On this episode of the Plan Simple Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with mothering expert, Sil Reynolds. Sil is the co-author with her daughter, Eliza Reynolds, of Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years.
The teen/tween years can be a confusing mothering time, especially because we get the message that this is a time of freedom for us as mothers, a time to step back. It’s way different than the early years, but many of us find it’s a time we really need, and want, to be there for our kids — yet society can make us feel like this is helicopter parenting. Sil is full of wisdom and experience about this time in our mothering experience, and I am so grateful to call her a mentor and teacher myself.
Sil and her daughter created a way of mother-daughtering during adolescence that’s invigorating instead of draining. Teen girls get such a bad rap, but at some point in our chat, Sil refers to them as oracles because they’re so in touch with another way of seeing.
Here’s some of what we talk about on this episode:
- Helping our kids become the person they are, not the one we want them to be, and how life-giving it is to meet your kid on the level of the soul
- Understanding that you are an expert in mothering your child
- Really being involved in your tween/teen’s life and letting them rely on you
- Slowing down and practicing hearing and following your intuition
- How there will be ruptures, misunderstandings, mistakes, arguments and the important thing is not to avoid them but to repair them
- The difference between mothering and parenting
- The importance of having a circle of other mothers supporting you
Sil Reynolds is a mother and a mothering expert. She is the co-author, with her daughter Eliza, of Mothering and Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years. For fifteen years, the mother-daughter duo taught workshops for thousands of mothers and their preteen and teen daughters.
Sil brings 40 years as a Family Nurse Practitioner and psychotherapist to her current work as a one-on-one mother-daughter coach. She was a senior student of the renowned Jungian author and analyst Marion Woodman. As a specialist in eating disorders and body image, she’s taught Geneen Roth’s Breaking Free from Emotional Eating workshops. She’s taught at Multiversity, and the Esalen, Omega, and Kripalu Institutes. But the crown jewel in her resume is, of course, her now 30 year-old daughter Eliza. Fun fact: Sil brought the first yoga class ever to Brown University as an undergrad, as Eliza calls it, this = awesome hippie lady status. Find out more and learn how to turn conflict into open-hearted connection at motheringanddaughtering.com.
Doable Changes from this episode:
- REFRAME REJECTION. It is normal for adolescents to push back their parents, to test and try to figure out who they are. A lot of times parents take this as rejection. Over the next few days, notice when you feel like your tween/teen is rejecting you. What if you step back from that and reframe it as them pushing back, but not pushing you away or rejecting you. What if you challenge your assumption they won’t want to do something like family dinner, because you know they need connection?
- CONNECT TO OTHER MOTHERS. We weren’t meant to do this alone. It takes a village to raise a child—and support a mother. What can you do to connect with other mothers? We usually start with mothers of kids the same as our kids, but actually women at different stages can support us. Make a list of people already in your life. Make a list of people you could connect with. Reach out to one.
- REPAIR. It’s a relief to know that there will be ruptures, misunderstandings, mistakes, arguments, that the goal isn’t to avoid them. But it is important to repair them. Sometimes you need a little space before you repair, but give some cooling off time and then do it right away. This teaches your kids that it’s okay to make a mistake and how to handle them, and the act of repair can strengthen your relationship.