The fears at play in her most important relationship, with you
Your daughter’s relationship with you, is one of, if not THE MOST important relationship of her life.
Recently when I interviewed a mum and her daughter, Lucy revealed that she felt cracks in her relationship with her parents, feeling like she was under a lot of pressure to make sure that she met her parents’ expectations.
Her mum was floored, as she had never intensionally set out those kinds of expectations, but as a hard worker with high standards herself, Lucy had watched her mother’s example which led to thinking this must be what’s expected of me.
Over time this belief started to affect Lucy’s confidence, and her relationship with her parents, as she felt worried that she was going fail in her parents’ eyes.
And this example is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the following video I mention the identity phase from our popular Confidence Breakthrough Series. This series includes a LIVE workshop where you have the opportunity to work with myself and Dr Diane Harner. Unfortunately this has now ended, but be sure to join our mailing list to be notified when this opens again.
FREE: 3-Part Confidence Breakthrough Series
It’s not the nicest thing to sit and think about, but it’s really important, and that is to consider what role fear plays between your daughter and her relationship with you. Myself, yourself and a lot of people in her world are working really hard to try to make sure that she builds that confidence and that self worth to believe in herself and live an amazing life.
But where that can sort of be up-ended, is if there are fears that are at play between her and you, that render these efforts sort of ineffective, or at least less effective. We have a Confidence Breakthrough Series where we go into a lot of detail about Four Key Fears. Those fears are failure, judgment, rejection, and the unknown, but what’s interesting is when you start looking at whether those fears are at play in her relationship with you.
For example, we have lots of conversations with parents, and one particular conversation we were having between a parent and her daughter, where there was talk of these expectations. Her daughter revealed that she felt as though she really was under pressure, especially at school with academics, to make sure that she met her parents’ expectations, and her parent was flawed.
Her mum was shocked that this was the case, because she had never actually said to her daughter, “you must get these grades”, or “you must do these things”, but the daughter was taking this on herself after watching her parents role modelling behaviours and just thought, “well, this is what’s expected of me”, and she took on those pressures and it started to affect their relationship because she felt worried that she was essentially going to fail in her parents’ eyes if she didn’t meet their expectations.
That goes beyond academics into all different areas of your daughter, wanting to make sure that she makes you proud, meets your expectations, does things the way that you’d like them to be done. So there’s the potential for there being an underlying fear of failure that’s at play between your daughter or at least how your daughter views her relationship with you that comes into that fear of judgment.
We talk about fear of failure in two ways, that fear that you have before you try something as though you might fail, and that’s where your daughter could be worrying that she might be about to do something that’s going to fail, but also after a failure or maybe a decision or an action has being taken, that leaves her open for judgment. And it’s a weak point with us parents because we had already been teenagers.
It turns out we’ve lived this life. We’ve done these pathways. We kind of know how the world works so they can get pretty easy for us to sort of throw out a few opinions and thoughts and how we think things should work and how we would therefore expect things to work. How that’s then translated for a young person, your daughter, can often be feeling as though they’re going to be judged if they don’t do things that way, or if they choose different pathways, opportunities, or actions that they take more often than not.
We run Camp Courage frequently, and I have a lot of conversations with the girls where they feel really judged. They feel as though they do something and, as parents can, you just don’t even know you’re doing it all the time. I do it sometimes where you just go, “I would’ve thought it’d be like this”, or, “that doesn’t seem so good.” Or, “that’s a strange decision to make”, which they’re taking on and processing as judgment, essentially.
So if there’s an underlying fear that she feels like she might be judged for doing something, thinking something, wearing something, changing your hair, whatever it is that fear can erode, what could actually be a really great relationship. The fear of judgment is very real between daughters and their parents. You’ve got, what is one of the hardest ones to contemplate.
If you think of yourself back when you were a child, a fear of rejection is really powerful and your daughter, no matter how many times she slammed the door yells at you, rolls her eyes, whatever it is at the end of the day, that little five year old is still inside her and the need for her parents’ acceptance and love and certainly the avoidance of rejection is incredibly important for her and trying to see past those behaviours to understand that that desire is still there can be really hard because it’s, it’s a very emotional experience to go through when she’s behaving like that. But so often there’s a very, very real and strong fear of rejection that she doesn’t want to happen to her between her and you.
Then you’ve got fear of the unknown between those years of eight to 18 – there’s a heck of a lot of unknowns going on. Brain’s changing, emotions, hormones, world’s changing, she’s moving from primary school to high school, her friendship groups are changing. Her body is changing. Her opinions are changing. Yet among all of that, her relationship with you and how she needs you, or doesn’t need you moving forward, can also feel really scary and very unknown.
So a lot of these are at play for your daughter and a lot of these will affect your relationship with her. Now, if we’re going to succeed in helping all of these girls and your daughter to build her confidence, truly, love and accept and be proud of who she is going forward and do amazing things with her life, she really needs some stability within her core relationship, which is her relationship with you.
Don’t forget that home, really is this training ground that she gets to try out all of these feelings and she gets to navigate these fears in what hopefully is a really safe place for her and with you.
This is really about making you aware that these four key fears that we talk about often that are preventing her from being confident and taking steps to do new things and try new things. They are not reserved for that they can also be applied to one of her most important relationships that she has and will ever have in her life, which is her relationship with you. So keep them in mind as you move forward, check out our Confidence Breakthrough Series and we’d obviously always love to have you over and our Raising Girl Shaped Flames Facebook group.