Do you have a strong bond with your daughter? Would you love to maintain it forever?
What strategies do you have in place?
Yes, strategies – it won’t happen on its own.
Scheduling in one-on-one time is a great start. Without a plan to shop, make appointments, or have any kind of agenda. Simply to see what you feel like at the time. Without an attachment to having some kind of ‘deep and meaningful’, but open to it if it occurs.
What kind of conversations do you have with your daughter? Most mothers tell me their teenage daughter doesn’t want to talk to them. They answer “I don’t know” or something similar. That they open up more to others than they do with Mum.
To an extent this is normal. Teenagers will drift away from their parents and gravitate to other adults and peers. However, it is possible to maintain a bond with them.
If your conversation with them has a short time frame, and you fire questions at them, they are not likely to answer openly. If you spend time with them (screen free), even one hour or half a day per week, than they are more likely to open.
Yesterday I sat with a group of Year 10 girls during sport. They weren’t interested in sport so we talked about relationships, mothers, parties, etc. I got to know them and had an opportunity to share and listen. Teenagers love hearing our stories. Later in the day I had some of the same girls in class – they were on their phones and chatting, so I got cross with them. “You were so fun this morning Miss, what happened?”
You don’t want to always be the nagging Mum, just like I don’t always want to be the nagging teacher. So we must create opportunities to build relationship – to spend time, to reveal some of ourselves.
We need to build intimate relationships - but what does that mean? You probably only think of sexual relationships as intimate, but this is not the case. Sex often does not involve intimacy at all.
We all yearn to be seen and known, and to know others. Loneliness is a great epidemic on our planet and true connection seems hard to find.
In a way our society sets us up to be separate and encourages a focus on individual success and competition. Many will put on a face of having it all together while hiding their inner worlds.
I moved to a new town just over a year ago still feel a little isolated. I experience connection in my work and with my family and friends that live elsewhere, and with some online communities (including you!!), but feel slightly isolated from the community I am geographically closest to.
How do you define community? Who do you feel most connected to? Is it your family and those you live with, your work colleagues who you may spend even more time with, a sporting group or club, or some other community you are involved in?
How connected you feel to that community will be defined by the level of intimacy you experience there, and your level of service.
For example, at school I share frustrations and feelings of overwhelm with other teachers and we can laugh together, and with students I can share stories, ask them about their hopes, dreams, and challenges, and discuss big issues like health and sustainability.
With family and close friends I can discuss more personal challenges, share my true feelings, ask for support, and share my hopes and dreams.
I do feel a sense of a community with the natural world and with the global community. This may seem quite big and abstract but to sit in silence in nature gives me a real sense of connection. And my sense of a global community comes from a commitment to service, and from a desire to be a part of the great changes that are happening in so many areas related to sustainability, social justice, and individual fulfilment.
Community thrives when you experience intimacy and when you are committed to playing your role and contributing to the whole.
At Radiant Woman: A Mother Daughter Rite of Passage Retreat you will have the opportunity to share stories with your daughter and listen to her stories, hopes, dreams and challenges. You will spend time with her in a lush and relaxing setting – with no phones or to do lists. You will both leave with a clarified vision of your role and responsibilities to your family and wider community.
Intimacy is a basic human need. You require it to thrive. So does your daughter.
I'd love to hear your perspectives and experiences of community, connection, and intimacy. Leave your comment below.