Mothers want their daughters to trust them with details of their first kiss, their secret crushes, and their innermost thoughts and desires. However, mothers must first be a parent, not a best friend, to their daughters -- and it can be difficult to gain a child's trust when she worries about getting into trouble or being judged. To gain and keep their daughters' trust, mothers must find a delicate balance between listening and disciplining.
There can be no trust unless there is an open line of communication between you and your daughter. If there has been a break in trust before, on either of your parts, you'll have to work even harder to make it clear the door is always open for your daughter to trust in you. If she does confide in you, think very hard before betraying that trust, unless of course someone is put at serious risk by a secret. To start building trust, let your daughter know you are always available to talk, to hear about her day or just to hang out.
Once your daughter starts talking, try to listen to her thoughts with an open mind. You probably will not agree with some, or even most, of what she has to say, but it is important that you give her space to think and grow and even to make mistakes. If she asks for advice, or if you truly believe she is going to come to great harm because of her actions, that is your time to impart some of your adult knowledge. Otherwise, build her trust by not judging her life and actions. Trust that the lessons you have taught her throughout her childhood will help her make good decisions now.
Your daughter will not want to tell you everything. As a mother, you will not want to tell your daughter everything. It is normal and healthy for moms and daughters to keep details of their personal lives from one another and does not indicate a lack of trust. Just as you set limits on what you'd like your daughter to be privy to in your own life, your daughter can fully trust you and still prefer to spill some secrets only to her best friend.
As a mother, not a best friend, there will be many times when you do have to impart consequences for your daughter's behavior. However, fair punishments and just consequences do not mean you are breaking your daughter's trust, and she will hopefully recognize this if you are truly fair. Teaching kids that actions have consequences is an important lesson, and you will actually be building your daughter's trust in you as she sees that you have her best interests at heart. If she is old enough, consider letting her have some say in her consequences -- both to build a trusting relationship and to encourage a sense of responsibility.
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