Do you share with your daughter what inspires you, what you are good at, and your belief system? If you love yoga, tell her how it makes you feel centered, strong, and spiritual. If you are good at math, tell her that. Share with her what you did before you were her mom. Tell her what you want to do with your life as both of you get older. Share with her your goals and let her watch you achieve them. Celebrate your successes, even the small ones. If you work outside of the house, tell her why you do and tell her what you like about it. If you work inside the house (and don’t we all) tell her why you made the choice to stay home. However, if you tell her why you made one choice over the other and you criticize moms for making a different choice, you have just taught her two very important lessons. The first is to judge others who make a different choice than you and the second is that if she chooses something different, she will be disappointing you. The mommy wars have left a path of destruction that has only served to hurt moms and their daughters. Do you really want to do that to your girl?
Your daughter will learn how to handle stress and fear by watching you. Do you face your fears, acknowledge them and then move forward or are you in constant denial? Do you manage your stress by taking care of yourself or do you ignore it and put your health and well being at risk? If you expect your daughter to treat her body with care and respect than you need to do just that. Are you often angry, bitter, resentful, and full of complaints? She’s watching that and learning from you. Is your glass half full or half empty? Do you find the silver lining in even the most difficult of situations? If so, you have taught your daughter to safely navigate a life that will be filled with challenges.
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Do you dress in a way that shows your confidence and self care but is appropriate for your age and public viewing? Do you allow your daughter to dress in a way that is both physically uncomfortable and sexually revealing just because everyone else is doing it? You’ve just taught her to follow the crowd and to ignore the physical discomfort of a too tight and too short dress with really uncomfortable high heeled shoes. Your daughter needs you to say no to her and to set limits for her. She will not tell you that she needs limit setting but she does! Get tough, your girl needs a mom not a best friend. You can be her best friend when she is an adult but not now.
Finally, how do you treat your friends? Do you talk poorly of them behind their backs? Are you jealous and indignant when they achieve things that you haven’t or do you celebrate their success? Do you get mad at them easily or are you forgiving and patient? Are you a good listener? It’s hard not to be judgmental or to periodically gossip but at least try not to do these things within earshot of your daughter, she’s listening. Teach your daughter how to be a loyal and good friend by role modeling these behaviors. Tell her what you like about your friends and how important they are to you. Teaching her the priceless value of girlfriends is a lesson that she will use for life. Not to mention, it will help in our long term goal of taking over the world!