Secrets for Parenting a Teenage Daughter
Teenage years are difficult ones for parents and children alike, and having a girl can often make it even harder. They go through frequent mood swings, social circle upheaval, bodily changes, and other experiences that they are not always emotionally equipped to deal with. Unfortunately, this new life often puts a strain on the relationship between parent and child. Fortunately, you're not alone (trust me, I have been there twice before!). So to make this difficult time in your life easier, I've compiled a few tips on how to survive those teenage years.
1. Be Her Parent, Not Her Friend!
Often, parents try to relate too much to their teenage daughters and essentially end up making themselves more like a friend, rather than a parent. The problem with this is they know you are their parent, which will likely not yield your desired results. It's unlikely that they will confide all of their deepest, darkest, teenage secrets with you just because you want them to, and poking and prodding for answers will only cause them to clam up more. It also makes you less credible as an authority figure. In order to get through these tough times, your daughter must know that you are in charge and that they must respect you. This will most likely decrease the level of defiance you see from your teenage daughter, and hopefully cause her to be more open.
2. Don't Smother Her!
If you try to control your daughter too much, she will resent you and pull away every opportunity she gets. She is also at a point in her life where she is trying to determine who she is as a young adult and a future woman. She needs space so she can feel like she is deciding who she wants to be, rather than being the person she is forced to be by her parents.
3. Get to Know Her Friends
Letting your daughter know that you approve of her friends is a great way to bond with her. By having her friends over regularly, you can see what kind of kids they are. You can encourage relationships with those who you feel are a good influence on her. Also, if your daughter's friends feel welcome in your home, it is likely that they will be comfortable spending time near you, and, consequently, under your watchful eye. This gives you an opportunity to more closely monitor what your daughter and her friends are up to and know that they are in the safety of your own home. Make them feel welcome and more prone to spending time at your home by regularly providing snacks and generally being friendly toward your daughter and her friends. Be cautious, however, and don't try to act like one them. Frankly, you're not a teen, and you'll run the risk of appearing "uncool" by these teenagers, causing a backfire to your plan.
4. Clear Your Head
Be sure to keep your focus where it matters by clearing your head of other stressful things. For instance, invest in quality insurance on every front for you, your daughter & your home - for instance, get some home, health & life coverage - so that no matter what happens, you're prepared. This way, you can focus on the important stuff - parenting and building a quality relationship with your daughter!
The most important thing to remember with your daughter is to "hold on loosely." You can only do so much to influence her future decisions, so just be as loving and responsible as possible until her hormones calm down and she comes back to you (I promise it will eventually happen!).
Brandy Guerrero writes about parenting, education and more. Her most recent work discusses her journey earning an online bachelor's in psychology so she could stay at home with her kids.