Being a parent can be challenging, and raising a teen can seem even more so. Staying connected with your daughter as she moves through her teens years is important, but at times you might question, where do I start?
As teen girls get older, they start to figure out who they are as a person and spend more time with their friends, when they might seem like they’re pushing you away, they still need you. Even though they’re heading towards adulthood, they still need the support, guidance, structure and discipline.
Maintaining a connection requires consistent effort, patience and persistence. Even if you think you know everything about your teen daughter, as she gets older and has new experiences, you might need to get to know her again, without assumptions or judgement.
Tips to maintain connection
Engage in conversations, ask her about her friends, school, and social life. Ask open-ended questions, and really listen to what she says, if you disagree, don’t shut her down. Remember the small details and bring it up again in a later conversation. This shows you value what she says.
Show up and be there for her
Be reliable and dependable. Even if it feels like she’s pushing you away, let her know you’re there for her no matter what.
Support her, even if some of the decisions she makes you don’t agree with. Remind her that she is loved no matter what and that you’re there through the good times but also the times when she’s struggling and needs you. Provide positive support as she goes through changes, and carefully remind her that you understand, you experienced changes of your own.
Respect her growth
As she moves through her teen years and heads towards adulthood, there is a fine line between needing her own independence but still needing guidance and parenting. Maintain your position of authority but also let her spread her wings and make her own decisions. This shows you respect her ability to make decisions and support her growth.
Set time aside to spend quality time with her, on her terms. This shows her that you not only value quality time spent with her, but that she’s also worthy of your time. Take her out on a dad-date, let her choose the activity and have no distractions, give her your undivided attention.