listening ear.  And God – LOTS of God.

And she is a voice for God now.  She owns her faith.

I always knew if I could channel that will into positive avenues, she would be

AWESOME.  And, she is.

(More on raising Swillers next week.  There’s good news, mom!)

 

Hey, I’m not the perfect mom.  And I don’t have perfect kids.

The truth is, there’s no magic formula.

But this has worked for me.

You might want to try it out.  And I would love to hear your suggestions or comments on how you are raising your girls!

 

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I hope you’ll join me for Part 2: Challenge of the strong-willed child – 6 tips to survival!! (Because my two strong-willers just happen to be girls.  Ahem.)


 

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From the book, "Count to Nine; 9 Liberating Steps for Mom Frustration and Anger". Tips for applying Scriptural methods to curb anger. Dear mom, you have the tools to overcome anger and frustration!

 

 

 

Comments 17

  1. Oh, raising girls, don’t we know it. Drama, tears, slamming of doors, and of course PMS! The listening – a MUST. Absolutely. You hit them all on the nail here Ruthie. Someday we will have to share our experiences.

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      I thought of you as I was posting this today, Michelle! We’ve got a lot in common and especially THIS! I can’t wait till we can spend some time together someday. 🙂

  2. Haha I thought my daughters and I were the only ones who called our “monthly’s” Martha! Looking forward to the next blog post on swillers! I had a doozie of one ;).

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      Oh my yes, Aunt Martha has been around for as long as I can recall!;) And yes – swillers. I think I may have an inkling of which one you’re speaking of! Lol, but boy do they grow up to make great mamas! 🙂

  3. Oh Ruthie, I was smiling and nodding in agreement all the way through. I will remember your advice on those days when her story just goes on and on. And I’ll enjoy the time before it goes too quickly.

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      Hi Marva! I’m so glad you found it helpful. And you won’t believe how quickly time passes either, I know I’m still wondering what in the world happened! Lol anyway, thank you for sharing this week and I just LOVE your new site! You’ve got it rockin’ now, girl!! So excited for you! 🙂

  4. Ruthie, this is wonderful! I have 3 girls and a boy too. My three girls are swillers for sure (love that) and my son is the sensitive one eager to please. I had an eye opening experience when I had lunch with my 12-year-old at school and discovered another boy gives his chips to her everyday, so she was eating 2 bags at lunch. I’m so glad I let my frustration about her defiance take a back seat to the fact that the real issue was an inner struggle with food and the way she feels about herself. We had a heart to heart instead where she confided in me with tears about how she’s concerned about her weight. We hugged and made plans to let her pick out healthy snacks to look forward to. Looking forward to your next post!

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      Author

      Valerie, you’re just like me! My tribe goes girl, boy, girl, girl. The girls on both ends are the swillers. The two middles are the pleasers (although with age and correction, they’re learning to create boundaries)!
      I’m so glad you shared your experience with your daughter at school. YES. That is what I’m talking about. If you can get her to realize you’re her best cheerleader, and yet still her mom (and not her BFF), you will reap the benefits – as will she!
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, I appreciate you!

  5. I definitely needed that encouragement, Ruthie. Not having been a “swiller,” a chatter or a drama girl, I feel like I have no idea what I’m up against! I especially appreciate the point about listening ALL the way through before correcting. Thankful for your voice of experience ad looking forward to next week. Sharing on Tuesday night.

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      I was none of the above either, Abi. I was a pleaser. And it’s hard for a pleaser to raise a swiller, because you hate conflict – know what I mean? 😉
      Stick to your guns once you establish the boundaries – but ALWAYS hear them out. (Unless they’re yelling.)
      Thank you for sharing! I shared yours this morning.

  6. Loved this. Recognized your admonition to not get on that roller coaster. Before I ever really “knew” you, you left a comment to that effect on one of my posts and it stuck with me. 🙂 Love the insight into your precious family and these girls that are owning their own faith. And you are SO RIGHT ~ Be ready to talk when THEY are. … and hint, it will rarely be when YOU are 🙂

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      Absolutely guaranteed it will NEVER be when you are. I have one that winds up at 9:00 pm and just gets more animated from that point on – just as I’m winding down. I love how you are supporting Makenna in her blog ventures as well as driving and many other things I observe. She is receiving affirmation from you and that will stick with her for years to come. Anxious to read your new post in my inbox too!

  7. Oh, I definitely have a swiller!!! But I love your point about listening. SO TRUE! Just the other evening I had a writing deadline, and I’d already been on a walk with my family, so I was thinking, “well, now I can work an hour,” but my daughter came and sat down next to me on the couch! Time to talk! Sometimes it’s all I can do to set my laptop down (and I’m not on the computer all day every day by any means.) Taking time to listen is so worth it. And not getting on the rollercoaster? I love that! Wrote a post on that once, but I love the way you say it, “Mama stays on the GROUND!” Definitely sharing this!

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      We only have one chance when raising them, and the blogging will wait. If it’s in God’s plans, He will work it out – that’s how I’ve had to look at it lately. There is so much to blogging as well, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. You did the right thing by taking her cue on the couch! One day, she’ll be gone – then you can blog. Until she moves back home with her husband and baby…;)
      I read the rollercoaster quote years ago when my swiller was going strong in those middle school years and I wanted to dunk my head in a toilet. I tried to practice it as much as I could and it worked!
      Thanks for sharing, Betsy, I appreciate you! 🙂

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