THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT PARENTING A TEENAGE GIRL
Today we are talking about raising teen girls – because it is such an important time in her life… not quite a woman, yet not a little girl. She needs you now more than ever. Parenting teenage sons and daughters will give you a vast opportunity for connection if you are willing to make time for it.
As a mom of four children (three sons & a daughter), I’ve found that raising teens has been wonderful. I’d go as far as to say that the teenage years are some of the best years. I’ll explain why (and how to get to the same place, if you aren’t there already).
In the end, raising teenage daughters (well- teenagers, in general) is about connection, trust, and respect. Teen girls have a lot to say – about everything. They have opinions that they want you to hear.
They feel things very deeply and intensely – and they want you to understand why. Your job, as their parent, is to LISTEN and guide them.
As a mom, my goal has ALWAYS been to raise children to be respectful, kind adults. I have also always wanted to make sure that my children understand that I am here for them.
Here are things no one tells you about raising teenage girls
I am genuinely their ‘best friend’ but not in the sense of “Hey! Let’s have fun, Bestie!” instead – in I’m the one that says:
“I am your safe place- a place without judgment or degrading. You can talk to me about anything. I am ALWAYS here for you. No matter what. Through thick or thin. Come rain or shine. Please rely on me and trust me. I will guide you in the right direction because I care about you. I will be strict but loving. I’ll listen but advise. Be kind but honest.”
1. LISTEN to your teen daughter
There are times when just listening is the best thing to do. Don’t try to solve the problem, fix it, lecture, share stories– just listen and let them lean on you.
Teenagers don’t want to hear what we have to say until they know that we are invested in them – that we genuinely CARE. When we listen without judging or giving advice – they will let us in.
Right now is the time to listen. Once our teens know that we understand and care– they will be ready to hear our advice.
In my post about raising teenage boys, I put that the most important thing to connect with your teen is to listen. I stand by that for raising teenage girls, too. Teen daughters need you to be their shoulder to cry on, their ear to listen, and their voice of reason… when they need it most.
“Years ago, I heard invaluable advice: Once your child reaches the age of 13 or 14, they know your opinion of everything under the sun. Your job from now on is to shut up and listen.
I remember feeling a bit defensive the first time I heard this counsel. I had so much knowledge yet to share! And besides, things change—how would I offer my wisdom on future problems? But there’s the crux of it all.
Things change. As adults, we think we know all about the teenage world, but this swiftly moving planet has spun beyond our intimate knowledge of the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s. And here’s what I’ve learned: when you take the time to listen, truly listen, your kids will ask your opinion.” ~ Michelle Lehnardt, TODAY.COM
2. Don’t Air Her Dirty Laundry
You know the old saying about airing dirty laundry – it means that you don’t tell everyone about your family’s business. Your kids don’t want you to tell your friends everything about them, either. Keep their secrets a secret – it’s a great way to build trust. If you break their trust, it will be a long road uphill to gain it back. It’s not worth it.
- On the same topic, let them tell YOU about their ‘friend problems’ without trying to take control. They want us to think of their friends in a positive manner. If we judge their friends badly, they won’t want to tell us about them anymore.
3. Don’t Judge or Give Unnessesary Criticism.
Teenage girls are hard enough on themselves – we don’t need to make it worse. If there is an actual need to give constructive criticism to your teen daughter, give it in a kind way. Otherwise, save it. They are already dealing with so many issues on social media, body image, and insecurity.
4. Social Media is in their lives – Teach your children how to use it wisely.
According to a survey by Common Sense Media, 35% of teenage girls who are active on social media worry about people tagging them in unflattering photos. In addition, 27% report worrying about how they look when they post pictures.
22% report feeling bad about themselves when nobody comments on or “likes” their posts. That’s the scary truth about raising kids in the social media age.
A study that found that 13-year olds with social media checked it between 50-100 times daily (and this led to 37% more stress than those who only checked it a few times a day.) – Newport academy
You may want to check out some of these posts on kids & social media…
Teen girls have bad days, too. Don’t take it personally.
Our kids can be themselves at home and sometimes they get upset. Sometimes they yell or stomp down the hall – but they do it at home because it is their safe place, the place where they know they are surrounded by people that love them.
They roll their eyes, make comments they regret, etc. The key is to try to shake it off (at the moment) but talk about it when your child is calmer. I always talk to our kids about how their actions bring up reactions in others. We also talk about what could have been said instead of what was actually said.
I am OK with letting things slide, aside from when they talk back rudely. I don’t let that slide because it’s hurtful. I don’t yell at our kids, and I don’t expect to be yelled at, either.
“Try to focus on the fact that eye rolls are a sign that your daughter is beginning to judge and think for herself. It’s annoying, but it’s also developmentally appropriate, and she’ll eventually grow out of it.” – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/more-women-s-work/201805/10-rules-living-teenage-daughter
Be Empathetic while raising your teenage daughter.
Put yourself in her shoes. Be the person you would want to talk to at that moment. Be empathetic.
“Avoid depreciating her dissatisfactions and disappointments- show understanding and empathy instead.
For example, if she has broken up with her boyfriend, do not resort to phrases such as “Do not worry- he was not for you anyway!” and use ones more similar to “it must be tough going right now, huh?'” – parentingbreakthroughs.com
Don’t compare her to their friends, siblings, or anyone else.
It would make us feel like we weren’t appreciated if someone compared us to others- our kids feel the same way. We need to point out the qualities that we like in our kids – not just the qualities we wish they would work on (by comparing).
Teenagers are listening and watching.
They might not act like it all the time, but they are watching you & listening to you. My advice? Take time every single day and just sit and talk. Thirty minutes at the end of the day or an hour walk each evening is going to be your favorite thing. It’s going to give you a chance to listen, talk, and connect.
Take the Initiative – it’s worth it
Take the initiative in connecting with your teenage daughter. Support her, listen to her, and speak to her heart. In the end, she’ll reach out to you again and again, and you’ll always have a place in her life.
Grab this month-long calendar for ideas on one-on-one time with your teen.