Mom's Everything Book for DaughtersMom's Everything Book for Daughters
Becky Freeman
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Spice up your mother-daughter relationship with this potpourri of usuable, fun advice, and activities. Practical and entertaining, Becky's real-life manual helps you become a true role model. The wide-ranging topics include lifetime bonding, leading your daugher to her heavenly Father, helping her become a lifelong learner, emphasizing her innner loveliness, puberty, friendships, and more.

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Q: Why is it so important for moms to build strong, loving relationships with their daughters when they're young?
A: Relationships are woven one small thread at a time, and the more threads there are between you and your daughter the stronger the cloth of your friendship as the years pass. What's a thread? It's a small moment of bonding. This big thing we call "life" is nothing but series of small, and seemingly insignificant moments strung together, one after another. Make the small moments good and rich, and your life as mom and daughter will be the same. Eventually! (Some of those moments are angst-filled and painful, but those, too, make up the interesting texture of our relationships.)

Q: What's the best piece of advice you received on parenting girls?
A: My mind is automatically going to an old song called, "How to Handle a Woman" -- and the final line is "You just love her, love her, love her." In a nutshell this is how to handle your daughter. Love her in ways that make her feel most loved -- eye contact, loving touches, verbal affirmation are generally big needs for girls. Give them in abundance and it will serve you well when you have to hold a line.

Q: How can a mother rebuild a relationship with a daughter that has been rocky?
A: This depends on the age of both parties, but my own mother and I went through our rocky period together when I was in my 30s. (I think I had a delayed adolescent rebellion!) We went to a therapist who was wonderfully helpful and in about six sessions moved us off center, into forgiveness and a deeper, more real relationship. My mother is, hands down, my best friend today. We're closer than ever. But there was a couple of years when we were distant and awkward with each other. Since the mother/daughter relationship is so foundational to our life as women, I would do everything I could do to make it better. If your daughter is willing to see a Christian therapist with you, you'll probably save yourself months and years of knocking around in the dark trying to fix what is wrong all by yourself. There are times a third party is vital. This may be one of those times for the two of you.

Q: What does the Bible say to mothers who are raising daughters?
A: One of my favorite verses in this "outward beauty" focused world is 1 Peter 3:3-5. "Your beauty...should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful." This may be the most important lesson to pass on to your daughter, along with that of Proverbs 31's ultimate message: "Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."

Q: How can moms fight societyís idea of what's beautiful and appropriate?
A: In the Mom's Everything Book for Daughters I spend one chapter talking about the inappropriate desire for physical perfection and all its implications. In the next, however, I speak to a girl's natural desire to be pretty, to love beauty. It's a balancing act for sure. I also quote from a line that Marmie said to her prettiest daughter in the movie, "Little Women." The message is very significant. "I only care what you think of yourself. If you feel your value lies in being merely decorative, I fear that someday you might find yourself believing that's all you really are. Time erodes all such beauty. But what it cannot diminish is the wonderful workings of your mind-your humor, your kindness, and your moral courage. These are the things I cherish so in you."

Q: Whatís the best way to open up a discussion with a daughter about a sensitive subject? What are some of the resources you recommend?
A: One of the best books I've ever read on helping people to open up is John Powell's book, Why Am I Afraid To Tell You Who I Am. It's a classic on giving what Carl Roger's termed "unconditional positive regard" to others. You have to give your child safety to be real, to tell the truth, if you want honesty. (And moms, ask yourself this question: "Do you want your daughter to be honest? Really? Or do you want her to tell you what you want to hear?") Sometimes I have not wanted to hear what my daughter has needed to tell me, but to allow her to be who she really is gives her a gift beyond measure. A good place to start is by sharing something of a weakness in yourself, or a struggle you're having or have had. Then tell her, "There's nothing you could do to make me love you any less. NOTHING. I will always be your safe place to come, your lighthouse in the storm. Never fear I will react in anger, if you come to me with a secret pain."
Two other books I read and re-read all through the years of parenting kids were How to Really Love Your Child and How to Really Love Your Teenager by Ross Campbell.
Q: What's the best way for a mother to model Godís love for her daughter?
A: This is a pivotal question. The best way for you to model God's love is to believe that God loves you, Mom. REALLY, REALLY loves you. If you believe this for yourself, it'll naturally splash over to your daughter and others. Two books that have helped me understand this concept at a deeper level are The Sacred Romance and The Ragamuffin Gospel. I would also highly recommend Brenda Waggoner's book, The Velveteen Woman. Brenda is a dear friend and therapist and a compassionate communicator. I wrote the forward to this significant book for women who struggle with wanting to be real and loved by God.