I decided that I would dedicate this summer to bonding with my 13 year old daughter. Since my 4 year old triplets are in summer camp three days a week, this allows for the days to be spent solely with my teen. Too often, I see parents go through life taking our relationship with our children for granted. We expect that we will have a healthy happy relationship without really working at it the way we may approach our marriages. I can say that I am guilty of this with my oldest child who is now 22: When he was a boy I tried hard to be a good mom to him and give him a happy life, but I didn’t really try to keep our relationship strong and close as he entered his teen years. As he pulled away, I thought I was giving him space, but that space eventually grew to a point where I felt I barely knew him. We had many hard years between us and I went through some of my deepest heartbreak as I watched him make huge mistakes. It was a hard road, but there came a time where I had to fight for my son. I had to stand by him and show him how great my love was for him through all the bad he had done. Now, my son and I are closer than ever before! He has made a complete transformation and I couldn’t be more proud of the man he is becoming. Through all this, I learned my lesson the hard way: Never allow a gap to form between me and my children.
My strategy has been working pretty well so far! I put in the relationship nurturing time just as I do with my marriage. I make sure that I make lots of time and special moments with my teen daughter. I make sure that I am one of her best friends. I know, I know …I hear people say that being your child’s friend is wrong, but I have to disagree. My parental discipline tends to be on the strict side in comparison to other teen parents I know, but at the same time I am my daughter’s best friend. I always make sure that my daughter knows that out of all of my friends she is my very best friend (which, by the way, she really is). Despite what people might think about this being a bad parenting idea, right now I can honestly say I rarely see other teens give their parents the kind of love and respect my daughter gives me. Even when she is around her friends she shows me so much affection. I can’t say what the future will hold for me and my daughter, but I can say that I am going to keep working on us through dates, social media, getting to know her friends, watching movies together, asking her everyday what goes on at her school – and caring about it, being on her side, all aspects. Having a genuine interest in my daughter, her life, her decisions, her projects, and her concerns while truly caring for our friendship shows her my love in a tangible way. So this summer I want to share with all of you my journey and the big ways and little ways that I strengthen my bond with my daughter. I will be posting our adventures and hopefully at the same time showing that there are many fun things for people to do with their older kids here in Las Vegas!