As girls approach the teen years, many parents find it harder and harder to know what their daughters are thinking and worrying about. We all know the tween and teen years can be difficult to manoeuvre for kids as well as parents. Tweens are dealing with so many issues and emotions, and many try to hide their insecurities and feelings.
When we don’t understand what our daughters are dealing with, it can be difficult (if not downright impossible) to deal with the inevitable moodiness that often accompanies the tween years. As parents, we always want our kids to be able to talk to us about anything, but we don’t always make this as easy as it should be.
It’s so important to keep the lines of communication open throughout the tween and teen years to help your daughter navigate this challenging time. Being able to talk to their parents in a safe and non-judgemental way is an incredible asset to any kid’s development and self confidence. It can make a huge difference in their ability to make good decisions and to feel good about themselves.
Here are some helpful ways to improve communication with your daughter and leave that door open for talking at any stage in her life.
Never judge your daughter
It is really important that your daughter knows you are never going to judge her. If she thinks what she tells you is going to be faced with ridicule, she is going to start keeping things to herself. Girls want acceptance and approval from their parents. Your daughter doesn’t need you to agree with everything she says or does, but it is important that when she does open up to you, you try to see her side of it and not present her with a lot of harsh judgment.
Try not to be too emotional
This is important for girls of all ages. When you are trying to get your daughter to talk about something, you might start by asking her questions. It is okay to ask her questions and see if she wants to talk, but try to keep your own personal misgivings or emotions out of it. Even if you are happy, sad, or upset, don’t let that be the focal point of your discussion. When you react emotionally to sensitive issues your daughter might be less willing to share with you in the future.
Show that you are flawed
Sometimes, girls don’t open up because they think they are the only ones experiencing certain things. This can be anything from having trouble with friends, failing in school, having boy problems, or having personal body image issues. Show your daughter that she isn’t facing these things alone. It’s important that she understands that, like everyone else, you are also flawed and have a lot of different challenges you deal with. Don’t complain about your own body image, but show that you understand you aren’t perfect – nobody is. This helps your daughter not feel as left out and can help a lot with her communication.
Stay away from loaded questions
Sometimes to get your daughter to open up to you, you need to ask her questions about certain things. However, if you try to ask her serious, loaded questions, she might become even more withdrawn. Instead of that approach, try to ask her more curious questions. Act like the topic isn’t a big deal and that you aren’t trying to make any assumptions. If you do this, she might be a little more willing to open up to you.