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As many mothers of multiple children will tell you, each child you have is unique. They each respond to us according to their personality and temperament and we relate to them differently in turn. Parenting is one of the most challenging things we will ever do but also one of the most rewarding.
I speak now from the sweet spot of having raised all my children and the wisdom I have now looking back. I have been blessed to raise 3 daughters and 1 son. My daughters are ages 38, 35 and almost 23. I want to share with you what I’ve learned about the rewards of raising daughters.
And I want to encourage you that it may seem hard right now, but don’t give up because it will be so worth it!
Give Yourself Grace, Mama!
It’s important to remember that every mama has their own story, and it will help shape their parenting style. Likewise, as moms, we need to take into account how life affects the hearts of our children and parent them accordingly.
You’re not going to parent like anyone else, nor should you. God make you uniquely, and your individual experiences have shaped you to be like no other mama. And that’s okay! Give yourself grace.
Our parently styles evolve from how we were raised, our personalities, and how we respond to the various circumstances in our lives. They also reflect those incidents that impact the hearts of our children, as we seek to parent them the way they need.
The death of my first husband followed by a second marriage and blended family has mandated that we parent our children with the understanding of how these situations affect them. Likewise, only you know what accommodations you need to consider when raising your daughters.
The Rewards of Raising Daughters with Affection & Affirmation
I come from families who were very physically affectionate so my children all were hugged, kissed and told “I love you” countless times. It’s just not possible to express our love to our children too much!
I often affirmed to my daughters that I was proud of them, that they could do anything they put their mind to, that they were special and wonderful their own way. It’s such a gift to your children when you can speak to their strengths, encourage them in their dreams, and help affirm their purpose.
When my youngest daughter was about to enter 7th grade, she asked if she could skip a grade. Because we had empowered her, she knew her strengths and asked us to let her use them. She went on to graduate with honors and stayed very grounded without flaunting her success to her peers.
Dear mama, it’s a beautiful gift to support our children in their abilities and to help open doors for them. This is how we build their confidence and equip them for future success.
Ask youself: What ways can you do this for your children?
Another incident I remember well was when my daughter’s friends in middle school pressured her to straighten her naturally curly hair. We talked about how God gave it to her and encouraged her to embrace how God made her and be proud of it. To this day, she likes her hair and considers it one of her best qualities.
Opening the eyes of our daughters to embrace the way God made them is one of the most precious gifts we can give them. As their mothers, we have a unique position in their lives to speak the truth and to help them base their worth in who God made them to be. What a gift to have them be secure in the love of their Heavenly Father!
It’s so important that they feel secure in our love for them. One of the many rewards of raising daughters with affection and affirmation is getting to watch them blossom into young women of confidence and grace.
The Rewards of Raising Daughters With Healthy Relationships
My oldest daughter was my “strong-willed” child. If you have one, you know what that means. She is bright and talented but was challenging to raise. I would tell her that she could be anything she wanted, even the first woman president if she learned to channel that strength and persistence in the right direction.
Life didn’t go quite that way but after some time at the “school of hard knocks”, she has grown into a beautiful, strong, successful woman. Her season of rebellion was very hard, but I tried to always let her know that I loved her and would always be there for her.
We had put in the hard work to cultivate a relationship with her and she knew it was strong enough to weather any storm. I am very grateful that when she realized she was pregnant as a teenager, she chose to have her baby because she knew our love and support would be there. And that precious baby? He is now an awesome 22-year old getting married next year.
God redeems, and our relationships with our daughters is one way He does that. One of the rewards of raising daughters with strong and healthy relationships is that even when they become independent, we will have a bridge to their hearts.
The Rewards of Raising Daughters with Responsibility
We encouraged personal responsibility and a strong work ethic in our children. All of our children were expected to make their beds, clean their rooms, and help around the house. They each had a job once they turned 16 and often held 2 jobs at a time until they were settled into their careers.
They are now in sales and customer service, a registered nurse, a construction project engineer, and a university executive assistant. This is because they had key values instilled from a young age. One of the rewards of raising daughters with a strong work ethic is their success as adults.
Faith in God and ethical, moral behavior are important values to instill in your children. When you know your family values and make choices in line with them, you teach the next generation to do the same. My husband and I sacrificed to be able to educate and raise our children the way we believed was important. We made sure to be in church and to provide the best education we were able.
If you’ve never thought through your family values before and you’d like some help, be sure to grab the free Vision and Mission Statement workbook to help you gain clarity.
Remember That Your Daughter is Watching You, Dear Mama
We did our best to model love, honesty, kindness, modesty, ethical choices and prayer as well as teaching it. I told my children “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything” and “Treat others as you would want to be treated”- not that they always followed through, but we instilled these values.
Your children are listening, dear mama, and they are hearing you. They are also watching you, and tucking away in their hearts what you are showing them. When they are older, these lessons will emerge from their memories.
I feel very blessed that I was able to be a stay at home mom for most of their childhoods. This enabled me to be involved as a homeroom mother, to chaperone field trips, and to be home on their days off. We also had some great times in the summers at the pool and playground and having their friends over. My retirement fund may be less, but I have no regret over the time I was able to spend with my children.
Those sacrifices you are making today for your kids? I promise they are worth it. Someday when they’re all grown, you’ll be saying the same thing I am: I feel very blessed. And your kids will say the same because they had you as their loving mama.
Don’t Count the Cost; Count the Blessings!
In my daughters, I tried to instill the sense that they each are beautiful, valuable and loved as they are. I encouraged them to celebrate their uniqueness and recognize their own talents, strengths, and weaknesses. I modeled modesty and self-respect. What you live before them today, you are teaching them to live on their own tomorrow.
I also did my best to help them know that God loves them unconditionally, is always available and faithful and is always willing to forgive.
My husband and I tried to live a marriage based on mutual love, respect, and commitment through the good times and bad. I talked with my daughters about what attributes they wanted in a husband and to focus more on character than external factors. Dear Mama, nurture your marriage because your children are watching. By nurturing your marriage today, you are nurturing their marriages tomorrow.
There is no secret formula for raising children and it is very difficult at times. We all will make mistakes. But don’t despair!
In spite of good intentions and doing my best, our family is far from ideal. But it brings me joy to reflect on the women my daughters have become. It is wonderful to now be their friend as well as their mother, to enjoy discussing life and spending time together.
How To Reap the Rewards of Raising Daughters
- Give yourself grace for the journey, and accept God’s grace each and every day. Don’t give up even when you mess up.
- Affirm your daugther’s value so that she grows up to see herself as worth being loved and respected. Teach her that God views her as precious!
- Shower your daughter with affection so that she is secure in your love for her. Consider learning her love language to best convey this.
- Cultivate a healthy, strong relationship with her so that she is comfortable coming to you at any point in her life when she needs your support, counsel, and love.
- Live the example you want her to follow; she is watching!
- Don’t count the cost; count the blessings…for they are many.
- Join the Graceful Abandon community to get continual encouragement for this journey, and weekly reminders to live in grace.
Karen Sweeney-Ryall mentors women to discover their true identity, live their dreams and fulfill the destiny designed for them by God. She is the author of Revealing Your Treasures Hidden in Darkness and blogs at Becoming My Best Me.
She speaks to women’s groups about From Broken to God’s Masterpiece; Embracing the Season You Are In; Hope Shining Through the Darkness and more. Karen is an avid reader, loves the beach, nature, and travel, and enjoys her 4 children, 4 grandchildren, and one great- grandbaby. She works as a hospice bereavement coordinator and is active in women’s ministry.