Oh to be the parent of a little girl. You tiny jewels of boundless delight. You endless sources of joy and mirth. You power-hungry despots responsible for early grays, getting so mad we forget what month it is, and Googling “reasons animals don’t eat their young.”
To all of us moms and dads that have forgotten what sleep is and what warm food tastes like, here are some helpful tips to keep you happy, sane, and the best parent we can be before our daughters take over the world.
1. Timeouts are just as much for you as for them.
In the middle of an argument with your child (your first mistake) and you feel your anger rising? Before you snap and start spouting the things you hated hearing from your parents, explain you need to take a moment to cool down before continuing to speak. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
2. Remember that there is no such thing as a “typical girl”.
You wanted to take your daughter shopping? She may hate being around people. Wanted to teach your daughter to play sports, because girls can do anything? You’re right, they can do anything, and she just might be into dresses and dolls.
3. Communication, communication, communication.
Speak now and speak often. 20 minutes each day after school about how things are going will keep you involved and up to speed on your daughter’s mood and goings on.
4. You’ll laugh about this someday.
Some of the funniest stories I have to tell about my daughter started off in the most not-so-funny of ways. Remember that whatever is happening now, it’ll probably be hilarious to think back on later.
5. Seriously, keep your sense of humor.
You will spiral into a humorless void of darkness where the smile goes to die. If you want to keep your sanity, learn to find the funny.
6. Keep in mind the pressure our girls are under.
Right now especially our society has a pressure crushing our girls from both ends. Media is telling them to be these objects of beauty while objective sources are telling them to break free and be an individual. To a child, that’s a lot to handle. Encourage her to just listen to herself and her own heart and you’ll go along way with your own sanity.
7. Acknowledge your own failings.
If you lose your cool, apologize for it. What’s more, when you apologize, don’t immediately follow it up with a blame shifting “If you would just…” or “I wouldn’t have gotten so mad if you had only…” It’ll keep you human, which smooths over future interactions. Smooth equals not crazy.
8. Enjoying hanging out with them now.
Because when they become teenagers, they become social blurs with a faintly vanilla scent.
9. Make sure to get their side of it.
And listen with an open mind. It’s easy to jump to conclusions, but sometimes just listening can clear up misunderstandings before they even start, saving the both of you a lot of stress and anguish.