I have a friend who has a very challenging relationship with her daughter; they are complete opposites. They have been complete opposites from day one and I’m pretty sure they’re both aware of this and the tension it causes between them.
The mother was always at a loss as to what to do to draw close to her daughter; she said she always felt like she was playing catch up, always coming up short on every effort she made to please her. She felt like nothing she did was enough and that her daughter was never pleased with her efforts – and honestly, she said – they were efforts; pleasing her daughter didn’t often come from her heart because she was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be well-received, so it was a labor.
She found that when she had the energy, she would be proactive with her daughter – initiate time together – instead of waiting for her daughter to approach her with an idea usually at the end of the day or Sunday evening when their time together was running out. Basically just when the mom was exhausted, out of steam and ready to shut down, the daughter would come up with an idea that the mom had no strength to deliver on – leading to frustration on both sides.
Recently the mom came up with an idea – a gym membership. Hers had laid dormant for almost a year, but what better way to spend time with her girl, and build healthy habits for both of them – together?
She got the membership and they have both been getting up early to work out at the beginning of the day before school, before work.
It has transformed their relationship. Completely.
Getting up at the crack of dawn and sweating together before the stress of the day takes over has created a contended young girl and a mom who isn’t trying to always “make it up” to her daughter out of guilt. She said her daughter has responded in thankfulness and taking on responsibilities around the house that she previously had to beg her to do. My friend can see the joy in her daughter and says she finds it so much easier to praise her daughter instead of nagging on her “faults”.
Step out and be proactive in your kids’ lives – it will change everything.