We’ve all been there, mums. Those awkward adolescent years when nothing makes sense, everyone seems to be out to get you, and you’re still trying to figure out who you are. Teenage years are difficult, and as a mother, you can support your teen daughter in navigating some of the most challenging years of her life. However, as you are well aware, connecting with a teenager is not as simple as it sounds, and you may feel the most distanced from your daughter at times. With a few pointers in hand, you and your daughter can develop a strong and solid relationship that will not only help her get through puberty but also help you form an eternal link. Here are a few pointers on how to communicate with your teenage daughter.
Don’t deny her friendships
You remember what it was like to be a teenager, and the prospect of your daughter being subjected to the same pressures is enough to make any parent shiver. Whether you like it or not, your daughter will make male friends, and these connections may develop into relationships. Restricting your daughter’s access to those she wishes to spend time with will drive her away and cause her to lash out.
Allowing her to invite her friends over to your house is a wonderful approach to get the best of both worlds. This allows her to spend time with her favourite friends while you keep an eye on things – especially if a boyfriend is involved. Don’t forget, it’s completely normal for your daughter to want to spend hours chatting on her phone to her friends – even after school!
Welcoming your daughter’s friends into your home will help you develop an open and honest relationship with your daughter, allowing you to connect with her in ways you never have before.
Spend time doing things she enjoys
It’s all well and good to try to schedule family time, but a teenager isn’t going to be interested in ‘family trips’ all of the time. Allow time for just the two of you, and let her plan the day’s activities. Whether it’s a day in front of the TV watching movies together or going shopping for the latest stylish clothes, she’ll value quality time spent with you more than something imposed upon her.
Be honest with her
Being treated like a child is something that many teenagers hate. It’s essential to consider that they’re maturing into young adults who are capable of comprehending far more than you realise. Hiding things from your teen or refusing to give direct answers will only develop a hole between you and your teen. For instance, if you say no to them going out with their buddies, explain why. If you’re open and honest with your kid, he or she is far more likely to appreciate and respect you.
It may be difficult to talk to your daughter about sex, or even the prospect of sex. However, in today’s world it’s something teenagers are more exposed to than ever before. Peer pressure and moving forward in intimate relationships is something your daughter may be exposed to, and as a parent it’s your job to be open and honest with her. Talk about the feelings you had at her age, and if she is in a relationship that could turn intimate, be brave enough to talk to her about that too. The more open and honest you are, the more likely is it that she’ll come to you if she needs to.
One thing that might cause a major rift between you and your daughter is failing to give her an honest explanation for your behaviour and comments. Simply responding, “because I said so,” makes her feel as if you’re treating her like a child.
Teenagers know more about life than we realise, and when we tell them the truth, they are actually more understanding and reasonable. So, if she’s curious as to why you won’t let her boyfriend stay the night, tell her! Give her an example from your past to demonstrate that you are rational. Whether she likes it or not, the truth will always be preferable to excuses.
Have an open door policy
Continuing from that point, you’re all too familiar with the emotions and experiences that come with adolescence, the most significant of which is your daughter’s transition into womanhood. Your daughter will get her first period at some point, she may feel compelled to begin a sexual relationship, and she will be concerned about issues such as safe sex. Many young girls struggle with the worry of being judged if they open up to their mothers or fathers about these issues. Having an open door policy where your daughter can come to you with her difficulties without being yelled at will encourage her to do so.
It’s going to happen, as much as you dread the concept of your darling daughter entering that phase of her life. Wouldn’t it be better if your daughter talked to you about it, practised safe sex, and didn’t have to worry about telling you anything?
Learn to trust her
Another challenge that many young women encounter is parental mistrust, and we understand why! Peer pressure might easily lead her down the wrong path, and you don’t want that to happen to your daughter! Giving your daughter the opportunity to earn your trust, on the other hand, is a terrific way to connect with her on a deeper level. Set ground rules, such as curfews and acceptable language, and trust that she will follow them. Being granted that trust will almost always make your daughter think about what she’s doing or about to do, encouraging her to follow your guidelines.
Establish fair routines
We mentioned earlier that your daughter may not always want to go on family outings. However, it is essential for you to spend time together as a family to connect. Once a day, sit down and have a meal as a family. This is a great way to connect as a family and truly enjoy each other’s company. Establish norms and rituals for everyone, including yourself.
This includes times when your daughter wants to hang out with her friends. Make it clear that she is welcome to do so, but only after your family dinner. Setting those boundaries will help your family get closer.
Give her space
What is one thing that every teenager has in common? They enjoy having their own space! As a parent, we understand that you want to know everything about her day, how she’s feeling, and the latest gossip. On the other hand, there will be days when she just wants to be alone. Perhaps things went wrong at school, and she requires some alone time, or perhaps she simply needs some space to clear her mind. Make sure you give her some breathing room, whatever her rationale may be. Just make sure she understands you have an open door policy so she knows she can talk to you whenever she wants.
Be her teacher, parent and friend
Teenagers have so many topics at school that they are prone to want to retreat into their own little world when they return home. However, encouraging your daughter to help you with household duties that they can learn from may pique their interest. Teenagers are often looking for ways to gain more independence, so teach them how to do their own laundry and hand it over to them. It will both prepare them for later in life and allow them to demonstrate to you that they are capable of taking on duties like this, implying that they are more trustworthy.
Empathise with her
As previously said, becoming a teenager is a tough period due to all of the physical and emotional changes that occur. It’s essential to empathise with your teenager, no matter how absurd their thoughts may sound. Allowing them to voice their feelings will help you determine whether the problem is puberty or something more serious, such as an addictive personality. There are numerous symptoms of an addictive personality, but here are seven of them to consider. Allowing your teenager to be open with you will allow you to support them if necessary.
Finally, your teenager is swiftly maturing into their own self-sufficient individual, and even if they believe they can make it on their own, they still desire love and care. When your daughter leaves for school, tell her you love her, make an effort to say “good morning” and “goodnight,” and show her you care by doing tiny things for her, such as buying her favourite album or cooking her favourite meal for dinner. Know where to set your boundaries to, and don’t be afraid of discipline. It might not “be fair” at that time, but sticking to the same rules, punishments and honesty will help your relationship with your daughter. As a result, your relationship will grow stronger!