Raising a little girl can feel overwhelming and even a little scary at first. No matter how old she is it’s never too late to learn how to be a good mom to a daughter.
When you start to examine yourself as a mother, you will probably see your imperfections and wonder how to NOT pass them on. If I’m being completely honest, the fact that I had flaws caused me to worry that I wouldn’t be able to raise a confident daughter.
I think every mother of a daughter will agree that we just want to encourage her to become the woman she was made to be. God gave us this beautiful little girl to love, nurture, and teach. As a mom, I want what is best for her, and sometimes that gets overshadowed by my own fears, worries, and even selfishness.
How to Be a Good Mom to a Daughter
Let me start by saying I’m not a parenting expert. I’m just a momma to (almost) two little girls, so I am speaking from life experience here.
Some of these tips for being a good mom to a daughter may not apply to you right now. But, I think it’s important to read through them so you can prepare yourself for the road ahead.
My hope is that this list would encourage you to build a real, long-lasting relationship with your daughter. One that teaches her love, compassion, patience, and resiliency.
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1. Observe Her
This starts from the very moment she is born. In the beginning, it may feel easy to observe your daughter, but after the newborn phase has worn off you may not even think about it.
You are probably wondering what am I observing her for? This will really depend on her age, but for the most part, you are just trying to learn about her. Just sit still and watch.. that’s it.
When your child is a newborn you are observing everything from their new facial expressions to the noises they make. As they get older, watching them will help you follow their lead, which leads me to my next point.
2. Notice her Interests
A good mom usually notices her daughter’s natural interests. Especially if she’s taking the time to sit and observe her.
A few months ago, my oldest daughter became obsessed with rocks. I was pretty confident she would grow up to be a Geologist. Anyhow this newfound interest, also lead to putting these rocks in her mouth.
At 14 months old, how do you encourage playing with rocks, without swallowing them??
I had no idea. So, I started by noticing rocks everywhere we went and pointing them out to her. After what felt like an eternity, she stopped putting them in her mouth and started collecting them.
I know she’s only 18 months old right now, but I feel like it has helped to pay more attention to her interests and also to encourage her in them!
3. Encourage Don’t Push
Every child is going to go through a phase where they won’t want to do something. Whether that be a sport or meeting new friends, these moments can be hard.
As a mom, it’s important to encourage our daughters to try new activities and help them to step out of their comfort zone. But, nothing is worse than being pushed into it.
You will want to listen to their feelings (more on this in a minute) and then help them work through their emotions. When it comes to fear, sometimes we just need to explain the reasons why it’s not so scary or even shares a personal experience.
4. Use a Gentle Tone
The words we use and tone that follows is huge. Children are SMART and can see right through to our true feelings.
It’s important to use a gentle tone when talking with our daughters. This will not only help her to remain calm but will show her what it looks like to have conversations in this manner.
If you are a Montessori parent or follow the Danish way of parenting, you are probably familiar with their approach to explain a situation and not yelling. Most of us grew up with traditional forms of discipline, but recent research has shown us how positive parenting can help our children to become confident, empathetic, and resilient individuals.
5. Notice the Good
It’s our job to always pay attention to the good things about our daughter. If you’ve come from an authoritarian parenting style, you were probably disciplined with threats, shaming, and punishment. So this concept of noticing the good may feel totally foreign.
The world is already going to make her feel insecure, self-conscious, and negative about herself, we need to reinforce what we know is true about her. Because we will see all sides of our little girl, it’s easy to focus on the negative she does, but she needs to be reminded of her good qualities.
6. Reframe the Negative
When I read the book The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Alexander and Iben Sandahl, I was confused about how to reframe negative situations. I didn’t want my daughter to think that life was all rainbows and lollipops.
After doing some research, I realized that this is actually called being a Realistic Optimist. They give a few examples in the book, but it’s really about listening for the positive moments in your child’s story and helping them focus on those details!
7. Just Listen
Sometimes our daughter will need us to give advice and redirect her thoughts, but other times she really just needs a listening ear. When we can stop and listen to the celebrations, struggles, and worries that our child has, this will let her know that she is worthy to be heard and that her views matter.
Now before you try to hold your tongue, I want you to get familiar with active listening. There is quite a technique for this, but my counselor introduced it to my husband and I…. And it’s helped us immensely!
8. Encourage her to be Unique
As a follower of Christ, I believe that He created each of us to be unique. That means that even though she is MY daughter, He gave her different likes, interests, and personality.
It’s so easy to search for pieces of us in our daughter. It can feel really exciting when she starts to show interest in something that is near and dear to our heart. But we need to remember that as a mom, we are here to raise this little girl to become an independent woman and follower of Christ.
The mission of motherhood is to help her to embrace her uniqueness because these are the gifts God gave her to use. Our hope is that she would use her interests and talents to glorify Him.
9. Pray for Her
We will never realize the impact that prayer has on our daughter’s life. Because it’s silent and often feels like hopeful thoughts and dreams, prayer can seem unimportant.
