My baby girl is growing up. It’s scary but it’s not like I didn’t know this was going to happen eventually. I just didn’t really understand how fast time does go by when you have kids. I feel like they just laid my daughter on my chest after being born and then I blinked and she’s 8.5 years old and in 2nd grade. So how do we help our kids go from child to teen? Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about that.
So now I’ve made it through the stages where I knew what I was doing for the most part and the answers were more simple. I breastfed, used disposable diapers, waited till she showed signs of being ready to potty train. I made it through her colic stage and all the tantrums but we are entering new territory now.
She is starting to have crushes on boys. Again I knew this would happen but I have to start thinking what are our rules going to be for boys and dating. The crushes are just starting and she wrote a boy a poem the other day. For now, I’m just trying to keep the dialogue open with her so she feels comfortable talking to me and sharing her feelings. In m y opinion that is such an important part of the mother-daughter relationship. I need her to get used to sharing with me so as she gets older and life gets more complicated she will still feel safe coming to me.
So as her parents we set rules that work for us. They aren’t for everyone because parenting is a unique thing and what works for us doesn’t work for everyone. I’m a big believer in parenting in a way that works for you and your children and not worrying too much about what everyone else thinks. I believe in thinking ahead and trying to plan how to make things easier and how we are going to do things. Of course, things will change and we will learn more along the way but I think going in with some idea of a plan is a good strategy.
So here are our 5 rules of parenting from childhood to teens that we are going to be using in our family.
1. Communication: Keep the lines open from the beginning, I talk to my daughter about her day now at 8 and will continue to talk with her so that as she gets older she will feel comfortable talking to me. So I talk to her every day after school and keep up to date on friendships and what’s going on in her world. So far it’s easy to get her to talk to me and I hope she remains open with me as she grows up.
2. Teaching: As she gets older I share with her a little bit more about grown-up topics like relationships, sex, going to college, etc. I only tell her what is appropriate for her to know at each age but I want her to have the right facts so I want to tell her before she hears the wrong facts from someone else.
3. Honesty: I try, to be honest with her as much as possible. I still tell the parenting “fibs” you know those ones around the Holidays? But with the important stuff and for the things that matter I tell her the truth. I sit down and explain things honestly and so that she will understand. I want her to trust that I am someone who is honest and truthful. That way when I tell her things in the future she knows she can believe me.
4. Time: It’s a fact of parenting at any age, it takes time. The more time I spend with her and the more quality of that time the better relationship we will have. Having that quality relationship built is going to make the upcoming years easier and better. She needs to know that I love her and that we are close so that she can come to me with anything and lean on me when she needs someone.
5. Confidence: I think that sending my daughter into her teens with confidence would be probably the best thing I could do for her. Of course, she’s going to go through periods of lacking self-confidence as she grows older, we all went through it and as much as I’d like to shield her from it I don’t think that I will make her immune to going through those phases. So I’ll do what I can and help boost her confidence over the next few years so that she is coming from the best place during those tough times.
I know that there will be difficult times ahead as Bella transitions from child to teen. I believe that by doing these 5 things I can make the process and the journey as easy as possible. She’s a good person at heart and I think that will help a lot.