Sunday, July 22, 2012

Proactive Parenting

As we charge forward at high speed into adolescence, I've been on a quest to maintain my relationship with my daughter. I've read books (highly recommend Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl). We've had girl dates. I have uncomfortable conversations at inconvenient times. I've listened and corrected. I've heard 1012 ways of How Dad Makes No Sense. And, I've heard 356,842 ways of how girlfriends make no sense. And I've heard 11,258,763 deep sighs regarding my unreasonable expectations (like "take your laundry to the laundry room if you want it clean," and "clear your crap off the table if you want to eat").

I've discovered though, my secret weapon: Hair.

I can do it. I find cool styles here there and everywhere (my current fav is Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care) and when we are home and unhurried, I ask if I can try something new on her. And when she is tolerating my "doing,"she talks. A lot. About whatevertheheck is on her mind. And I try reallyreally hard to not interrupt or give unsolicited advice.

You can get a lot of insight into the eleven year old psyche in ten uninterrupted minutes.

And it doesn't hurt that when she feels pretty, she thinks I'm a little bit cool. A teeny, miniscule, bit.

I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I think that when we moms hit on something that is a winner, we owe it to each other to share the good news. I intend to start sharing a lot more. (Please, God, give me insight.)

Here's a nugget I've discovered along these same lines: she is much more responsive to "Hey, I have some time, can I try something on your hair?" than she is to, "Wow, your hair looks like mice nested in it. Find a brush for goodness' sake."

I know that's a Well, Duh, but it is sometimes a daily decision for me to choose between those lines of speaking.

What's your secret weapon for keeping the lines of communication open with your tween?


scooping it up said...

I don't know, since my 12 year old isn't home yet, but I will say this, one of our best bonding moments in Ethiopia was when we had a good old' fashion 2 hour hair braiding session. We didn't have that many words, but it was good stuff. I hope it continues and as more words come, I hope it will help us bond and keep communication open too!

K said...

nothing to share except that I LOVE the smile on her face as she admires herself. way to go, Mom! :)