As a busy momma, I know how hard it is to even find time to be with the Lord. So, know that this prayer doesn’t need to be long or eloquent. It can be as simple as watching her play and asking Him to give you guidance as a mother. Or maybe you notice something unique about her and pray that God would use that for His good.
10. Pray with Her
One of the most beautiful moments you will have with your daughter is when you pray together. It may feel awkward and a little uncomfortable at first, especially if you haven’t done it together your whole life.
Try spending a few minutes before bed, praying for her and letting her pray as well. If she’s older, you could try a mother-daughter devotional to give you a little guidance.
Here are some Bible Verses to help you pray with her:
11. One-On-One Time
This feels like one of the most important points on this list. In the midst of the chaos of everyday life, we can forget to spend some one-on-one time with our daughter.
If she is little and you are a stay-at-home mama, you may wonder why this is important when you spend all day with her! I like to be intentional with my time with her. We spend 15-20 minutes each day playing with her toys or reading books. She loves the attention and it helps me to observe and notice her interests.
When she gets a little older and we have more kiddos, we plan on giving each of the kids a special night. This gives us an opportunity to get to know them better and it will make her feel important.
12. Be Honest with Her
As a mom, I want to cover up all the bad things that happen in this world. Whether it be the mean comment or a sad event that took place. But, that’s not reality. Not everyone is going to be kind, empathetic, or understanding, so I can not over-praise her.
I love how Jessica describes it in The Danish Way of Parenting book. I’m going to summarize this, so you need to read the entire book!! But, she says that if our child brings a painting home instead of saying “That’s beautiful!! You’re an amazing artist!!” Get curious about the photo and ask them questions like “why did you choose to draw a cat? Or “why did you choose those colors?”
This doesn’t over-praise them, but still, acknowledge that you care and appreciate their efforts.
13. Give Her Space
When we see our daughter hurting, we immediately want to step in and fix the situation. Most of the time it’s because we want to make her feel better or simply because it’s easier. But it’s really important to give her space and let her do some reflecting on her own.
We want to raise a confident and independent woman, so if we try to fix the situation we aren’t allowing her to practice using her independence. By allowing her to do some of her own problem solving, we can then guide her in the right direction. This doesn’t mean we will tell her how to resolve it, rather we will use some of her idea and give other suggestions.
14. Practice Empathy
If I’m being completely honest, I’m still learning about what it looks like to practice empathy with my daughter. But, I think it’s really important to understand what it means.
I absolutely adore Brene Brown and will find any excuse to mention her in one of my blog posts. I love what she has to say about Empathy:
I’m in it with you.
I’m not here to fix you.
I’m not here to feel it for you.
I’m here to feel with you and let you know you’re not alone.“
15. Have Realistic Expectations
I think that it’s important to notice where your daughter is at developmentally and have realistic expectations for her during that stage. This will help you to be a calmer momma and will help you have a bit more understanding of what she is going through.
My oldest daughter is at the height of temper tantrums. At first, I really struggled with them and if I’m being honest, I thought they made her look like a bad kid.
But the truth is that this is completely normal for her age. When I realized this, it helped me to have more patience and understanding which gave her space to figure things out on her own.
16. Admit to YOUR Mistakes
Being a good mother doesn’t mean you will do things perfectly (more on this in a minute), but it does mean you will admit to your mistakes. This shows her how to respond when she messes up.
If you avoid apologies this will show your child that they should feel shame when they apologize and that t’s okay to not try to repair a relationship. You can read more about how and when to apologize to your child here.
17. Be a Good Example
Once again, this doesn’t mean being a perfect mother. You want to be an example of what it looks like to have healthy relationships, how to interact in the community, and most of all follow Christ.
I believe that our actions speak so much louder than our words. Kids are smart and can read right through our fake words.
18. Have an Open Mind
Whether it be out of love or selfish desire, we can feel like we know what’s BEST for our child. Most of the time our motherly intuition will be right. But, there are times when we need to have an open mind.
I think this goes along with listening and observing your daughter. When you are listening to their heart and observing their desires, your intuition will probably be spot on. But, if we aren’t in tune with it, then you may be pushing them into something they don’t want to do.
Try your best to stay open-minded and have empathy for where they are at!
19. Let go of Perfection
I put this down last because I’m nowhere near ready to talk about this confidently. At times, I find myself chasing perfectionism over what’s best for my daughter.
In the moments when I am able to let go of being perfect or showing that I’m imperfect, I see the best version of myself. In return, I start to notice my daughter flourishing.
For me, the thought of being a “Good Enough” mother has helped me to lay down my need to seek perfection. You can check out my blog post about how to be a “good enough” mother.
It doesn’t matter how old your daughter is she needs you as her mother. When we can put down our selfishness, we can then focus on helping her to become the woman she was created to be. I hope these 19 tips will help you to become a good mom for your daughter!
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