I am sure you’ve never been out in public with young children and been embarrassed by their behavior. Never, not you. Not your kids. But just…
Every writer and blogger seem to be talking about New Year’s Resolutions right about now. So here I am joining the rank. My angle, however, is very specific — specific to moms like me who have daughters (or in my case, have many daughters).
Could these goals relate to moms of boys? Perhaps, but I’ll let them be the judge.
So without further ado, here are 5 worthwhile resolutions if you have a daughter in your home.
1. Invest in your relationship.
From what I’ve witnessed working in youth ministry, the mom-daughter relationship can get messy in the teen years. At times, it’s the most strained family relationship there is. Admittedly, some of the issues may be unavoidable, but some tension may be eased by developing the relationship and deepening trust (both before the teen years and during).
A key thought along these lines (no matter your daughter’s age): don’t let all your interactions (or your nagging) be about to-do lists, chores, and homework. Find ways to praise what your daughter is doing right. Tell her why you appreciate her. Show her love how she receives it best. Spend quality time together. Do something fun every once in a while. Make sure you laugh together here and there.
Basically, make sure you don’t stay in business mode all the time. And don’t be too busy for her. See your daughter as a gift from the Lord (even when she’s a sassy teen), and know you’ll never regret investing in this precious relationship.
If your daughters are young, this is the easy(er) season to invest. Be intentional now so your relationship is as strong as it can be heading into the more “complicated” teen years. And if you’re already in those teen years, keep strategically investing (for ideas you can read: It Might Be Time You Bribe Your Teen).
2. Listen more, talk less.
It is tempting to not listen to our daughters as much as we should. When girls are little, most of them talk a lot! Which means, we can get tired of listening and then unintentionally tune them out. And as they become teens, our listening may lessen not because they talk too much, but because we talk too much — we moms want to instruct, lecture, advise, counsel, give opinions, etc. In other words, we end up doing way more talking at them and little listening to them.
Regardless of the stage of life, we should make sure we are good listeners. Our daughters should know we have time for them. And they should know we want to hear how they think and feel. Because we do!
And if truth be told, our words will be far wiser if they are more measured. Actually, we will probably be better heard when our words are not dispensed in overwhelming amounts. Meaning, our daughters will probably start listening more when we start talking less.
3. Pray more specifically, more often.
One of the ways we can wisely hold our tongues (especially in the nagging/lecturing kinds of ways) is by praying more specifically for our daughters.
Every complaint or concern doesn’t need to be communicated to your daughter; instead, talk to God. Pray about your fears for her, your worries, your frustrations. Ask God to help her grow in godliness, to fight sin, and to see things from his perspective.
Even as your daughter is young, pray about the big things to come in her life. As you notice weaknesses and patterns of sin, pray about them.
Ask God in very specific terms to help your daughter mature into the godly woman he (and you) want her to become.
4. Add to her skill repertoire.
You are your daughter’s best teacher. She will likely learn more from you than anyone one else in any other season of life. What skills can you give her before she leaves your home?
For example, one of my 2019 goals is to tackle some cooking skills with my girls. In honesty, it is so (so so so so) much easier to cook solo. But if I always do that I’ll be missing a key opportunity. So I’m starting simple: One daughter will help me cook once a week. With 4 daughters that’s only once a month for each— but 12 cooking lessons a year is better than zero, right?
You don’t have to go big and tackle something major (although go for it if you’re motivated!), but have 2019 be a year your daughter learns something that will benefit her for years to come.
5. Become a better example.
This is a lifelong goal, but it’s always worth working on — if you want to benefit your daughter in the most powerful way, make sure you are a good example. Yes, your daughter can learn great skills from watching you, but more importantly, your daughter is learning who to become by watching you.
Every day, strive to respond to life in godly ways knowing your choices are having an impact. Your home is a classroom, and your student(s) are learning. May your daughter learn to choose holiness even when it’s hard, may she catch you spending time in prayer, may she learn to prioritize eternal things, may she hear you ask for forgiveness, may she see in you who she should become.
By God’s grace, may we all –our daughters and us– leave 2019 better than we started.