The pre-teen and teenage years can be difficult. There are the physical and hormonal changes and there’s the societal pressures at school with friendships, dating, and school. For the moms whose daughters are maturing into young women, it’d be helpful to have a toolkit to know how to handle life’s curveballs. Here are five tips for the Black momma whose daughter is coming of age.

Create Space for Hard Conversations

Teach your daughter from a young age not to shy away from hard conversations. As she gets older, continue to help her build confrontation and problem solving skills through healthy dialogue. This means creating an opportunity for her to express hard emotions like anger, disappointment, and hurt. Teach her to speak up, to protect her autonomy, and establish clear boundaries with other people, including you. 

Be a Safe Place

As your daughter gets older, she will face her fair share of obstacles and make mistakes. It’s important that she knows that no matter what comes her way, you are always a safe place. This happens by creating a foundation of dialogue, honesty, and unconditional love. You might share with her mistakes you made growing up or hard things you went through. You might encourage your daughter to ask questions and remain curious. This will ensure she knows that she can always come to you.

Maintain Supportive Boundaries

Your daughter is getting older, and with age, comes more opportunities for fun and adventure, as well as trouble. It might be tempting to be really firm and set lots of rules. Instead, focus on creating boundaries that are supportive rather than restrictive. If you try to control and restrict, more often than not, your daughter will rebel. Some helpful boundaries might be no social media before homework, driving with adults only or a list of designated friends, or checking in when out with friends.

Remind Her That She’s Loved

As a Black girl who is coming of age, there will be many moments when the world tries to knock your daughter down. There will be people and circumstances that communicate to your daughter that she isn’t good enough. As a mom of a daughter who is getting older, do your best to speak good things over her. Remind her that she is worthy, smart, loved, and beautiful. 

Model Healthy Behavior

As your daughter is getting older and maturing into an adult, you’ll see more of yourself in her. It’s important to model the behavior you want to see in her. For example, when you make mistakes, apologize and take responsibility. At work, advocate for yourself and communicate your priorities and standards. In your personal life, set firm boundaries and don’t settle for mistreatment. What your daughter sees from you, good or bad, is the type of behavior she will mimic.