As I surveyed daughters, ages 15-45 for my book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I found that, overall, a daughter needs these 7 things from her mom:
1. She Needs to Know She is Your Priority
As a 19-year-old college student who has never doubted her mother’s love for her, Annie says: “My mom made me her center. I don’t think that spoiled me. Rather, it made me secure in the fact that she loved me and would do what it took to provide for all I needed.”
Another daughter said: “Not to sound selfish, but I needed my mom to choose me first over a lot of things, to let me know that I was a priority in her life over work and finances.”
2. She Needs to Know She Is Accepted
A young woman needs to know she is accepted by her mom, no matter how old she is. She needs to feel accepted as she is recognizing her uniqueness, in the ways she feels “odd” or out of place in a crowd, and on the days she feels she doesn’t measure up to others around her.
3. She Needs to Feel a Connection with You
Karen said she never really felt a deep emotional connection with her mom.
“My mom was a single parent raising me and my siblings. She worked outside of the home through most of my adolescent years. I didn’t feel a connection with her because she had a “hard shell” around her heart. While I always knew she loved me, it was very difficult to approach her.
Be the one who initiates an emotional connection with your daughter. Tell her you love her. Even better, show her with your actions. Even if she’s acting like she doesn’t want to connect with you, she will know that you are the one who is reaching out.
4. She Needs a Spiritual Foundation
Katie, who was raised in a committed Christian home, says that although she might not have appreciated it at the time, her mother’s insistence that she attend church every Sunday and learn strong biblical values is one of the best things her mother could’ve done for her. It is something Katie intends to imitate with her own children.
Our daughters need us to have a strong dependence on the Lord so they can develop a dependence on the Lord, as well.
5. She Needs to be Allowed to Fail
Guiding your daughter through disappointment and failure is just as important as guiding her through victory and success. Let her make mistakes. Let her feel badly. Let her live out what it’s like to be imperfect. And love her through it. Could anything show her more of the way God loves us?
6. She Needs You to be a Woman of Integrity
I can’t help but think that is my daughter’s greatest need from her mother, as well. I can raise her according to biblical principles, and talk to her about the importance of being Christ-like, loving others and having a pure heart. But the bottom line is, if I am not modeling any of it myself, then my words are merely words. She needs to see the Christ-like life lived out in me every day of my life and know it is real before she will know how or even have a desire to live it herself. She needs an example to follow in making life’s choices and being the woman she knows I want her to be.
7. She Needs Your Stability
I will venture to say that your stability is even more important than hers. Our daughters can’t be the ones who hold us up, emotionally. It is our job, as moms, to bear their burdens when they need emotional support and nurturing.
If we’re not careful, we can reverse the situation and cause our daughters to feel the weight of having to emotionally carry us. I know many college-aged girls who feel guilty about going away to school because of how difficult it is on their moms to be away from them. Our daughters need us to be a rock because we look to Christ, our Rock, in times of trouble and adversity. Our daughters need us to be women of integrity who show them how to be in the midst of a compromising world. And our daughters need us to be women who can keep it together when life around us falls apart. If we are the ones with the emotional issues, we can lead our daughters toward depression, a sense of hopelessness, or a desire to distance themselves from us.
In short, be the woman you want your daughter to become. And chances are that she will, in time, follow suit.
What does your son or daughter need most from you?