(This post was written by Heidi)
Week 8 of 10 in the Raising Girls Series
- Week 1 – Cultivating Solid Self Esteem In Daughters
- Week 2 – Questions In Every Little Girl’s Heart
- Week 3 – 10 Life Changing things a Father can do for his Daughter
- Week 4 – 10 Beliefs every Girl should have about Herself
- Week 5 – Building Confidence In Your Daughter
- Week 6 – Training Our Daughters
- Week 7 – Spending Time With Your Daughter – Loving Time Through Play
(See Raising Boys Series here)
Life is so fast paced. It is easy to get irritable with little kids who walk too slowly, take forever to potty train and who nag, whine and tantrum. How do we learn to manage our emotions, change our view of things and connect to our little girls in a healthy, secure way?
Learning to love our daughters in ways they appreciate is so important. Sometimes we get lost in our fast paced adult world, and forget just how little they are, and that they see and process things at a different speed.
This week, I moaned most of the time while walking with my 4 year old, who stopped to trace lines along a wall or stopped dead to stare at caterpillars in the grass. I was in a rush, and she was stalling, constantly! We can greatly improve communication with our daughters if we slow down and learn to look at things through a child’s eyes.
If I had done this, I would have taken twice as long to get to our destination, but I would have seen the things she saw – the furry caterpillars, broken bird egg shells, cracks in walls that are fun to trace with your fingers, little snails crawling up reeds. I would have sent her a different message too – that she was important, and that what mattered to her, mattered to me too. I missed it all in my adult rush!
We can learn to slow down, and live a little more at their pace.
To keep communication with little ones easier, it’s handy to keep these things in mind:
The tongue has a powerful effect on emotions! It is said that it takes four positive comments to counter the effect of one negative one! If you battle with nagging, or being pessimistic around your daughter, try putting up a sticky note with a reminder to hold your comments and revise before letting them leave your mouth. It’s easier to bite your tongue than to eat words later.
Relationship matters most
Addressing issues in the heat of the moment is a bad idea. Like trying to talk to your four year old who has just weed on the floor, while the phone is ringing, the rice is burning on the stove and the baby is wailing in his cot. Wait until the chaos is over, and your nerves are calm before broaching the subject of why weeing in the toilet is better than finishing her lego princess house.
Regular family ‘meetings’
Family meetings are wonderful for maintaining family communication! In these, as a family you discuss the week that has passed, talk about it’s greatest moments, and lowest. You plan for the following week, open up the ‘floor’ to suggestions on what to work harder on, what to change regarding discipline, time management, etc. Get your daughter involved in the planning – what would she like as a reward for completed chores; what did she feel insecure about this week; what would she like to do more of in the following week.
Talk in ‘I’ messages
They are non-accusatory and non-attacking, and open the way for calm discussions as opposed to bringing on defend-react arguments. “I feel … when you…. because I…. “ as opposed to “You always…”
Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. Hear the feelings behind your daughters words and be sensitive to them.
Sit on your bum; get eye-level
I’ve done this all week – heard little ones at my legs calling me, whining, arguing. I’m in such a rush to get things done – cooking, dishes, laundry, blog posts, that I don’t take the time to leave it all and SIT. Look at the 16 month old’s sweet face and play with him and his toy cars. Paint with the four year old. Build a lego house with the five year old. They call me for attention, and I am too busy. Such a shame (sigh). This week I will get on my bum and be eye-level and engage!
Encourage your ‘I can’t’ child
If your daughter often says ‘I can’t…’ or ‘I need you to help meee…..’ every 20minutes, it is tempting to get irritable with her, especially if she is at an age where you know it is possible for her to do it alone. Encourage her in present situations, be patient and help her. This will pass, and your patience will keep your relationship a happy one.
You’re such a treasure! You’re my delight! You made my day! You make our family happy! You’ll make a wonderful wife one day! You’re unique! You’re a great friend! Im behind you! Im praying for you! I am glad you are my daughter! Words can lift a spirit and build self esteem and confidence. Use them lavishly! 🙂
These gems are inspired from Purposeful Parenting by Sue & Howard Johnston.
Next week: Teaching Your Daughter About True Beauty