4 Ways to Stay Connected with Your Pre-teen Daughter and Boost Her Self-Confidence

Remember the days when your daughter was a toddler and wanted to cuddle with you and play with you and make you laugh? They may seem like distant memories now that she is a pre-teen. Merging into tween-ville comes with many different challenges, for both you and your child. She’s searching for the start of her independence, and she wants to make up her own mind while challenging previously-accepted ideas and beliefs. It’s all a part of growing up, no matter how difficult it is to have the same fight several times a week about her ability to be responsible and make her own choices without your consent or approval. In truth, this means your child is maturing. Remember, independence is a necessary desire and skill for any successful, emotionally-healthy adult.

But that doesn’t mean you have to let your relationship weaken. It does mean that you have to find new ways to stay connected with your pre-teen. It’s an evolving relationship, so don’t let opportunities to connect pass you by. Here are just a few ways to get you started in the right direction:

 

1. Redecorating Her Room

Blue girls kids bedroom interior.

Pre-teens are trying to find their identities. And once they have narrowed in on something, they want ways to express themselves. Your child is no different. She needs to feel safe, welcome, and not judged in her own home, so her room is a perfect place for her to express herself and be comfortable in her own skin. It may be tempting to take control and redecorate her room with your tastes or with the tastes and interests you wished she had, but this is her space, her safe zone. Her room is her refuge. It can be as simple as letting her choose her own bedding. Join forces with your daughter and come up with a redecorating plan. You can have input, but encourage her to make both the tough and fun choices. Redecorating the room with her in the lead will give you a lot of quality time together, and it will show that you do trust her and you want her to never be afraid to be herself, whatever that might entail.

Something to Consider:

Privacy Window Coverings – No matter if your daughter chooses curtains, shades, or blinds, make sure they offer privacy. Any window shade offers privacy liners, so no one can see into the room from outside at night. Even though your child is approaching becoming a teenager, cordless window coverings are always the safest choice. Cordless roman shades, for instance, will give your child’s room added style and give you peace of mind at the same time.

 

2. Start a New Tradition

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

As a pre-teen, your daughter might try to spend as little time with you and the rest of the family as possible. She loves her friends, and her social life is her world. She might try to break away from long-standing family traditions, so it might be time to start a new tradition, just to pull the family back together again, even if for just a few hours. One way to get her involved and interested is to let her choose or make the final call on the new tradition. What’s something she has always wanted to do? Does she love going to the beach? Why not make a trip at the end of summer to the beach each year? This will get her excited about the new tradition and maybe even spending more time with the family.

Something to Consider:

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone – Allowing your daughter to choose a new tradition might mean she’ll make it a challenge for you. Let her. You’ll show her that it’s OK to try new things, even if you think you’ll hate it. Get out of your own comfort zone to help your daughter get out of hers, so she can find out who she really is, even if for that moment.

 

3. Get Back to the Classics

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

No matter if your daughter prefers books or movies, it might be time to get back to the classics. Classics are classics for a reason. You don’t have to find the ones with main characters similar in age to your daughter, but that can be something to consider. Look for classics that are fun, poignant, or thought-provoking. If you’re going to do a classics marathon, make sure to mix up the emotional with the quirky and lighthearted. A good, healthy mix will not only entertain her, but she will be met with new ideas and concepts, helping her to form her own opinions, with you there to guide her along the way to healthy conversation.

Some Things to Consider:

Classic Movies

  • Roman Holiday
  • Gone with the Wind
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Classic Books

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsen Burnett
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

4. Explore a Culture

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

No matter if you’re planning a family trip, you’d like to explore your family’s own culture, or you pick a random culture to explore, you can build deeper family connections. Every culture is steeped in history, beautiful language, and unique cultural traditions, beliefs, and practices. You could spend an entire year on one culture, taking nights each week to try new cultural recipes, learning the language, and celebrating or honoring that culture’s holidays. Learning about culture, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, can build empathy and understanding for others and acceptance for one’s self.

Something to Consider: You don’t have to spend money to learn about and participate in a culture. There are many free language learning sites, like LiveMocha.com, which allows you to take courses in language learning and culture. You can also practice language skills with native speakers from all over the world. For another option, find cultural fairs and events in your area. These events can offer great insight into cultural dress, food, and entertainment.

Connecting with your daughter doesn’t mean she can’t be with friends or be alone. It can be as simple as your daughter knowing you’re there for her when she’s ready to reach out to you, no matter what. Being a parent to a pre-teen will make you work a little harder for that connection, but the hard work will pay off in the end. She may roll her eyes now, but when she’s an adult, she’ll look back on your efforts with fondness.

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