Long before you became a parent, you were thinking of life lessons to share with your daughter. Some of these thoughts probably even popped into your head as a wee one yourself, most likely after you slammed your bedroom door or silently pouted in the backseat of the station wagon. And now here you are with your own mini-me, who you want to benefit from your life’s experiences. Savor these life lessons to share with your daughter, knowing the sentiment will stay with her long after the words are forgotten.
1. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff
When your daughter experiences the first heartbreaks of youth, take her pain seriously while still letting her know everything is going to be ok. If she loses the class spelling bee, remind her she seriously aced the last math quiz. If Bobby didn’t ask her to the dance, mention the little neighborhood boy who bought her a cone from the ice cream truck last week. For every letdown, there is a reason and a pick-me-up. This is one of the greatest life lessons to share with your daughter. It will carry on with her through her adult life and help her conquer even bigger little stuff.
2. Keep Your Friends Close and Your Siblings Closer
There is a day when we will no longer be there physically for our children, but our love and lessons will live on. Making friends now, and keeping the relationship strong with siblings will make a daughter’s life filled with family wherever she goes. One of the best ways to prove this is to be an example. Call your sibs on a regular basis, and get together when possible. Be with your friends and your daughter at the same time on occasion, so that she has a 3-D example of your words in action. There’s nothing more powerful!
3. Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow
We all want our daughters to have a good life, one where worry is small, work is rewarding, and rewards are high. But as much as Mother often knows best, each person must forge her own path. The road to fulfillment—financial as well as personal—is a unique path for each of us. Support her dreams, have the ever-present list of pros and cons, and help her to find her way in the best way possible—for her! Most importantly, remind her that we all have a special gift and ability. Support her in hers, and you will be her greatest lifelong cheerleader!
4. Be Independent, but Have a Partner You Can Lean on
It is so important for your daughter to believe she is capable of building the life she envisions. If she wants to buy a house on her own, break the glass ceiling of her company, travel the world to fill her wanderlust soul, it’s her prerogative. When she does decide to settle down, so to speak, there’s nothing wrong and many things so right in choosing a partner who will stand by her when the chips are down. Also remind her that a partner who is a support is not the same thing as a crutch. As a very wise mother once said, “Relationships are 50/50. But it usually comes in the form of 90/10 followed by 10/90.” She will someday be the healthy support you hope for her to find. Which is another great Mom-ism.
5. You Are Loved Unconditionally and Eternally
It’s amazing the weight lifted off of a person who knows that no matter what, they are loved forever. Regardless of how many times she rolls her eyes at you, continue to tell your daughter that she is loved just for being her. There is nothing she could do for you to love her more than you do right now. The power in this kind of love will lift her up and help her to achieve her goals in life beyond measure. More than that, there is a Happiness Factor in being unconditionally loved that is off the charts.
6. Like Wine, Life Only Gets Better with Age
In our age-sensitive society, girls are often sent the message that they are over the hill by 29. Let your daughter know that the 40s and 50s of life are something to aspire to, not to hide from. With each decade comes a new chance to discover more about you, to feel more comfortable in your own skin, and to live your true life without apology. Who needs anti-aging cream when you can have that?!?
7. Re-evaluate Re-evaluate Re-evaluate
Encourage your daughter not to stay stagnant. Almost every path can be reversed if it is not healthy, or fulfilling. So she went to school to become a CPA, but realizes her true joy comes from working with non-profits. Perhaps she’ll find an accounting position with one of them. The partner she has chosen is not treating her well, and is unwilling to change. Reiterate she can make it without him if this isn’t a positive situation for her. She is strong, capable, and wonderful. But then, you already taught her that lesson.
Raising a daughter is a challenge and a privilege. In this fast-paced world, keeping pace with the potential pitfalls and also keeping a rein on your own fears is a tremendous balancing act. But in the end, if you give your daughter a willing ear, a strong shoulder to cry on, a view of the world in a positive and realistic way, and two eternally open arms, she will have all she needs to succeed. What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?