Parenting is more than just making sure kids stay safe and eat regularly. Children need to feel an emotional connection with parents so they can grow and develop into strong and happy adults. As you raise a daughter, telling her you love her will be an important gesture. Showing her that you love her will also be vital.
Even before your little girl understands words, you can convey your love to her by touch, advises licensed mental health counselor Janie Lacy, writing for the PBS website. Holding your baby gently, caressing the soft skin on her back, kissing and hugging her and whispering in her ear are examples of expressing love to a baby or small child. Gaze into your little one’s eyes and hold eye contact regularly. Eye contact fosters a strong emotional connection that helps your daughter feel loved, according to the Zero to Three website. Say the words “I love you” often to teach the verbal expression of love. The time you spend with your daughter while she’s a baby will help her learn that she can trust you, which fosters a secure foundation and strong bond, according to psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website.
Continue your verbal expressions of love as your daughter grows past preschool and into the primary school years. Back up your verbal declarations with a variety of love-filled actions suggests educator Rachael Moshman, writing for the Calgary’s Child website. Simple acts such as snuggling on the couch, taking pictures of her, learning the lyrics to her favorite song or sharing stories from your childhood can foster a deep connection between your daughter and you.
Once the tween years hit, you may notice a few newer challenges as you strive to remain connected with your daughter. Even though she may be showing some moodiness and increasing independence, continue to express your love to her every day with hugs and kisses. Say those three important words – “I love you” – often. Find ways to spend time with your girl every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes at the end of the day, suggests Markham. Talk about the day’s events, ask questions about her activities, share your thoughts and feelings and listen actively to encourage her to confide in you. Show your pride in her accomplishments and activities by giving her specific feedback. Resist the urge to feel offended if your daughter hurts your feelings with her words or actions. Instead, calmly teach her the difference between respectful and disrespectful communication. These limits and your ongoing involvement will help show your daughter that you love her.
Although your teenage daughter may feel and look almost grown, she still needs to feel your love every day. Spend time with your teen to demonstrate that she is important to you. The investment of time and effort speaks volumes to teenagers, according to author Michael Ross, in his book “How to Speak Alien,” excerpted by the Christian Broadcasting Network website. Don’t forget the basics of a loving relationship with your teen – continue to demonstrate physical affection with hugs and kisses and tell her you love her often.
- PBS.org: 10 Tips to Connect With Your Child
- Zero to Three: Can Holding, Cuddling, and Eye Contact Help Babies Grow and Develop?
- Aha! Parenting: Building a Great Relationship with Your Child
- Calgary's Child: 50 Simple Ways to Show Your Daughter You Love Her - Quick Ways to Strengthen the Mother-Daughter Connection
- Aha! Parenting: Positive Parenting Your Tween
- CBN: Nine Keys to Connecting With Your Teen