Raising teenage daughters is not a walk in the park. Your sweet little girl, that adorable baby you used to dress up in cute pink dresses, who insisted on reading Robert Munsch bedtime stories all snuggled up in her toddler bed for years, is now a teenager. Oh yeah, it happened fast too, didn’t it? Overnight, she’s a surly teenager with attitude, and you wonder how your relationship will survive this.
Relax, the good news is you’ll both be fine…eventually. There are just some things that you need to remember. Chief among those is DO not take it personally. You were a teenager once. Try to think like your teenage daughters. What annoyed you or made you want to argue with every single word your Mom and Dad uttered? Put yourself in her shoes occasionally. Try empathy and then use these tips.
Here are 11 survival tips for raising teenage daughters:
Communication Is Vital
Your teen is a person so talk to her and not at her. She is going to roll her eyes, mumble under her breath and make some signs you’d rather not see her make if you lecture her for everything. Pick an appropriate time to talk, not while she’s on the phone with her friends or doing her homework, unless of course, the rare occasion she asks for your help presents itself.
When you do talk, ask her what’s happening. Make sure you listen and get to know. It is true that quality matters far more than quantity. Even five minutes of real conversation is worth more than hours of empty words when raising teenage daughters. Lately a lot of parenting experts I follow recommend asking how is your head and how is your heart or some variation of this. You could open the door to discuss mental health by phrasing it so.
If you’ve been around here before at all then you know we love to ski and travel. One of my favourite things about skiing is the time spent on the chairlift. That ride up the hill or mountain gives me a captive audience. My kids share an awful lot on the chairlift. Sometimes in the pool too. I seize all of those opportunities as often as possible. These road trips, swim days, and ski trips are my secret weapon in raising teenage daughters.
Don’t Bark Orders
You’re a parent, not a drill sergeant. Speaking to your teen with respect will often, but not always, get you respect in return. No matter how many rules she breaks or boundaries she pushes, remember she is your child and she will need guidance. Patience will sometimes be hard, but it is not impossible. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and walk away. Sometimes it helps me to remember this roller coaster video by a parenting expert.
Create A Safe Environment
Even your teen daughter needs to feel safe in order to talk to you or come to you when something is wrong. If your daughter ends up somewhere with someone that’s been drinking and she needs a ride home, you want her to call you. Don’t make threats, give her choices and allow her to make some mistakes. That’s how your teen daughter will learn and be prepared to move on as an adult. The mistakes made in the safety of your home will help her to make decisions in the future. Give her some freedom, but create a safe environment.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you make a mistake. She will learn from it and your relationship will grow. Take the lessons you learned as a teen and let her learn them. That’s not to say you can’t tell her a few select stories to show her how certain situations turned out for you. You need to let her grow up. You can’t protect her forever but you can teach her to take care of herself. Trusting your teen daughter will go a long way in your survival of those rollercoaster teen years.
Be Careful Buying Her Big Things
Do you want to buy her a car, or do you want her to learn to work for it and buy it herself? Maybe you help with the car, but she has to pay for the insurance? Did you buy her a phone, but she has to pay the monthly bill? Or maybe she wants the latest iPhone model and you’re making her pay for that herself. You should be careful buying too many big-ticket items, even if you can afford it, because you want your teen to learn to work for some of the big things herself. They value things more when they have had a role in helping earn them.
No Negotiating Consequences
It can feel sometimes like you are growing future lawyers and not raising teenage daughters. Mine will argue that the sky is not blue just to argue with my husband and I some mornings. Not everything is a negotiation. You will not get anywhere if you punish your daughter then allow her to negotiate her way out of the punishment. She also shouldn’t be able to negotiate her way into getting something for nothing. Has she done her chores? Is her homework done? Yes, good then she can continue life doing the things she would normally get to enjoy once she finishes them.
Know Who Is in Her Circle and Get to Know Them
This will go a long way in allowing you to know what your teen is doing and who is she is around. She should feel comfortable inviting her friends over, if they’re all at your house you know what they are and aren’t doing. Reasons why I love having a pool. It can be a great gathering place for friends.
Be a Parent Not a Friend
No matter how much you want to be included you are a parent and not a friend. There will be plenty of time for that when your teen daughter is grown, working, and raising a family. It is your job to teach, guide and keep her safe. It is not your job to ensure that she is always the life of the party. Boundaries are important and can prevent disaster.
Just the Two of You
Spend some time that’s just the two of you, even if it’s just shopping for school supplies and clothes. Go out to a movie or have dinner. It’ll help keep the lines of communication open. Take a mother daughter trip or weekend away if possible. Raising teenage daughters who communicate with you is vital.
Chances are she’s sensitive to everything. Don’t tease her, she is reaching an age where she doesn’t find it as amusing as you. You could actually hurt her feelings. When in doubt, just don’t say it.
Don’t Let Her Bait You
When your teen daughter is rude or sarcastic simply walk away. Don’t let her pick her a fight. You are the adult, teach her to walk away from those situations by showing her how. This one is so challenging for me. In fact, I was baited just today by my youngest.
Remember when it comes to surviving raising teen daughters, it is difficult. And you can do it. The main things you need are patience, empathy, humour and the ability to walk away and take a break from it all when you think you’re about the snap. Keep those lines of communication open, and be there when she needs you. She will need you – even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
Over to You
Do you have teenage girls? Any tips of your own to add?