She's going to meet a number of people, including some of her partners, who will tell her she's not good enough. But hearing you say how much she's worth will change everything.
She may ask her friends, she may confide in her sibling, or even start peering through books filled with advise. But there are some things your daughter can only learn from you, her trusted mother who only wants the best for her. Nobody can give her relationship advice the way you can. She looks up to you and she knows that even through the worst mistakes of her life, you won't let go of her side. And that's why you need to be the one telling your daughter this.
It is only after your daughter learns to give herself respect that she learns to look for a partner who gives herself the same kind of respect in a relationship. "You must model the respect you seek in a partner," said Jess Weiner, author of Life Doesn't Begin Five Pounds From Now, according to Woman's Day. Show your daughter to treat her body right, and she is more likely to find someone who respects her body the same way. Show your daughter to give herself kindness and she is more likely to attract someone who knows the importance of giving kindness.
You may have hesitated to talk to your daughter about her body. But no matter how old she grows, she will always look in the mirror and have an opinion about it. Not only do you want her to take care of her body and love it, but you want her to be able to tend to her body's needs, from general health to sexual desires. "Her body is hers to enjoy and not merely a prize to be won by another person," wrote author, Dena Kouremetis for Psychology Today. "Exploring pleasure together is a lovely and life-affirming part of any relationship..."
Let your daughter know that at some point in her life, she will have her heart broken. But as painful as it can be, it's also an experience that can make her stronger. "Nothing teaches a woman more about herself than losing love," said author, Jaime Morrison Curtis. Curtis also added, "She will learn what she's willing to accept, what she really needs, and when and how to let go." And through it all, she will know that you will be there for her.
When she sees her partner being hostile towards their mother for no reason or can't treat someone with respect, let her know that it could be a reflection of the way they might treat you in the relationship. Let her know that if things don't seem right in the beginning, the 'wrongs' will not turn into 'rights' later on in the relationship. "Left unaddressed, the things that truly irritate her now about the other person usually become amplified over the years, not diminished," wrote Kouremetis.
A relationship is not meant to be a competition, and nor should it be a constant test where you expect your partner to prove themselves to you over and over again. It's a partnership that's meant to be a balance between two personalities. Showing your daughter that it shouldn't be about tests but more about trust is what can keep her happy in the relationship. Let her know that before she enters a relationship, she needs to be sure of what she really wants and not settle for less. But there are no rules or tests that can assure her partner will give her all this. It's all about trusting her instincts and understanding what feels right.
When she sees her partner running away from her or pulling away in the relationship, it's important that she knows that going after the person she wants to be with might not be worth it, and that rejection is something everyone faces and has to cope with at some point in their life. It's important to not look for love in the same places that she lost it. Sometimes, giving her partner some space to breathe might help. And if that's not the case, then it would be better for her not to hold on to somewhere who desperately wants to leave.
Every daughter needs her mother to instill the words "you are enough" in her, nurturing the confidence that she needs to believe in herself and not give herself up for someone in a relationship. "If ever there were a message daughters need to hear from their moms, it's this," said Weiner. "Believing you are enough means remembering that nothing in you needs to change to be loved." Make sure she knows that she doesn't have to change anything about her for a partner and that the right one for her would love her just as she is.