Moms: 4 Things You Alone Can Offer Your Daughter


I was looking through an old notepad tonight, and I came across some notes that I meant to share with you all back in the fall. As you might remember, I attended Lifeway’s dotMom conference, and it was incredible. (They are doing two events this year, one in Dallas and one in Chattanooga.) There were lots of CHristian speakers who all talked about being a good mom and what makes a good mom and what good moms do and don’t do. But there was one in particular who gave such insight that I wrote pages of notes. Her name is Sissy Goff, and she is an author, speaker, and counselor of teenage girls at a place called Daystar Counseling Ministries in Nashville. She specializes in private counseling for young girls, leading girls’ counseling/support groups, and teaching parenting classes. She gave some of the most practical and eye-opening information that we heard that weekend, and I wanted to pass it along to those of you who might be raising daughters. The talk centered around the importance of the mother/daughter relationship. Although it can be tricky at times, there are several things that moms uniquely can bring to their daughters’ lives. (I hope I am not doing any disservice to Sissy’s great talk by my recap. It’s been a while since I heard it and hope to recall it accurately.) Here they are:

1. She needs your support. Every stage of her life is different, but in every stage she needs your support. You are her safety net for exploring the world. She needs to know that after exploring a little, she can come back to the safety of Mom to digest it all. Your relationship with her is her first view of herself. (Gulp!) If you are constantly telling her what she needs to change or do better, she will learn that she always needs to change and do better. If you value her quirks and uniqueness, she will have the confidence to be herself. A girl’s favorite thing for Mom to do is listen. Her least favorite thing for you to do is fix it. She needs you to help her through the process of developing her own voice and solving her own problems in her own way.

2. She needs you to help her differentiate from you. When your daughter gets to the tween years, she begins to understand that she is her own person. You and she aren’t the same person, even though she feels more like an extension of you than any other person. She needs to know that you are okay with her doing things her own way and making choices that you would not necessarily make. When she needs to differentiate from you, it can be a difficult process. When she wants to grow up, she is like a pendulum who has to push off of you to swing out into the world. She may become more silent and distant from you than ever before. When she does it, don’t blame yourself. It is part of God’s design in growing her into the person He created her to be. Again, she needs to know that you’re okay with it and that you are giving her the space to become herself. If you have been okay with the swing out (trusting her to use sound judgement and not being critical of her choices), then she will eventually swing back to you. You will enjoy a wonderful friendship with her later on if you handle this tricky phase with grace. Where can you see that God is already at work in her life? Affirm that to her.

3. She needs you to enjoy her. Girls who feel delighted in feel delightful. (Dads can also play a HUGE role in helping girls feel delighted in!!!) She needs you to enjoy being with her. She needs you to enjoy her interests. She needs you to enjoy the things that bring her joy. You need a “thing” with each of your daughters, where you aren’t teaching or instructing. (Do you hear that, homeschooling mama?) These times teach her to value herself.

4. She needs you to be her inspiration. Girls bounce back and forth between two questions: Am I enough? and Am I too much? Help her answer that question by modeling and verbalizing the answers for her in your own life. She needs to know that she is valuable to you and to God and that she is valuable to the world God created her for. Remind her that she has a calling from Him and that He has important work for her to do. Teach her that she is always worth the effort that she requires. The biggest way she will learn these important views of herself, is to see that you believe them about yourself.

Moms, help your daughters figure out where God is working in their lives and using them in His kingdom and come alongside Him to support and encourage them.

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