It feels like only yesterday that she wanted to share everything with you, from the teacher’s praise about her drawing to how she’d fallen out with her best friend over whether to watch Frozen or Moana for the 102nd time.
But as she’s emerging into her teenage years, you can feel her starting to distance herself. From spending more time in her room to being superglued to her phone whenever she’s in your presence, it doesn’t take long to feel like a barrier is building between you.
And you want to be able to talk to her during these precious years. Whether it’s about schoolwork, boys or her period, it’s important that she feels like she can – and wants to – come to you when something’s bothering her.
So here are five ways you can help to keep the bond with your daughter strong.
Have a code word (or two)
Often, the hardest thing about confiding in someone or asking for advice is knowing how to start the conversation, or finding the right time to talk.
Designate a code word for your daughter to say when she wants to talk to you about something serious. So that way she doesn’t have to struggle to find a way to start the conversation, or she can communicate that she wants to talk in private, so you can the create that opportunity – by getting dad to go pick up some milk, for example.
You also need to appreciate she may not want to talk about what’s upsetting her, at least not right away. So perhaps have a code word for when she doesn’t want to talk, too, so you know not to push it.
Have a duvet day
Remember when you used to spend the whole a day in bed as a teenager? Who says you can’t do it as an adult, too?
One Sunday a month, for example, clear your diary, grab the duvet and some snacks, and hit the sofa with your daughter to binge on boxsets and films together.
Not only is this a great way to spend the day, but it will show your daughter you are willing to make her a priority – and all while keeping it relaxed so there’s not any pressure to have ‘forced fun’ together.
Do what she enjoys
Make an effort to be a part of her world and join her while she does something she loves.
Whether that’s cooking something, going for a bike ride, or just watching silly videos together on YouTube, it’s a great insight into what makes her tick, and a chance to enjoy some quality time together.
Let her give you a makeover
She may be too young to wear make-up herself, but she’s probably getting curious about it. So you could let her play around with your make-up, trying different looks out on you.
Watch some tutorial videos together for inspiration, and you never know – she may help you discover a new look you love!
Simply give her a hug
You might assume that once your daughter reaches a certain age, she doesn’t want as many cuddles as when she was younger. And, sure, a few hugs might be greeted with an embarrassed ‘Muuuuum!’. But the more you give out, the more natural it will be for her to receive them – and, who knows, maybe even initiate them!
Hugs not only bring you physically closer, but it makes you feel emotionally closer, too. Research shows that hugging increases levels of the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin in both the giver and receiver, so it makes both of you feel good – and even has health-giving properties. So what are you waiting for? Go and give her a big squeeze!
This article was brought to you by Tampax. Make sure your daughter’s prepared for her period by visiting our Tampax page for useful articles and products.
How do you keep the bond between you and your daughter strong? Let us know your tips in the comments section below.