My oldest child is almost five years old. Every day I am beginning to see her take steps towards asserting her own independence and self-reliance. Although it can be hard for me to see my daughter no longer as a toddler, but a young girl, anxious to learn about the world. As a parent, it is my responsibility to help foster that sense of independence and encourage her to grow and develop as a young woman. Even simple activities can mean a lot to a young girl.
Give her freedom
Being the mother of three young children, I’m used to giving commands and occasionally barking orders. Although I work very hard on asking my children to do things, rather than telling them to do things, it is still something I struggle with. My oldest daughter has reached a point that she does not want to be told to do something, or asked to do something; she wants to make the choice to do it herself. Allowing my daughter to make decisions for herself, no matter how small, has greatly improved my interactions with her, and benefited our relationship.
Give her responsibility
I am the type of person who would rather just do everything myself than deal with someone else doing something in a way other than the way I would. It can be very hard for me to share responsibilities with my children, especially if I think I’ll have to come clean up behind them. My daughter, however, wants to feel as though she is contributing and helping. Giving her responsibilities, such as gathering the laundry or cleaning the bathroom mirror, allows her to have a job that she can feel proud about. That sense of responsibility and achievement is something she enjoys and it makes her feel good.
Give her mommy time
Despite how often my daughter stubbornly tells me that she isn’t a baby, she still needs time with just her and I. She might insist she’s a big girl, and doesn’t need me any more, but deep down, she still does. As she grows, I know these moments will become rarer as the older she gets, the less she’ll need me. Sneaking in cuddles with her or hugs and kisses when she will allow are important for me, but will also remind her, that no matter what, I love her and she will always be my daughter, no matter how big she gets.
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