As my mother is aging she has moved closer by and I’m spending
more and more time with her.  Something I’ve become sharply aware
of in recent years is that she’s one of my biggest fans.

Sometimes I don’t need this kind of validation, but who am I to deny a
little praise?

She frequently comments favorably on my parenting skills with young
daughter Amy.  She admires how I can fix little things around her
house (like that dang smoke alarm).  She tells Amy how smart I am
(regrettably coupled with the statement, “you must have gotten that
from your father.”).  If I wear my hair in a way that’s not the usual
style, she notices and tells me it’s beautiful.  And the list goes on.

She wasn’t always my biggest fan though.  When I got to be around
nine or ten I got a little self conscious and felt occasional criticisms in a more
piercing way.  And by the time I was fifteen or sixteen, the relationship
between us was downright difficult.  I became stoic and she was so
beside herself that she told me she hated me.

I don’t fault her.  It takes two to build a relationship and I was no
picnic back then – it was a miracle if she could get me to show any
emotion around her.  I’ve raised one like this too (karma), and it can
be maddening.

My reflections here lead to my entreaty today:   make a conscious
effort to be your daughter’s fan no matter what age and no matter
how hard the stage. 
It’s going to take hard work sometimes.  Hard
work, just like any relationship (I’m thinking of marriage at the

What will your daughter reap from your admiration?  How about a
huge bucketful of self esteem?  Even if she doesn’t admit it, a parent’s
admiration is a key component in her self-esteem mechanism.  At my
church, we’ve talked about this concept as “the blessing.”
Studies show that a parent’s blessing provides a secure, emotional
launch pad for healthy independence.
  Without it, they have a rough
time letting go.

Ask yourself, “When is the last time I gave my daughter a
compliment?”  “When’s the last time I told her I was proud of her?” 
“Have I encouraged her to find something she’s proud of?”  “Am I looking
for the positive intent (click Oct. 15 in my calendar) in her young (immature) behavior?”

If your daughter is critical of you, it’s tempting to match her behavior.
Rise above this baseline, find the good in her, and feed it back to her
even if in small doses.
  The returns will, over time, be bountiful.

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her stepparenting book,
go to



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1 Comment on Let’s Be Our Daughters’ Fans

  1. Mama J says:

    Many friends e-mailed me that they enjoyed this post.
    If leaving a comment is too forbidding, check out my instructional
    post on 11.18.08.

    –Mama J

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