How do you respond?

Can your daughters talk to you? Do you know how they feel about talking to you? Well, my oldest daughter hasn’t always felt comfortable talking to me. I didn’t understand why before. I thought I was so approachable and kind and loving. But then i found out it wasn’t all about being approachable, kind and loving. It was more about my response to their feelings, concerns or things their going through. Your response as a mother depends on how your daughter responds to you.

We can say all day long, “you know you can talk to me about anything.” They’ll nod their heads and say yes, but really, they don’t know. I learned this a few years back when my daughter told me that my tone, my voice and demeanor changes when she tells me what she’s dealing with. Also, when I come at her with what the bible said without giving good instruction and understanding first. In a moment when I thought that I was doing the right thing, I was totally doing the wrong thing. Colossian 3:21 says, “fathers do not embitter (provoke) your children, or they will become discouraged” We think provoking is all about yelling and responding with anger. Yes, that will get your kids to be closed off as well. But it can also be, not allowing them to speak their feelings, interrupting with a bible verse on how to “fix it”, telling them what they have to do and should do and speaking in a manner that makes them feel like they are doing something wrong even when your voice is at a low volume.

I’ve learned to be quick to listen, slow to speak and even slower to become angry. James 1:19. Now, my tone reflects understanding, my posture reflects humbleness, my words reflect love and care. See, what I thought I was doing right, was wrong. It was good, but not God. My response came from my own frustration and selfishness hidden under a smile or a soft touch. I wrote about those closest to us being able to see right through us; and my daughters do just that! They see through the smile, the high pitch voice I give off as if I’m in a good mood, they see the frustration or annoyance when I think I have neutral face on. Their response is to shut down, close off, not share a deep concern or feeling, or it may even have them respond in a way that’s not their character.

It’s important that we have a relationship with our daughters that allows them to be at peace with trusting us with information. If they can’t trust us with their feelings then we can’t trust them to be honest. The moment we realize that we are doing it wrong, correct it! It’s that simple. Don’t beat yourself up about it, this is a living and learning situation we are in. Trust God to give you an open heart and insight into the things you may be doing to keep your daughter at bay. I’m not done, my oldest is a month shy from 15 and we’ve got a long way to go. But with God, I’m living out this mothering stage by stage. It’s fun, it’s exhausting and it’s rewarding. Respond with a listening ear, a humble heart, just as we would come to the Lord is how we should come to our daughters. They need to see that we are a safe place for them.

For His Glory,

Kristin J.

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