Our oldest daughter is thirteen. We are in the thick of physical and emotional changes and the quintessential teenage struggles. As much as you think it's a losing battle, there are things you can do to make it easier for her and you. Here are three easy and fun ways you can support her during these trying years.
1. Spend One-on-one Time Together
I make it a priority to spend one-on-one time with each of my daughters. It's important to continue to do this as your daughter goes into her pre-teen and teenage yours. Although, don't be offended if she would rather hang out with her friends! As she gets older, you can tailor your activities to be more adult oriented. There's no need to be in a rush to do this. Eventually she'll appreciate your treating her like a grown-up. For example, you might get coffee together or go for lunch at a nice restaurant. Don't treat her like one of your girlfriends, but recognize that she's no longer a little girl either.
2. Buy Her a Grown-Up Gift
Recognizing that your daughter is turning into a young woman is an important theme as she gets older. She might not be thinking and behaving like an adult just yet, but she won't appreciate being treated like a toddler either. One way to show you recognize she's changing is to buy her a gift. There are many things that girls view as adult possessions, although they can vary from girl to girl. At one time, a cell phone was considered a grown-up possession. But these days, many 'tweens have one. It could be something practical, like a laptop for her school work. Or it could be something beautiful, like a delicate gold necklace from Chain Me Up. By getting her a gift like this, you're showing that you think she's responsible enough to take care of it and appreciate it.
3. Educate Her
Education is essential as girls age. It's especially important to teach them what they need to know about their bodies and how puberty affects them. So many girls and women don't know enough about female anatomy because most people are not comfortable discussing it. Although your daughter will likely receive some education at school, it's important not to leave it up to those educators. She will probably turn to the internet too, but it's easy for her to stumble upon misinformation. And of course, her friends will be a resource, but each girl is different She needs you during this time. If you don't like the idea of having a big talk, you can give her some resources to read or watch.
Just as adults do, children and teenagers also need their own space. You may want to help as much as possible, but sometimes your daughter needs to be alone or with her friends. Try to find the balance between being supportive and overbearing. However, don't be too hard on yourself or on her. Take it from me, these times can be difficult!