Expert Advice: Tips for Parents of Teenage Girls

Do you ever get the feeling that you don’t even know your teen daughter? After all, who is this brooding, sometimes angry, and often moody child in front of you and what has she donewith the sweet little girl who simply wanted to hold your hand to walk into school? Now, more than ever, there are enormous pressures on teenage girls put upon them in seemingly every direction: school, home, peer networks, media and social outlets. This means that as the pressures mount for them to “fit in”, they are often overwhelmed and frustrated which can sometimes lead to depression, anxiety and difficulties with communication with parents. This often means more fighting at home and less being communicated overall. Here are 5 tips for every parent of teenage girls to help ensure successful communication with them now and for
years to come:

1. Listen up. So often we assume we already know what teen girls are going to say because after all, we were once teens too right? You might be surprised at just how insightful and well rounded they are. You may also be surprised to learn just how stressed they feel by all the pressures from school and peers and find a way to support her by just listening or offering to study with her one night. If you come to her by offering to help instead of figuring out “what her problem is” you will likely get a more positive response.

2. Get Social. Teenagers are connected by so many social media platforms today; it is just simply overwhelming. Even more frightening, cyber bullying (meaning, bullying that happens on the web via these social media sites) is prevalent and often times sincerely
detrimental to teen’s self image. Make sure you are up to date on the newest social medias (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Tumblr are the big ones right now) and inquire in a nonjudgmental way every month or so about how your teen girls peer networks are going on and off the web. You might be surprised at what they are willing to talk about if they know you are aware of what’s “in” these days.

3. Lead by Example. Female role models are so vital to teenage girls today. If you aren’t thrilled about how your daughter is dressing, acting, or speaking, make sure you are setting an example for her to lead by. Also, find out what female role models she looks up to to get an idea of who she connects with. The next time you notice her watching a YouTube video with her favorite artist, comment casually on the artist’s style,
mannerisms, etc to gauge where your daughter’s interests lie.

4. Fight Fair. Developmentally, teenage girls are in such a state of flux it’s startling. Society expects them to act like “little woman” but they are still likely reeling from hormonal changes (which typically don’t level out until late teens) as well as shifting body image concerns and self esteem. This can mean that seemingly “out of nowhere” they “come at you” with yelling, frustrations or “attitude”. Try to take a deep breath and
not take it personally because it really isn’t about you at all most of the time. Be steady and quiet as they vent and eventually they will calm to a point that they are able to talk through what is actually bothering them. It can be hard to be the stable force in the storm of teenage girl angst but you will be so glad you stayed collected instead of fighting back once they open up.

5. Accept As Is. One of the worst feelings to have is to not feel accepted by the people who brought you into the world. Think back to your own childhood and the likely sting of feeling rejected. Your daughter is going to say and do things that are frustrating, irritating and sometimes downright confusing but try to focus on the person she is inside, the young woman you are raising, and why you became a parent to begin with. Let each disagreement be a learning opportunity, a time to reconnect, for you and her. After all, before you know it she will be on her own and you may actually yearn for this time again…no matter how chaotic is seems today.

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