As if being a parent was not already hard enough, being a parent to a teenage daughter is miles ahead. At this point, your teenager is looking to you for support and guidance as well as structure and discipline.
As their anchor, you’re also their teacher, role model, friend and enemy. Your teenage daughter knows she needs you, but developmentally, she’s withdrawing from the parent-young child relationship. As the parent of a teenage girl, you need to prepare for a range of noxious and rebellious behaviours that can make us say things we later regret.
Their lives, bodies, and social circles are all changing at a rapid pace. Friendships that were easy in elementary school become difficult in middle and high school. Academics become more challenging and time-consuming. Their extra-curricular activities become more and more demanding. That’s a lot!
Tips to make your not-so-little girl feel special:
Sometimes those things our teens are struggling with seem so insignificant in comparison to our adult struggles, but it’s all a matter of perspective. Their struggles are genuine and very important to them. Listen to them when they talk to you, and really listen, don’t just nod along. Sometimes it’s just as important to hear what they aren’t saying as it is to hear the actual words.
2. TAKE INTEREST IN THEIR INTERESTS
Give your daughter a chance to explore their interests. Whenever possible, let them take classes or get involved in community activities. The teen years are a time of figuring out their gifts and talents.
If she has musical talent, sing along or play along. Maybe you can draw or paint together. Read books together. Play their favourite sports with them or go to their sport events. This not only makes them feel special, but helps in strengthening your relationships with each other.
3. BE SUPPORTIVE OF THEIR RELATIONSHIPS
Accept the fact that there are growing up. Its hard to do but it’s the truth. Many children resent the fact that their parents are not supportive of their relationships and distance themselves. If she has a partner, be supportive. Once you’ve met the partner and gotten to know them, and feel good, you can let her go on dates with them. If you did not feel like the person is trustworthy, tell your daughter the reasons why without exploding or banning the relationship.
4. BE RESPECTFUL
With the prevalence of cyber-bullying, teenager girls these days have more to worry about than ever when it comes to criticism and taunts. Teasing can feel like torture to a sensitive teenager. Don’t make fun of them, no matter how lightly, and refrain from using negative language or put-downs. Hearing this from their parental figure can hurt their self-esteem, and can make them feel unhappy and unsafe at home.
It’s not always easy being the parent of a teenage daughter, but it’s absolutely worthwhile to take the time to foster a strong, healthy relationship that promotes respect and love between both parties. Although every teenager is different, it’s fundamental that a parent provide both guidance, support and make them feel special.
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