The Secret Every Parent of a Teen Needs to Know
How would you feel if you and your teen daughter were so close that she called you six or seven times a day?
While vending at a conference last week, I met a father whose daughters do just that.
He and his wife have five children, four daughters and a son. Their youngest child is 8 years old and their oldest is 21.
When I tell you this dad’s face lit up talking about his children.
You could tell how much he loved them, enjoyed spending time with them and valued the relationship they shared.
I asked him if he’d reveal his “secret” to getting his daughters to wantto talk with him that often so I could share it with my blog readers.
Turns out his “secret” was rather simple.
The Secret to Creating a Close-Knit Relationship with Your Daughter
Want to know his secret?
Here it is….
“My kids can tell that I like them.”
It’s so simple it’s profound.
He heard a speaker say something once that changed how he related to his children: “Whoever is kindest often has the most influence. People are drawn to whoever likes them most.”
He realized this also applied to his children, so he made sure his children knew that he didn’t just love them because they were his children.
He genuinely liked them and enjoyed being around them.
His advice to parents?
“Make sure your kids know that you like them. This can sometimes be challenging because kids aren’t always likable. But, even when you don’t like the way they are behaving, do everything in your power to make sure it doesn’t show.”
Make Her Feel Special
He also does everything in his power to make his daughters feel special, in addition to showing them how they deserve to be treated when they are in a relationship.
Like taking each of his daughters on a special date for their 16thbirthday, where the girls get to decide where they go.
His first daughter wanted to go to an amusement park to ride roller coasters.
His second daughter wanted to attend an NBA game.
His third daughter is 15 and has already made her request for her “special date with her dad.” She wants to go to a basketball game during March Madness.
He notes that sometimes it may take a while before his daughters realize the benefit of his efforts to make them feel special.
In 2016, he quit his job to transition to another career.
He and his wife decided this was a great opportunity to spend more time with the kids, as well as create wonderful family memories, before starting his new career.
So, they decided to spend the next six months traveling across the country.
They bought a trailer to hitch to the back of their car with everything they’d need for six months, and homeschooled their children during the trip.
Sounds great right?
Not at first.
Initially, their kids thought they were weird, that he and his wife were trying to ruin their lives, and they hated them for making that decision.
The dad admitted the first month was the hardest.
Even he was miserable and counting down the months until the six months was over.
But they hit their stride during the second month.
He realized how much he liked his kids and they all had a blast.
When the six months ended, he became emotional because he didn’t want it to end.
It’s been three years since their nationwide tour ended and all of their kids still talk about the trip as the best times of their lives.
Take it from Him
Sometimes you have to take the short-term pain of being hated by your daughter in order to make a decision that will reap long-term benefits for her and your family.
Granted, you may not be able to take a six-month cross-country trip, or even want to.
What matters is that you continue to put forth the effort to spend time together.
Even if it means she’ll think you’re weird, trying to ruin her life, and/or just plain hates the idea.
Because the reality is this: In the Age of Smartphones, Social Media & Selfies (when everyone is seemingly preoccupied with technology), those wonderful family memories don’t just happen by accident.
They have to be created.
Which means you have to be strategic.
So why not involve your daughter with planning regular activities for quality time spent getting to know each other better and enjoying each other’s company?
As this father can attest, it’s a worthwhile investment that pays dividends for years to come.
And his family even created a blog to record their six-month adventure which you can check out here and maybe “borrow” a few ideas.
Speaking of which, what “weird” idea have you had for a family activity/outing that your daughter didn’t want to participate in at first, but later changed her mind and had a ball?
I’d love to hear your story too! Just hit “reply” to this email.
And kudos to you Mom for taking the short-term pain of your daughter’s short-lived contempt. 😉
It’s worth it!
P.S. You don’t have to travel cross-country to show your daughter how much you genuinely like her. You don’t even have to go across town. Just be strategic about planning quality time with her so she knows how special she is to you. Do that consistently, and you may find yourself answering her calls 6 to 7 times a day.
P.P.S. I love sharing other parents’ tips for successful parenting with their daughters. What’s great about this father’s “secret” is that it’s simple enough for any parent to follow, including your parent circle. So please pass it on by posting it on Facebook. Thanks for sharing!