Teenage girls have a terrible reputation for being emotional and irrationally. They get themselves worked up over things that don’t matter and are preoccupied with boys, friends, and appearances. While some of this may be true for some teenage girls, using these stereotypes as an excuse not to take your daughter seriously will negatively impact your relationship and ability to communicate with her.
Here are the top secrets to communicating with your teenage daughter.
1. Listen to what your daughter is saying.
Take the time to listen to what she is telling you. Active listening means putting your phone down, stop what you are doing, and giving her your full attention. Even is she is talking about things that seem irrelevant to you, if she chooses to tell you about them, they are essential to her. Please resist the urge to respond to everything she says by giving advice or criticizing the people she is talking about. It would be best if you listened to hear, as opposed to listening to respond. Your daughter knows the difference and will stop sharing with you if she feels like you are only going to criticize her or be condescending.
2. Take your daughter’s problems seriously.
From an adult perspective, it may not seem important if someone told one of your friends that they don’t like you. However, to your teenage daughter, this may be a huge deal. It may be something that is causing her stress and distracting her at school. Please resist the urge to downplay the problem by telling her she shouldn’t care or what other people think doesn’t matter.
Instead, be a good listener and offer her tools on how to understand why she shouldn’t take it personally if someone doesn’t like her. Provide her with examples from your life that she may realize. If communication has already been poor between you and your daughter, before saying anything, ask her if she would like your opinion or if she just wants you to listen.
3. Keep in mind where your daughter is emotionally and physically.
Your daughter may be more emotional during certain times of the month. That doesn’t mean you should disregard her feelings or tell her she’s “PMSing.” Please take a moment to remind yourself that leading up to her period or during her period, she may be more emotional than usual.
It would help if you also remembered that periods cause dysmenorrhea, headaches, fatigue, and other physical problems that can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. The pain she is in may be causing her distress, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Knowing how to help her can also go a long way in showing her you’re on her side.
4. Don’t disregard mental health issues.
Too often, teenage girls are ignored as being overly dramatic when they are trying to ask for help. Teenage girls are still children in many ways and don’t always have the mental and emotional tools to communicate how they are feeling correctly.
If your daughter is displaying signs of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it is critical to take those signs seriously and have a very open conversation with her about how she is feeling. Getting a professional involved can help mediate that conversation as well. Many highly reputable depression teen treatment centers can help you and your daughter navigate everything she is experiencing healthily.
Even with these secrets, communicating with your teenage daughter will not be easy. The best advice you can hear is never to give up. Never make your daughter feel like it’s too late, or she’s damaged your relationship by being too needy or too emotional.