It wasn’t until I read that girl’s self-esteem drops off dramatically at the age of nine that I came to the realization I had to be more proactive in my daughter’s life. After some reflection it became evident that I had serious concerns about my daughter apparent desire to be in solitude.

My daughter’s door was closed; I thought she wanted me to stay out. I just didn’t know the truth until I knocked on her door and asked, “Can I come in?” I really respected her privacy. “Sure.” She replied. I found myself sitting on the floor by her bed having a heart to heart. What a great conversation; we talked about her; I asked questions and listened.

If I’d have known the door wasn’t closed to keep me out I’d have asked to come in months ago. Sure she wanted her privacy, but she wanted my time and relationship and she didn’t know how to ask. It has taken time and effort to learn to refine our conversations. I had a bit of a learning curve with lots of trial and error. For instance, it took time for me to learn how to listen and not judge…once she sensed even a look of judgment she would shut down.

As I implemented new learning and strategies to bring out the discussion we both really began to look forward to our talks together and she began to open up. I loved this because it allowed me to be the support she needed; now she actually states her needs and I am able to encourage and help her assess what she’s going through. Our relationship has been growing ever since. I feel like I’m meeting her needs and being the parent she’s always wanted. It wasn’t until after 3 or 4 visits that she was able to share that she enjoyed having me join her and I learned she really just wanted to keep her brothers out of her room. I couldn’t believe the improvement I saw in her self-confidence. My advice is to remember that it’s never too lateSmall things can make a big difference in her life.  Contributor – J. Owen, Washington

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