Five Steps To Help Your Daughter From Spiraling Down

As a parent with a daughter, your hands will be full when it comes to navigating her emotional life, especially during adolescence. Between the pressures of social media, friendship drama, and body image, there’s plenty of room for your daughter to decline into bouts of anxiety, depression, and reckless behavior. But it’s possible for you to help her come out stronger and wiser from her teen years. The key is to disrupt her negative thought patterns that are pushing her to spiral down. Here are five ways to work with your daughter through turbulent times, even when it seems like she couldn’t care less about your help.

Empathize With Her

Whatever is triggering her this time, your daughter is scared and angry. Ask her to talk to you, but don’t force the issue. Even if she chooses not to talk to you, showing empathy is most important. Empathy is your ability to imagine how your daughter is feeling and respond to her with love, care, and understanding. 

When you put yourself in your daughter’s place, you’ll better understand how to comfort her. When you’re empathetic towards her, you’re validating your daughter’s emotions, so she doesn’t feel so alone or wrong for how she views her problems. As a result, she will have the breathing room to reframe or reinterpret her problems, which can halt or slow down her decent into more dangerous behaviors. 

Ask Her What She Needs

Your daughter wants someone to listen. Ask her what she needs to feel better. And, yes, you might hear her say she needs illegal substances or for you to disappear, but that’s not what she really needs or wants. Here are some ways to interpret her responses:

  • Feeling alone and isolated: If she says she feels all alone, she may need help handling the other adults in her life, such as teachers, coaches, an older male, or other parents. Offer help when possible.
  • Feeling exhausted: If she says she’s tired of life, she may really need more solid, quality sleep and better nutrition. However, this could be a more serious cry for help that requires the intervention of a mental health professional.
  • Feeling trapped: If she says she feels trapped and suffocated, maybe you two need to go on a drive for some fresh air.
  • Needing freedom: If she says she needs her freedom, maybe she needs a walk or time with a healthy friend away from the house.
  • Needing friendship: If she says she needs new friends, be that friend while still parenting her.

Give Up Controlling Her

It’s easy to somewhat control the actions and behaviors of a five-year-old, but it’s just about impossible to control a teen. You may want to demand that she behaves a certain way or stops feeling an emotion to get her out of her depression. Usually that backfires with a teen who may or may not be troubled. To truly help her, try your best to be less critical of her behavior, thoughts, and feelings and more nurturing (and remember — empathetic). 

Do Something Together

You might be under the impression that your daughter doesn’t want to spend one more second in the same room with you. The opposite may be true. She may be yearning for your company, but doesn’t know how to express her needs, even when asked. Suggest doing something simple in the moment, even if it’s just watching a silly YouTube cat video for three minutes. Even the most hardened troubled teen daughter may say yes. And here’s an extra (and extra difficult) tip: ignore her eye rolls and develop a thick skin to her insults.

Find Professional Help

Sometimes your daughter’s problems are simply too much for you to handle. A mental health professional may break through her hardened veneer. Your daughter may initially resist going to counseling. Give her the option of interviewing a few counselors herself to see if there’s a fit. 

If you think your daughter would benefit from more intensive counseling, visit You’ll find a compassionate and understanding community of professionals who truly understand the complexities of your family’s challenges.


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John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden Jr is the father of seven inspiring children, and he is married to Kara, the love of his life. Together they have created a family-centered legacy by leading the way with early childhood educational advancement. John loves to write and is an author of a children’s book, An Unlikely Journey and plans to publish additional books. Show More

John is a visionary in his work and applies “outside-the-box” approaches to business practice and people development. He is the Founder of Turning Winds, along with several other organizations. He has extensive experience launching and developing organizations. His skills include strategic planning, promoting meaningful leader-member movement, organizational change, effective communication, project management, financial oversight and analysis, digital marketing and content creation, and implementing innovative ideas through influential leadership. As a leader, John seeks to empower others and brand success through collaborative work. His vision is to lead with courage, grit, truth, justice, humility, and integrity while emphasizing relational influence rather than focusing on the sheens of titles, positions, or things.

Finally, John is passionate about life and promoting equity among those who are often overlooked because of differences that frequently clash with the “norm.” He lives in Southern Idaho and loves the outdoors and the life lessons that can be learned in such an informal environment.

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