Simply listening is a place to start in our conversations with our daughters. The best conversations are ones that are equally weighted – where there is room for silence and each person has a voice. Offering girls an opportunity to calm a flood of emotions gives them a key tool to guide their ability to begin working on solutions.
I recently had the privilege of working with a group of moms and daughters and I asked the girls to write down what they wish their moms understood about being a middle school girl. Here are some of their responses:
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I wish moms would know that when we are moody we don’t mean to be mean or angry.
When I say nothing’s wrong I don’t mean it, I want to have a heart-to-heart.
I wish she could understand how important it is to be with my friends - I want space from my mom sometimes and need to feel more independent.
How hard it is to repeat myself when I didn’t want to tell you in the first place.
It’s hard and we’re not perfect.
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Sometimes we want to talk to you.
Yelling does not make me listen.
Spending time with you once in a while would be nice.
Show me that you care.
It is hard having to worry about everything.
I don’t like it when she compliments EVERYTHING. I want real input on what I do. “oh, that’s nice” just doesn’t cut it.
I wish my mom knew how sad I am, and how much I’m going through.
In these words, I hear girls looking for connection and consistency with their families – a reaching out for important conversations.
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Julie Metzger, RN, MN is the co-author of the book Will Puberty Last My Whole Life?