Mums, we’ve all been there before. Those teenage years where nothing makes sense, everyone seems out to get you, and you’re still discovering yourself as a person. Teenagehood is a difficult time and as a Mother, you can help your teenage daughter make it through some of the weirdest years of her life. However, as you well know, connecting with a teenager isn’t as easily done as it is said and sometimes, you can feel at your most distant from your daughter. However, armed with a few tips and tricks, you and your daughter can build a healthy and solid relationship that will not only help her through her adolescence but also build an everlasting bond between you. Here are some tips on how to connect with your teenage daughter.
Allow her to have friendships
You remember what it was like as a teenager, and that’s enough to make any parent shudder with the thought of the pressure your daughter is going to be put under. The fact is, whether you like it or not, your daughter will befriend males and sometimes, these friendships could turn into relationships. Banning your daughter from seeing those she wants to spend time with will drive her away and cause her to act out.
A great way of having the best of both worlds is by allowing her to have her friends over to your home. This way, she gets to spend time with her favourite people and you can keep an eye on situations – especially if there’s a boyfriend involved.
Welcoming your daughter’s friends into your home will help create an open and honest relationship, meaning that over time you’ll begin to connect with your daughter more than ever before.
Spend quality time together doing something she likes
It’s all well and good trying to plan family time, but with a teenager, they’re simply not going to always be interested in ‘family outings’. Make time for just the two of you, and let her choose the agenda for the day. Whether that be a day in front of the TV watching movies together, or out shopping for the latest trendy clothing, she will appreciate that kind of quality time together more than something she’s forced into.
Have an open door policy
You know only too well about the feelings and experiences you go through during the teenage years, the main one being the beginning of womanhood for your daughter. At some point or another, your daughter will get her first period, she will have urges to enter a sexual relationship, and she will be wondering about important things such as safe sex. A problem that many teenage girls face is not feeling like they can open up to their Mothers or Fathers about these questions in fear of being scrutinised for it. Having an open door policy where your daughter can talk to you freely without being shouted at will encourage her to come to you with her problems.
As much as you hate the idea of your baby girl entering that part of her life, it’s going to happen. Wouldn’t you rather your daughter speak to you about it, practise safe sex, and not have to worry about telling you anything than the alternative?
Another issue that many teenage girls face is mistrust from her parents, and we get why! Peer pressure can quickly lead her down the wrong path, and that’s the last thing you want for your daughter! However, giving your daughter the chance to earn your trust is a great way of connecting with her on a different level. Set boundaries like curfews and language allowed to be used and trust that she will abide by them. More often than not, being given that trust will make your daughter think about what she’s doing or is about to do, therefore leading her to stick by your rules.
Have routines that everyone should stick to
Earlier we mentioned that your daughter might not want to always have family outings. However, it’s important for you, as a family unit, to spend time together to connect. Having a sit-down meal together once a day is a fantastic way of connecting as a family and actually enjoying each other’s company. Lay down rules and routines for everyone – that includes you too!
This includes those occasions where your daughter wants to spend time with her friends. Make it clear that she can do so, but not until after your family meal. Setting those boundaries will help you grow closer as a family.
Give her space
What’s one thing that all teenagers have in common? They like their own space! We know that as a parent you want to know everything about her day, how she’s feeling, and hear about the gossip of the day. However, there will be days where she simply wants the space. Perhaps something went wrong at school and she needs some alone time, or maybe she just wants some space to clear her head. Whatever her reasoning, make sure you give her some space. Just be sure to remind her of your open door policy so that she knows she can talk to you if she wants to.
One thing that can drive a huge wedge between you and your daughter is not giving her truthful reasoning to your actions and words. Simply replying “because I said so” will make her feel like you’re treating her as a child.
Teenagers know more about life than we think and are actually more understanding and reasonable when we tell them the truth. So, if she’s wondering why you won’t let her boyfriend spend the night – tell her! Give her an example of your past to show her that you do have good reasoning. Whether she likes it or not, she’ll appreciate the truth more than excuses.
Finally, your teen is growing into their own independent person rapidly, and even though they think they can make it on their own, they still crave love and affection. Tell your daughter you love her when she leaves for school, make an effort to say ‘good morning’ and ‘goodnight’, and show her she’s loved by doing small things for her like treating her to her favourite album or cooking a meal she loves for dinner. Your relationship will become stronger because of it!