Being a teenager is challenging. They have to do battle with hormones, school, boys, and friends. Being a teenager in 2016 comes with a unique set of problems. At one time your daughter confided in you about everything. Remember the days when she ran out of school to tell you about her day? These days you’re lucky if you get a hello. Follow our tips to open up communications and get through to your teenage daughter.
Opening Up Communication
If your daughter seems quiet or thoughtful, it’s only natural to be concerned. And it’s natural to jump to our conclusions such as unplanned pregnancies, bullying or body issues. Try not to voice all of these fears. Instead, ask your daughter about her day. Or ask her if there is anything on her mind. If she isn’t forthcoming tell her that you’re there for her if she wants to talk. Make sure you reinforce this message.
Teenagers need to feel cared for. They need to know that you’re on their side no matter what. Once this message sinks in, your daughter is likely to feel more comfortable opening up. It’s important that you don’t rush things or push too hard. Open up the channels and let her come to you. Of course, if there are immediate safety concerns you will need to proceed differently.
Create Mom and Daughter Time
It’s easy to get bogged down with everyday activities. You have work, home, and family. Your daughter has school to think about and preparing for college. Create some time that is just for you and your daughter. Do the fun things that you both enjoy. This could be going for a run or going out for coffee. Do whatever you both enjoy and try to do this on a regular basis. Ask your daughter if there’s anything she would like to do. Spend time chatting and having fun. This will create a comfortable and easy environment for your daughter to open up if there’s anything on her mind.
If your daughter confides in you, try not to judge. This doesn’t mean condoning risky or bad behavior. It’s about accepting your daughter for who she is and being empathic. If you shame her when she opens up about her life and her concerns, she is less likely to come to you in the future.
Be honest with your daughter. Teenagers have lots of insecurities and make mistakes. So do we. Think back to when you were a teenager. Try to remember the things that you worried about. Think about the mistakes that you made and how you felt at the time. Where appropriate, share this with your daughter. Tell her about the things that you did and the mistakes that you made. This will show her that you’re human too and just like her.
If you get it wrong or say the wrong thing, admit it. Apologize to her and explain why you acted as you did. Tell her that you don’t always get it right either. It’s always comforting to know that other people make mistakes too but that they’re fixable.
There’s no right or wrong way to communicate. It’s a personal process and what works for one person won’t work for another. Take a gentle approach initially and find what works for both of you. Find what you’re both comfortable with. Above all, let your daughter know that you care and that you’re there if she needs you.