My daughter and I have started to take daily walks together. This is not only good for our health but it’s also the perfect opportunity to connect with each other.

Iliana laughs with her daughter at the park

When I look at her, I can see myself at her age and remember all the questions and doubts I had about myself and the future.

Growing up and becoming a young woman isn’t easy. On one of our walks, she shared with me an essay she wrote about an experience she had on one of our family trips. She’s a very talented writer, and I felt so honored that she shared her art with me! 

Today as we walked through our neighborhood I told her just that: how proud I am of her but also how much I admire her brains and talent.

This opened the door to a lovely conversation where she went deeper into her thoughts and feelings about that day and what she wrote. Then she started asking a lot of questions, about my thoughts on her dreams for the future, and if I had had similar experiences when I was her age. 

“As a mom, it’s so valuable and important that she trusts me and that she feels safe to share her truth and her deepest thoughts with me.”

"Taking 30 minutes a day to spend with her is not only good for our health but also for our relationship. "

It’s easy to forget what being a teenager was like until our kids remind us of it. While getting ready for an afternoon walk, my daughter and I talked about acceptance and the value of being our unique selves. Then we talked about a movie she really liked when she was little and how it reminded her of herself and her brother. These are the small things. The ones that count. We sometimes feel like we need to be prepared to hear and be there for the big events, the big problems. 

“But in reality, life is made of moments like this where we share our everyday thoughts and we feel comfortable enough to talk and be listened to. It all adds up.”

I listened, and now I need to watch that movie with her because it moved her, and I want to be a part of that. 

Get Into Their World Through a Game

Want more practice entering the world of teens?

Play “From 10 to 25,” a storytelling game about adolescence. As you play, you will take on the role of a young person, explore new parts of life, encounter challenges, and get the support you need.

Iliana Renteria

Iliana is a wife, professional blogger, community leader and mom of two living on the Western slope.