My 10-year old daughter is in that tender pre-adolescent stage that can be difficult for all involved. She no longer wants to be a little girl, certainly not in public, yet she’s not confident enough (nor old enough) to go it alone. She’s gradually maturing, sometimes stumbling along the way. Yet ask for help? Mom is beginning to fall into that you-don’t-know-anything phase that I’m so not looking forward to.
How do you keep your daughter close? How do you make sure those lines of communication stay open, especially when the tough stuff is right around the corner?
About a year ago, I started journaling with Leah. This isn’t your typical diary, nor is it a concurrent activity we do together. Rather, I bought a lined journal for us to share. When she has something she wants to talk about, she’ll write to me in it and leave it at my bed side. I don’t have to return it immediately. I can respond in due time, answering her questions or maybe sharing some of my own thoughts. We aren’t really writing letters back and forth to each other – although sometimes it turns out to be doing just that – but we give each other the opportunity to say what’s on our minds and share it. Sometimes we’re mad. Sometimes we don’t pass the journal back and forth for several weeks. But it’s always there and it’s always a chance to “talk” when words don’t seem to find their way.
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t. I read about it in a magazine somewhere. I think that the daughter was older, and the journal may have been more regular. But it was a keepsake this woman remembered because of the respect her mother paid her by recognizing the need to back off and give some space.
I hope to start this with my younger daughter soon, allowing her, too, to share private feelings and thoughts, just with me. It’s a safe, easy way to let your daughters know that they can talk to you about anything, anytime.