How to Enjoy Authentic Mother-Daughter Bonding Time (Especially when you have a new baby in the family).
When your 12-year-old “baby” asks you to sit and watch a movie or a TV show with her, do whatever you can to stop, drop everything, and enjoy some authentic mother-daughter bonding time. Hey Dads, you are allowed to use these tips too!
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Our teenagers tend to war internally with their desire to grow their independence as they become young adults, and their feelings of desiring to remain mama’s baby.
When your tweenager “baby” has been replaced with a new baby after 10 years of wearing the title, the time away from you as the attention queen can be especially hard. Devasting even.
In a situation like ours, where my tween was given a baby brother, it was tough for her to be forced into a new way of life. Exciting, but also challenging.
She was all of a sudden, not “the baby”. Her immediate needs were pushed aside (as much as we tried to be mindful of not doing that) for the needs of the baby.
There was a whole lot more shushing, impatience for her rambunctiousness and new rules handed out at the same time that she was shifting into the most difficult period of her life.
Plus, all the cuteness comments were directed towards the new baby and it was hard not to be noticed as much.
Moodiness, sadness, and anxiety can all be daily feelings in any hormonal teenager. The stress of a new baby can intensify these feelings.
This can also be a sensitive period for a teenager or pre-teen, where depression and difficult mental health issues can come into play. Your teen might also slip into periods of isolation.
Try to combat this by being an intentional mom, paying attention to changes in your teen, and carving out time for your older children.
The bond between mother and child does not need to suffer when you have a new baby in the family.
To create stronger mother-daughter bonds for reconnecting with your growing child and helping her feel close to you again, try the following tips:
Stop: Quit Making Excuses
Stop saying “I can’t, the baby needs me for _____.” This is a phrase that can quickly build resentment and a sense that because she is older, she is not as important.
The last thing either of you wants is your child to turn to attention seeking behavior to get mom to notice her. EEK!!
Instead, Stop and Pay attention. Does your kid need you right now?
Your attention can be the difference between wellness and pain.
Stop your other tasks and realize your older child needs your attention too.
Drop: What You Are Doing
Drop your work. Drop your housework.
Give baby duty to Dad, or have your fun time together during baby’s nap time, or after the baby is in bed.
Make mother-daughter bonding time a priority for your day.
and Go: Do Something Together Right Then. Do Not Wait.
Go and enjoy a TV show, a board game, a movie, a walk or whatever your daughter wants you to do that you enjoy too. Ask her.
Find something you’re both willing to try and go for it.
Right NOW. Not in a month. Now.
Go on Dates with Each of Your Kids
Make “dates” with each of your kids a priority.
See the post 7 Easy Mother-Daughter Date Ideas Your Teenager will Love (they work for boys too) and plan a few mother-daughter day trips together.
There are so many mother-daughter bonding ideas for teens there to spark your creativity.
Remember back to when you dated your husband and how special you felt? Your child needs her emotional tank filled in a similar way.
Your children value this date-time with you, as much as you value date night with your spouse.
This can be at home or a special day out. Make each date a special time together and a phone-free zone (except for taking pictures of course!).
Look for mother-daughter group activities in your area that you can participate in with your kid.
They Still Want Your Attention and For You to Like Them
Don’t confuse your pre-teen/teenager’s independence with ideas that they don’t need, or want you anymore. Nothing is further from the truth.
They need you now more than ever in their lives. And they still want to know that you to like them and want to be around them.
Call to Action: STOP, DROP and GO Create Mother-Daughter Bonding Time
So stop what you are doing, and pay attention to your older children.
Go plan a date night for this week for each child and build in family days just for having fun together.
Your kid will resent the little baby that took away their mom a whole lot less if you start to pay some mind to her as well.
And you will reconnect with your sweetheart in a way that will help her feel your love, feel secure in your bonds and give her the energy to face the day.
Which, let’s face it, for a teen, can be challenging enough.
It really is possible to improve mother-daughter relationships. Be intentional and start today.
You got this mom!
Cheering you on for some fun times ahead,
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.