How To Raise Independent Daughters: 7 Mistakes To Avoid

Dr. Michelle Deering

 

Lady Liberty_Independence Day_picture

On some level, every well-meaning mom wants to raise  independent daughters. However, sometimes that goal can feel unattainable when she is tugging at your leg or clamoring for your attention.

Those “tugging” and “clamoring” moments get expressed in different ways at different stages of her development. Regardless of the stage, it’s in those moments of tugging and clamoring when it’s easy for you to make one of the seven mistakes that can hinder your achieving your goal of raising an independent daughter.

Mistake #1: Forget She’s Not You.

finger knot reminderYour daughter is bound to remind you of yourself at some point. Her look, her demeanor, her mannerisms – even her comments – might “send you back” to a past you who stands before her in an adult body.

Sound confusing? I almost confused myself as I wrote that description. (Lol)

Imagine then how confusing it might get when you’re in the midst of an argument or stand-off with your daughter.

…and she’s not doing what you told her to do.

Why won’t she just listen” and do what you said.

One reason (among many) is that she is not you. Your daughter is taking in information and processing things through her own filter her own way.

One of your initial tasks, as her mom, is to internally recognize that you and your daughter are different.

 

Mistake #2: React Judgmentally

Not being listened to can be off-putting and make you react judgmentally towards your daughter.

judge's gavelWhen judgment happens, as humans we go into either an offensive or defensive mode. Either sparks ignite into an explosive argument or a “Defcon 1”-type silence.

However, neither reaction will be productive in producing improved relational patterns between the both of you.

If you can endeavor to listen to her like how you’d like to be listened to, then she will feel validated. Giving her that validation will be a strong foundation that will help you raise an independent daughter who does not seek others’ approval.

 

Mistake #3: Emote Instead Of Empathize

no empathy from momWhen reactions are occurring between a mom and daughter, there’s likely a “whole lot of (emoting) going on.” It’s understandable. Your (and her) feelings may be getting hurt. Sometimes, when it hurts so much, you both go into your “default” mode for dealing with such tensions. For example, tweens and teens tune out. Toddlers throw tantrums. Moms, you may lecture or lay on the guilt. Whatever your default mode is for emoting, there is a better way. Empathy.

Being empathic requires that you hear and experience your daughter as not being you. It also means that you non-judgmentally acknowledge her feelings.

 

Mistake #4: Erase Her Emotions

eraserWhen you don’t acknowledge your daughter’s feelings, you are essentially “erasing” (being dismissive of) her emotions in the moment. This might not seem like a big deal, but it will become a very big deal as she enters her tween years.

Saying something as simple as, “I hear/sense that you are feeling…X” before you make any commentary is key. If you consistently do this, you will have much currency later on when the more difficult topics (e.g. sex, dating, drugs, etc.) arise.

 

Mistake #5: Dominate The Dialogue

cold shoulderIf you are not empathizing or not “erasing” her emotions, then you may be dominating the dialogue. This can happen when you just want to get your point across at any cost or just
have to have “the last word,” or get your “word in edge-wise.”

But not all domination is verbal. Sometimes you can dominate the dialogue non-verbally, too. Doing things like noticeably going silent or shutting out (a.k.a. giving the “cold shoulder” to) your daughter are ways to dominate the dialogue non-verbally.

Please pause to consider what it may be costing you (& your daughter) if you continue to dominate the dialogue.

 

Mistake #6: Opt to Opt Out

opt outOpting out is akin to “checking out” of your daughter’s life. This can seem like a very viable option—even useful—especially if the pre-tween and/or tween years have been rather rough.

The misconception is that as your daughter gets older she won’t need you. The truth Is that your daughter will always need you. It’ll just be that she will need you in a different way. And the task on your motherhood journey is to figure out how you will adjust to your daughter’s changing needs. If you do, then you will help you raise independent daughters.

 

Mistake #7: Memorize Her Mistakes

slip upsAs moms, we have each made our share of mistakes. What if every day someone memorized your mistakes and constantly brought them to your attention? How would that make you feel?

Not great, huh? (I know it never felt great for me when my own mom would do that to me.)

Not keeping a record of your daughter’s mistakes is an expression of love that will greatly benefit your relationship with her.

If you can think back to when you were your daughter’s age, you didn’t know everything that you know now.

So, acknowledge (to yourself) that your daughter will make mistakes. Your role as her mom is to help her navigate the emotional and mental terrain of her own life.

Overall, your avoiding these seven mistakes will help you raise independent daughters.

If you find yourself making any of these mistakes and need help to stop, then click HERE.

 

Help is only a brief phone call away!

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