Connect with your teenage daughter and hone your communication skills for a rewarding legacy to benefit BOTH of you.
Ways to connect with your teenage daughter:
- Implement Parent-Teenager Communication Activities
- Encourage Empathy
- Engage a Teenager in Problem Solving
- Really Listen to Your Teenager
- Empower Your Daughter
- Start a Conversation
Teenagers: They’re going through many medical and social changes and would benefit from a mother’s advice. But ask any teenager if they want their parents advice they will deny it – every time.
You can’t really blame them. We’ve been there ourselves. Remember not wanting to ask your mom for advice even though you really needed help?
Parents should be strict and set boundaries is what we were taught. It just doesn’t matter how old a child is. A good parent should give ADVICE and never take advice from a child.
Connect with Your Teenage Daughter
Although to some extent this is true. For instance, when your child is very young and cannot fend for themselves yet; it IS your responsibility; nay, your JOB, to keep them safe from harm: mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Teenagers on the other hand, are ready to learn how to be caring adults and become a contributing member of society. Here’s how you can help them instead of shying them away from you.
We often make the mistake that our children do not know how to resolve problems without your help. This way of thinking exists even among older children; older children often Believe, by watching their parents, that their younger siblings are Clueless.
It is not uncommon to overhear conversations of our youth: “they’re old, their clueless” or “give them a break, they’re ancient, they don’t understand.”
Ironically, very similar words are used when us old fogies chat about our teens. “Nothing that can be done about it, they’re young, they haven’t experienced the world yet” and “let it go, they’re not smart enough to understand, yet. They’ll understand when they grow up!”
It seems that no matter how old you are, or how young you are, these are common, everyday-conversations you hear everywhere lol!
More likely than not, it has become a generational habit. “Tale as old as time,” as they say.
How about: “The fundamental rules apply, as time goes by.” Okay, so that’s a little out of context but you get the picture. When was the last time you talked about YOUR PARENTS that way; and not a short time later, uttered very similar words about your teens. Humans are a funny lot for sure.
Let’s work on ways to get along, nurture each other and learn and grow together instead of alienating each other.
Implement Parent-Teenager Communication Activities
Schedule a set time each day to spend with your child. Make it habitual as possible. It should be routine and natural. And, not some, “We Need to TALK” event to stress over.
A great time to do this is at or after dinner when there’s something else going on such as eating or cleaning up. Typically this time would be something everyone will look forward to and be comfortable with; typically it’d be light and fun as possible.
That way, if a “heavy” subject happens to pop up now and again, it’d be easier to get support as well as GIVE support as Families should.
Encourage Your Teenager to Develop Empathy for Others
While it is true that you have a lot more life experience and wisdom to nurture your child, she is quickly becoming an adult. One of the best lessons for her, is for her to start learning how to help others.
Let her practice on helping you.
- Is there a problem you encountered at work?
- Did you have an altercation at the supermarket?
Let her in on it.
How Do You Engage a Teenager?
This question goes both ways too! Give her a problem or concern that you may be struggling with in your life. You may be surprised at what she comes up with.
Sometimes, and more often than not, the solution will present itself, CLEAR AS DAY during the course of the conversation.
And, what she may have to say may profoundly tick you off. It may present itself as a GUT REACTION or in a dramatic tone. Take a breath, remember, she learned to communicate that way from “someone.”
But, if you can TRULY listen to what she has to say, she’ll probably astound you.
Really Listen to Your Teenager
It is at this time that we need to listen to each other a little bit more, hear what the other has to say. Avoid dramatic reactions.
It’s a very difficult thing to do, yes. But, you can do it!
Practice to take the time not react emotionally or traumatically. We will then come away with a deeper understanding of the problem or situation at hand. Likely, more so than how the initial situation presented itself initially.
While easier said than done in our own lives, it is much more difficult thing to do when it comes to listening to our children’s difficulties. And, “our solutions” often come out sounding in a negative tone, using words such as:
- Well, you should do this!
- You know that’s wrong, don’t you?
- So what are you going to do about it?
- You’re too young to understand.
- When you grow up you’ll see.
Instead, it’s time to listen to your daughter. Ask deeper questions BEFORE imposing your “sage advice,” prematurely.
Without truly listening to what’s REALLY troubling her, you will succeed in strengthening the divide. Eventually, she’ll stop seeking your support all together.
The Best Way is to Empower Your Daughter
The ultimate and lifelong benefit is when you help empower HER to arrive at her own solutions. If you can put aside your ego and keep the door open to communication, you will find that she will come to you and confide in you ON HER OWN free will. You won’t even have to pry it out of her.
She feels that being in your presence and receiving your SAGE ADVICE always makes her feel more empowered. What she may not realize is that what you really did was to HELP HER learn how to reveal her own answers from within.
How Do I Ruin My Relationship with My Teenager?
Hey, there is, of course, the alternative, and that is to stop working on communication skills all together. Shut down communication between your children and WITH them. See how much happier you will all be.
As humans, we all seek to be happy. Ceasing to grow your communication skills will negatively affect your children; then your family; then the world you live in.
It has been said that we cannot be FRIENDS with our children. While that axiom may have had some merit in the past (when dinosaurs ruled the Earth), it is certainly not true today. Today, in the information age, we can not only LEARN from and with our children but be their FRIEND as well as their MENTOR and visa versa.
How to Start a Conversation with a Teenager
STOP RIGHT THERE. The first order of business is; before you begin a difficult conversation with your teen, ingrain the following in your mind:
- Stop criticizing her.
- Try not cut her off.
- DO let her speak freely.
Even if she doesn’t offer you the same consideration.
When applicable, DO let her know that while you may not fully be aware of the situation that she is working with; but that you are fully open to understanding the concern or dilemma.
Sincerely, apologize if you react inappropriately and prematurely; and especially without taking the time to understand the situation completely.
Invite her to try to help you to understand her angst.
Make every attempt to listen with an open mind, devoid of preconceived notions. You may be surprised with what answers appear from such a collaboration.
Can we all agree that our main goal in life is to be happy? The key to unlocking HAPPINESS is communication. Honing in on your communication skills with teenagers, girls especially, can definitely be rewarding for both of you.