Growing your relationship with your daughter
How a shared journal can bring you closer to each other and to God
The tween and teen years can be tumultuous. As our daughters grow into young women, they are also figuring out their place in the world. They’re changing in many ways, which means we have to change the way we connect with them. Figuring out how to best communicate with your daughter requires patience and intentional practices.
As my daughter, Lexi, continues to grow and change, she and I are working to keep our communication flowing. We don’t always get it right, and we certainly still have years ahead of us still since she is only 12. But we have learned a few things in our journey about how to better communicate with each other. One great way to connect with each other is through a shared journal.
Lexi and I find that journaling together grows our relationship. While we have always had a good relationship and been close, journaling together strengthens our connection even more.
Starting to journal together
A couple of years ago, I learned about mother and daughter journals and thought they’d be a great fit for Lexi and me. I’ve always been able to express myself best through writing. (I’m a professional writer, in fact.) Lexi enjoys writing as well, so it seemed like a good idea for us. I knew writing would allow us to connect in different ways. So, we ordered a mother and daughter journal and tried it out.
The journal was OK. It had some great questions, but it also had some obvious questions we already knew the answers to for each other. And it didn’t include faith at all. Faith is a big part of our life. Not including it just felt like something was missing.
We talked about what we’d do differently to make a journal we liked more. That’s how the idea for “Connecting with Grace” was born. We decided to just do it! “Connecting with Grace” is a mix of silly and serious. We are both serious and silly. And sometimes we are seriously silly! Our journal gives writing prompts or questions to talk about everything from God to boys to funny stories to family relationships to school and more.
How shared journaling works
In a shared journal, moms and daughters each have a page to complete on her own before giving it to the other one. Each of the mom and daughter pages in “Connecting with Grace” connect about a similar topic. And each page also includes a Bible verse or inspirational quote.
For us, I start by answering the first writing prompt for moms. Then I leave the journal and an ink pen on Lexi’s bed. She reads through my answer and then answers the question on her own page. She places it back on my bed. It’s as easy as that! Sometimes we do this every night and sometimes it can be a couple of weeks in between as we get busy with life.
Every we so often, we comment on what each other has written. But even when we don’t, writing and reading the responses gives us time to really think about what we want to say and focus on what the other one is saying. We get to know each other and each other’s hearts even more. Writing allows us to be more transparent and honest with each other than when we talk.
But that’s not to say having one-on-one time isn’t important as well. We decided to include 10 “Face-to-Face with Grace” ideas for moms and daughters throughout “Connecting with Grace,” something we haven’t found in any other shared journals. They’re easy ways moms and daughters can connect in person like going for an ice cream date or taking a trip to the dollar store together just for fun.
The benefits of shared journaling
Shared journaling helps you communicate on a deeper level with your child. I have gotten to know Lexi in ways I hadn’t before through reading her answers to questions. She has gotten to know me in different ways as well.
Like most moms and daughters, we often see each other in our roles more than as individuals. To her, I am “mom” more than “Stacey.” To me, she is a child dependent on me who I can assume feels and thinks exactly like I do. (She doesn’t!) Journaling together allows us to really see each other for who we are. I am often blown away by Lexi’s insights and thoughts. I get to see more of who she really is as a person.
Another benefit of using a faith-based journal like “Connecting with Grace” is growing in faith. My husband and I strive to show our kids how faith in daily life looks. Journaling with my daughter allows me to share some parts of my faith walk with her that don’t usually come up in everyday conversation. In turn, she shares what’s on her heart and asks any questions she has. Plus, we both dig deeper and think more about the topics we’re writing about, including our faith.
“Connecting with Grace” also includes some journal pages without writing prompts throughout so you can take those questions or topics you want to go deeper on and write about them. You can use the pages as a joint prayer journal or whatever comes up for you and your daughter!
Finally, a shared journal is not only a great way for moms and daughters to connect, but the writing prompts make sure we have something to talk about each time we write so we don’t get repetitive or somehow run out of things to say.
Find “Connecting with Grace” on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Connecting-Grace-Mother-Daughter-Journal/dp/B09KF2F9CR or via the Families with Grace product page at https://familieswithgrace.com/products.
About the authors:
Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist, editor and blogger who has been published internationally. She encourages parents on their journey to create homes full of grace, faith and love on her blog, FamiliesWithGrace.com. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two children and dog. When she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out with her family, reading books, playing games or baking up treats. She loves Jesus and encouraging others through writing.
Lexi Shannon is a middle school student who loves to read and write. She has her own blog, Girls with Grace, which is a section of FamiliesWithGrace.com. She enjoys encouraging other tween girls to be true to themselves as they grow in their relationship with God. She lives in the Midwest with her parents, brother and dog.