Talk To Your Girls; Make It A Habit

I’ve heard a lot of women say their girls just stopped talking to them once they got to a certain age. I am sorry to say I have been this girl to her mamma. None of this is actually God’s plan for a mother and her child.

I started researching parenting the minute I had my first kid. Before really. I read every book and took every class I could possibly get ahold of because I was placed on bed rest with that first little turkey, and she kept insisting on making an early appearance. As it turns out, in true rude gus fashion, she ended up being 14 days late. 14. 14 days. Late. I’m not over it. 
Anyway, my research consisted mostly of conversations with moms who have been there, who have good adults for children, and who were happy to be honest and not sugar coat things. If you don’t currently have these people around you, find them. Stop what you’re doing and go find them. Pray for God to bring these moms around you. Keep your eyes open at the next baby shower, party, or any gathering where any women seem to congregate. These women are your life line. They exist to teach you what you need to know to survive some trying parenting years. They aren’t all hard, but those moments seem to happen often and with a sea of emotions. 
One amazing mother of four incredible kids suggested I start early with my girls to talk about the awkward stuff, so that when we got to the REALLY personal chats, talking about it would be old hat. Then my friend, Jessica, suggested this journal. 
Because I love writing and written records and journals so much, I felt this was the best route for me and my girls. Over the years I have purchased three, one for each daughter. Izzy, now almost 18, was an early teen when we started. I think she was about 12. She was really struggling with so many things, and I kept hitting a brick wall when I would bring up a topic. Any topic. Even simple questions. Then we started this book. 
I started with something simple. I guessed the contents of her bag, and when I passed on the book I had her guess the contents of my purse. Our guesses were crazy and funny and weirdly spot on. She was hooked. She got to choose the next topic in the book. She chose to draw pictures of her dream outfit for her first day of work. The doodling is what drew her in, I think. The relationship is what keeps me checking under my pillow every night to see if she has hidden it there with a new message.
Before we got started, we went over rules. 
  • Do we use a special pen? Nah. Just make it legible. 
  • Are drawn responses acceptable? When you draw like Isabelle they are. 
  • How often should we pass the book back? Just get to it when you can, but know that someone on the other end is excited to see what you have written or how you have responded. 
  • Do we share this information with other people (aka siblings, daddy)? No, never, unless we agree on it or unless I think something harmful is happening with her. I gave her permission to tell her dad anything I wrote, because. Let’s face it. That guy has known me since I was a kid. He is in all my stories. 
  • How do we pass the book on? We chose to hide it under the other’s pillow.
I cannot stress enough how major this interaction has been in the relationships I have with each of my three daughters. We own three of these books now. And, yes, that can turn into a bit of a chore when I have three of these journals hiding under my pillow in one night. But talk about a worthy investment. The lines of communication are so far open. 
My girls have incredibly different personalities and therefore will share things differently. Some are so blunt and open I feel like I am perpetually sporting that shocked big eyed emoji face. You know the one? Another daughter is quiet, reserved, and honestly not as trusting. It takes a little more to get through her guards, but now that we have moved into the territory of personal body changes and boyfriends, I am happy to say that she is open with me about the things that matter. 
With my oldest getting things set to leave for college, this is a book I all treasure while she is gone. I may find a way to pass it on to her a few times a year even after she leaves, just to check in with her and give her a little piece of home when she is missing home. I don’t know really. But I know that we have made it through her teen years with nearly zero typical girl dramas. Part of that is due to the fact that she is simply rad and she lives her life for Jesus. I am positive some of that is thanks to what we set up so early on: an easy path for dialogue. 
If you don’t want to use a pre made journal, no problem! Take your girl out on a date and make up the page themes together. Or make it a birthday present. Here are some things we write about- they are both made up by us and preprinted by the authors of the book.
Top Ten Favorite Songs
Draw Your Dream Outfit
What’s Your Favorite Bible Verse or Bible Character
Ten Ways You are Like Rory & Lorelei Gilmore
The Last (fill in the blank ) you just did/had { food you ate, person you talked to, book you read, movie you watched, etc.}
They go on to share some embarrassing moments, dreams of the future, what I was like as a kid and what she thinks she will be like as a mother. It doesn’t really matter what you talk about. Just talk. Make it easy. Don’t discipline. Be true. Be kind. Be encouraging. Be on purpose. It could change everything.