Mothers & Daughters: Why Is Age 6 So Important For Both Of You?
A mother’s relationship with her daughter is one that has far reaching impact on the development and socialization of a girl from birth to adulthood. Between the ages of six and 12, a daughter idolizes her mother, whether or not that image in her head is accurate or not. Throughout this time, girls require validation, acknowledgment, and proper modeling from their mother so as to bolster their self-esteem, sense of worth, and self-respect.
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Other important female caregivers include grandmothers, aunts, family friends, etc. who may have a joint role and/or have taken on the primary role of parenting a girl in the mother’s absence. It is important to note that these women are not exempt from the responsibility of leading a girl child’s capacity to feel pride, take pleasure in her accomplishments, and feel a sense of competence.
I can remember clearly at the age of six how my father’s aunts would criticize me for how skinny I was, my skin tone, and the width of my nose and rear end. They would provide counsel to my mother via my father on various skin bleaching agents and how long I should pinch my nose between my fingers amongst other suggestions. The negativity of those words began to infiltrate my thoughts about myself and how I was perceived by the world.
The vocalization of negativity and fear-provoking words stimulates the brain in negative ways. Stress chemicals are released in the speaker’s brain, as well as that of the listener – your daughter. Positive words and thoughts drive the motivational centers of our brains, making us more resilient and ready to take on life’s problems. Isn’t that what we want for our girls?
As a mother or female caregiver, you should regularly engage in positive thinking about yourself, share your happiest events with others, and savor every positive experience in life. Why? Because it takes at least three positive thoughts and feelings for each expression of negativity.
It is the responsibility of mothers and caregivers to establish close attachments and relationships with our girls as early as possible, particularly by the age of six. The daughter’s need for her mother’s love is primal, even if that woman is physically or emotionally absent.
There are six key tips for building self-efficacy and everlasting close relationships:
- Demonstrate and model your values from which she will build her own personal values.
- Set clear, consistent, boundaries while allowing her to earn privileges as she demonstrates her trustworthiness.
- Teach your daughter patience, how to care about others, and how to give of herself without resentment.
- Give her plenty of opportunity to ask questions. Answer them honestly. Your responses will help to guide her decision making.
- Show her how to embrace failure and learn from her mistakes.
- Know where she is 24 hours of the day. Respect her as a human being. Love her with all your heart.
Visit the BlackDoctor.org Parenting center for more helpful articles and tips.
Dr. Samantha Coleman is an award-winning visionary leader, educator and counselor who has made it her life’s work to provide young women the tools and resources they need in order to be fully empowered and game changers of the new millennium. As the founder and Executive Director of Assist Her, Inc., an Illinois non-profit organization that provides prevention, literacy, and mentoring programs to girls ages 10-18, Coleman has serviced over 2,000 females in the Chicagoland area since 2005.