What steps can mothers take to protect their daughters more effectively?
Stepping in to the fray with wise council and clear understanding is Elayne Bennett, founder of Best Friends Foundation and author of . She discusses practical ways and precautionary steps that mothers can take in protecting their daughters.
“The first step is communication. Talk to your daughter and keep those channels open.”
Just because your daughter isn’t talking to you, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t need you. Elayne says we need to approach this situation in a calm manner.
“Continue to talk to her…in as calm of a way as you can. It’s often very frustrating when your daughter or your son shuts down and appears to want to shut you out. But often times, that’s when they’re the most troubled.”
During those difficult moments, we need to remind our sons and daughters that they are loved. Elayne describes real fears that children may have, especially during their first few years away from home.
“I think a lot of young people today aren’t sure about love; they’re not sure if their parents really love them. Particularly when they leave their home and they go out into that big cold world on that college campus, they’re trying to study and they want to get good grades and they don’t want to flunk out. Then they’ve also got the stress of the social life and they’re scared; they’re frightened.”
We learn practical advice to take as an involved parent, without falling into the category of being a ‘helicopter parent.’
“Take those trips on campus, drop-in every couple of weeks or so and keep those phone calls going, not just text or e-mails, but connect with them and let them hear your voice.”
Elayne says she’d rather see moms as ‘warm mothers,’ as opposed to following the trend of being the ‘cool mom.’
“I’d rather see a mom who inspires her daughter intellectually, but also encourages her to have compassion for others.”
If we don’t stress the importance of compassion with our daughters, we may be at risk of condoning their competitive nature.
“I think we missed some of the altruism of mother-daughter relationships. Girls can be very competitive as adolescents, and if mothers play into that competitiveness saying, ‘Who’s got the coolest clothes and the coolest hair? Who’s on the right team?’ And so on and so forth…then what happens to this very important character trait of compassion, of caring about the girl who’s left out? Instead of just always wanting to be part of the ‘cool group.’”
We need to maintain a presence in our daughters lives by opening up the lines of communication, constantly remind them that they are loved, and be willing to take the necessary steps to assure them that they are protected.