While there is no denying the joys of parenthood, parenting a teenage girl can be notoriously tricky. The inherent pressures of society are raining down, and navigating the teenage years is a handful for both parents and teens. There is no way to be the perfect parent but keeping these 8 tips in mind can help you build and maintain a healthy relationship with your teen.
There’s no denying that sometimes life gets busy. You’re busy, your teens are busy, everyone is busy. Days get filled with school, friends, sports, clubs and you may find yourself going through the motions. These are the times when it’s important to take a pause and make an effort to spend quality time with your teenage daughter. There is no denying the power of quality time in building healthy relationships. Make a date by taking the time out to go see a movie, cook a meal together, go shopping or partake in a mutually enjoyed activity.
Support Their Passions
It’s inevitable that your teens’ interests are going to evolve and change as they get older. When your daughter develops a new passion or takes up a new hobby, make an effort to learn about it so you can engage in conversations. Chances are your daughter is itching to open up about her new found passion, you just have to give her the chance.
Participation in sports and clubs also give parents perfect opportunities to support their teens. Regular attendance of their sporting events, or performances show that you care and enjoy watching your teen flourish.
Respect Their Growth – Let Them Fail
I was a teenage girl once, and while I love my parents dearly, I sometimes found myself longing for the space to become my own person. The teenage years are pivotal in developing your sense of self and it’s helpful for parents to understand and respect that. Your kids are going to be trying new things, and making mistakes, that’s just part of growing up. Sometimes there are life lessons your teens need to learn on their own, and you just need to be there in the end with a shoulder to lean on.
Active listening fosters a relationship of trust and support between parents and teens.
Teens don’t always want to talk to their parents, so when they do be sure you’re there to lend an ear. If your teen is seeking advice be sure to offer it, but sometimes they don’t want you to fix a situation, they just need to be heard. Validate their feelings and encourage them to embrace their emotions, tears are not the enemy!
Words of Affirmation
This can come in the form of compliments, acknowledgement, appreciation and more. Compliments are an underrated form of affirmation and can do wonders for a teenage girl’s self-esteem. For example, you may not understand the ever changing teenage styles, but complimenting your daughter’s new shirt will make her feel seen. Honestly, when I was younger, it meant the most when my dad would complement an outfit choice of mine.
Acknowledge and appreciate the things your teen does for the family, even when it’s expected. Thank you’s go a long way! Words of affirmation is one of the 5 love languages, and while often referred to in regard to romantic relationships, the concept remains valuable for familial relationships as well. In all forms, words of affirmation build a continuing sense of trust and security.
Asking questions shows you’re genuinely interested in what’s happening in their personal lives. There is so often a disconnect between parents and teens, so bridging that gap will strengthen the bond between you two.
Pick Your Battles
Ultimately there will be times when you need to put your foot down as a parent, that part is in the job description, but that doesn’t mean you have to nitpick every little mistake your child makes. So, your daughter didn’t clean her room before hanging out with friends, it’s not the end of the world. Constant negativity can cause reclusiveness and harbored resentment from your teen.
Hug Them Often – Parental Affection
There is something to be said about the power of a hug, and there is research to prove it. Parental affection through positive physical touch is extremely important. There’s a saying that a child needs 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance and 12 for growth. Your teenager isn’t a child anymore, and 12 hugs a day may seem like a lot, but the idea remains that parental affection is valuable in any parent/teen relationship.
If your teen expresses discomfort though, always respect their boundaries. Parental affection can also come in the form of a comforting shoulder squeeze, or a pat on the back.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no such thing as a perfect parent and there never will be. Your daughter is on her journey to finding herself, and you are her number one fan. Trust your gut, do your best, and love her with all your heart.